Thursday, 22 February 2007

Vegetables

I've started to plan out the plot and plot out the plan.

So far this consists of 10 raised beds 6m long and 1.5m wide nicely drawn on graph paper with North, South, East, West marked on it. The tricky bit now is filling in those beds.

I've found out what groups all my future food belongs to so they can all be planted near their relatives and make a stately progress round the garden year by year. My problem is I'm trying to decide how much of everything to grow. I have no idea how many peas you get on a pea plant or how many potatoes from a seed potato so I don't know how much room to give them.

Actually, that might be a symptom rather than the problem, the problem might be trying to produce all our own food from a standing start when the only food we ever grew before was rocket, mint and chives. That and the fact that my veg usually comes frozen it bags or preferably on a plate cooked by someone else.

But anyway back to the plan do we need a whole bed of spuds? Well we eat lots of them so probably but what sort? The field is wide open as that is the one thing we haven't bought seeds for but do we need earlies and maincrop and second earlies and all that stuff and do we gradually work our way down filling in the bed and we won't physically have the bed till next month and what about all that preparation that we should of done last autumn?

Sweet corn I'm reasonably happy with cos we've bought that and we'll plant as much as germinates and I think I've got the concept of undercropping with other stuff so that's one bed ticked off the list. Two if I ignore the potato problem and just allocate them a bed or maybe take the general advice and not bother with them. But if I don't bother with them we don't get to eat spuds that taste like the ones Martin brought from Irene's and smell well potatoey and earthy and wholesome. We'll wing it with the spuds probably and plant whtever comes along.

That only leaves about fifty other packets of seeds to account for.

Peas . . .

4 comments:

tea and cake said...

Hi, I love your blog and what you are doing.
I once went to a Sunday market and asked for potato plants, doh!
So, at least you know Something about Something.

Karen said...

Thank you I'm so chuffed my blog got a comment yippee!

Hedgewizard said...

Karen, I'm hoping your blog reports to your inbox so you can see new comments on old posts - there you go, that's as technical as I get.

Growing the right amount of stuff is trial and error for the first few years and it depends how much of stuff you eat. We're growing the same amount of carrots this year as last, but three times as many onions (I'd like four times but can't devote the beds space).

You can't plant enough potatoes, really, but they're an excellent way to claim back grassy or weedy bits of the plot, even non veg-bed bits; I've got to do this with about fifty square meters at the weekend (not as much as it sounds).

Skim off the turf and stack it in a pile somewhere to be watered and covered with tarp or thick black polythene (makes excellent loam for next year). Loosen soil with fork, add "fish, blood and bone" and muck if you've got it, plant potatoes. Earth up as the foliage grows, and harvest when ready and resow with forage peas for the winter.

Early next spring slash the peas down to ground level and spread out your loam again. That way you've dug it over twice, increased the nitrogen levels, got a crop out of it, and set it up to plant into.

Hedgewizard said...

...er, plant into a month later, I should have said. The peas take a while to rot down although you can speed that up by lawnmowering them rather than just slashing them down.