Sunday, 12 May 2013

My take on crop rotation

In my veg plot I like to do a combination of square foot gardening and if you've got a space, fill it (no matter how small).  I choose square foot because I really think you can get a lot more variety growing than with traditional rows.  The other reason is I find it helps with growing in crop groupings and allows you to grow more.

You don't have to be too prescribed, but just mindful of what you want to plant and what's grown there before.  Beans, salad and squash family can pretty much be grown anywhere - the ones to watch are brassicas (cabbage family), onion family and solanaceae (potatoes/tomatoes).  Be careful with salad (some can be brassica e.g. mustard greens, rocket) and flowers (some can also be brassicas e.g. wall flowers).  Radishes are a brassica too so even though they are really convenient for a tiny space maybe choose some salads if you've grown turnips or kale there before.

I like to keep a seasonal plan of what's where but I'm not always good enough to record every detail!  We all have our faults - luckily I'm blessed with a good memory.

In my higgledy piggledy patch I like to plant some poppies in between.  They love the disturbed soil of the veg patch and I suppose I can loosely argue the seeds are a food source?!  They do make the patch look stunning too.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

I have an allotment!

I've always wanted one and now I've found a small one very close to work.  I imagine myself spending lunch hours tending to my veg.

You may ask why I wanted an allotment?  If you're a regular to my blog you will have seen pictures of my veg plot and large garden.  We rent our home and garden and for that reason I've never had the opportunity to grow the longer term investment crops and perennials that need a few years to reach maturity. So there are certain crops I've always wanted to grow but haven't ... until now that is!

I've always wanted a little patch of home grown asparagus.  I wait for the asparagus season every year and look forward to lightly grilled asparagus with fried eggs - pierce the yolk and it dribbles on to the asparagus - there's nothing better!  And yet I have never tasted "fresh out of the ground" asparagus.  I usually get mine from the farmers market and put them in a jar of water to keep them fresh for as long as possible.  But now I have the opportunity to finally grow some of my own.  Well asparagus has been my main motivator.

There are other things I plan to grow on the allotment plot such as oca, spuds, pumpkins and squash.  If I've still got some space I'd like to grow some peas and beans.

I'm also looking forward to some good seedling swaps and seed swaps with my allotment neighbours.  I love saving heirloom varieties and am Heritage Seed Library addict.  I'm also looking forward to the plot side chats and horticultural debates with my new allotment neighbours.  Maybe we'll even exchange some allotment inspired recipes.

So now my windowsills are full of seed trays of pumpkins and beans getting ready for the plot and I've ordered my asparagus - I thought I'd go for plants so I don't have to wait quite so long for my first "fresh out of the ground" asparagus spear!