I love this time of year! When it’s cold, dark and everyone’s a little bit miserable, it’s a great time to snuggle up in front of the fire on a dark night and start planning the year ahead in the vegetable garden! I’m making this sound very poetic aren’t I!
I always create a list of the vegetables I want to grow and do a rough guide of where I’m planting each one by using the Growveg.com app, but I have to be honest I never stick 100% to my plan. I vow that I’ll grow everything from seed but then end up also buying plants from the garden centre; and of course every year, some things I’ve attempted just don’t come off!
Using the Garden Planner app, you can add objects, structures and basic shapes to your plan, then add the fruits, vegetables and non-edibles, and the planner will space them appropriately for you, so you know how many plants you’ll fit into each raised bed, planter or traditional bed. There’s even a square foot option for if you’re following the square foot method (something I’d love to try one day!)
First Things First
I create my wishlist of vegetables first, then plot where to plant them. The app is really helpful with this as if you use the same plan year on year, it’ll highlight in red where you’ve situated a particular crop previously so you can avoid planting in the same bed in consecutive years.
When I’m deciding what to grow, I start by listing the vegetables that we eat most frequently, or that will be most useful to us (and our family and friends!) Then I consider what else I want to achieve from the growing season, usually it’s to try something different or unusual or hard to grow, but this year I’m going for productivity over ambition!
We’ve got a new little mouth to feed and I want to make sure Henry eats as many fruits and vegetables from the garden as we can possibly grow, so successional sowing is the key this year! I need a constant supply of staples such as carrots, tomatoes, beans and courgettes, as well as introducing different tastes to him throughout the season!
Here’s my list for this year:
- runner beans
- french beans
- sprouting broccoli
- kohl rabi
I’m not going completely ‘straight’ when it comes to plant varieties this year, there’ll definitely be some purple carrots thrown into the mix and my one experiment is going to be with ‘flower sprouts‘ which we’ve had from the supermarket a few times and they’re very tasty! I’m also going to make an effort to grow from seed as much as possible, rather than buying plug plants.
Here’s my planting plan for 2016:
The other thing I love about the Growveg app is the fact that you get a ‘cheat sheet’ (my terminology not theirs!) giving you planting and harvesting times! Of course you need to refer to the specific growing instructions for whatever varieties you’re planting, but it’s a handy place to start! It’s really easy to understand visually, so great to use with children too!