I’m not normally late. Missed deadlines and late arrivals make me fretful. But this year I’m uncharacteristically late to the veg patch. Last week, I finally got round to clearing up the spent crops and pulling up all the weeds that seem to have grown over winter undeterred by snow and frost. And this week I have, at last, decided what to plant and where for 2019. Technically this should have happened weeks ago and I should be looking at chitting potatoes, budding broad beans and fledgling tomatoes. But I am not. I am very behind.
Still, it’s all fixable. I have ordered my seeds online and they’ve arrived. And I’ve drawn up my planting plan for the veg patch. So, let me introduce you to this year’s plot:
The big change is that there are a lot more flowers. Now that I’m doing monthly supper clubs I’m finding that the flowers, which I buy in, are costing almost as much as the food, most of which I just pick from the patch. Plus, I fell head over heels with dahlias after my first crack at them last year so they’ll need more space this year.
To make space for the flowers, I’m not growing onions or potatoes (save for a few new potatoes in a spare patch of ground next to the beds). Both are so cheap to buy and, apart from first early potatoes, I can’t really tell that homegrown are any better than either veg-box bought. Got to be brutal – the onions are out.
I’m trying a few new crops this year as well. Edamame are sharing a few wigwams with achoche (which I saw growing un-labelled at Le Manoir and turned to Twitter for identification, only to receive some seeds in the post from someone who follows me and also grows it – this is when social media is a good egg). The edamame are a whim – a saw them in the Tamar Organics seed catalogue and I buy them frozen occasionally so thought I’d have a go. The achoche is a South American relation of the courgette and, apparently, tastes watery and green when raw like a courgette/cucumber cross and like a roasted green pepper when cooked. Can’t wait.
Not shown on these planting plans are the perennials in the rest of the veg patch and in my raised beds at home. Nothing much has changed there. The soft fruit in the veg patch continue their attempt at world domination. And in my home beds, the herbs, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and artichokes will have a bit more room because it looks like my already sickly rhubarb has given up and gone to the great rhubarb and custard bowl in the sky.
As usual at this time of year, I sit at my desk admiring my planting plan and dreaming of how pristine and fecund my patch will be this year. I know the reality will be a little more pest-ridden and probably a lot messier than my vision, but however unruly the patch gets or however much it deviates from the plan, there will still be that incredible moment when you bring an over-flowing trug of veg back for supper and feel you and nature are best buddies. There’s nothing quite like it and I can’t wait to get started.
(No Hero Harvest or blog next week because it’s supper club week. This one is sold out but you can see the menu here and if you’d like to come along to one, which would obviously be lovely, then the next available date is 26thApril – more info here.)