Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The plan

This is a good time of year to make one's plans. We've got two new areas coming on stream in the garden this year. The new soft fruit cage area, with space for eight bushes (probably 3 x black currant, 2 x gooseberry, 2 x Saskatoon berry and 1 x white currant) has been uncovered already and just needs dug over before planting in February.

The boat garage will be netted over to protect our new soft fruit bushes.
The boat garage will be netted over to protect our new soft fruit bushes.

Half of the middle paddock next to the existing veg garden is still under plastic cover and will be used as extra veg-growing space. The potatoes, swedes, kohl rabi and Jerusalem artichokes will go here this year.
The new veg-growing area. Lots more digging to do.
The new veg-growing area. Lots more digging to do.

I've ordered the seed potatoes (Dunluce as first early, Setanta as maincrop), onion sets (Red Baron, Centurion and Setton) and our first ever Jerusalem artichoke Fuseau tubers. There are only two things I won't be growing from seed again this year, spinach and spring onions. Other than Jerusalem artichoke, I also want to try my hand at asparagus, fennel, rhubarb and sweetcorn this year. Hopefully, with North by North's marigold trick, the aubergines will come good this time.
The globe artichokes don't want to go dormant.
The globe artichokes don't want to go dormant.

I'm not going to sow any more globe artichokes this year, but hopefully the eight from last year are going to start producing big time! I'd cut them right down to the crown and covered them in bracken, but it's been so mild that they've started growing already.

Nicely dug
Nicely dug

Jim's been digging over the veg garden already. What a difference to last year when it took him an hour per square metre! Now the fork just goes in - no roots, no stones (well, almost).

I started the hedge planting this afternoon, relocating rosa rugosa, dog roses and hawthorns that had seeded themselves in unwanted positions. The chickens were helping, too. Nice way to get a mixed hedge, but we'll still have to buy 30 metres' worth of hedging plants next month. Need to stock up with Irn-Bru for that one.

Free hedge
Free hedge

Inside, I've finally been successful with taking cuttings and putting them in water. The Vietnamese coriander rooted super easily. Love that plant!

Vietnamese coriander seedlings
Vietnamese coriander seedlings

So here's the plan for stuff to grow from seed:


  • Asparagus: Harlik

  • Aubergine: Ronde de Valence

  • Beans: Achievement, Cosse Purple

  • Beetroot: Boltardy, Bordo

  • Broad beans: Aguadulce, De Monica

  • Broccoli: Calabrese Natalino, Green-sprouting, Purple-sprouting

  • Brussels sprouts: Evesham Special

  • Cabbage: Durham Early, Wintergreen, Xmas Drumhead, Red cabbage

  • Carrots: Cosmic Purple, Early Nantes, Korral, Paris Market

  • Cauliflower: Romanesco, All-year-round

  • Celeriac: Prague Giant

  • Chillies: Cayenne, Long Slim

  • Courgette: Nimba

  • Cucumber: Lemon Crystal, Bedfordshire Prize

  • Fennel di Firenze

  • Kale: Kapral

  • Kohlrabi: Purple and Blue Delikatess

  • Leeks: Musselburgh

  • Onion: Stuttgarter Riesen, Roja de Niort, Tosca

  • Pak Choi Red

  • Parsnips: Tender and True, Guernsey

  • Peas: Douce de Provence, Oregon Mangetout, Kelvedon Wonder

  • Peppers: California Wonder, Oda

  • Pumpkin: Jack Be Little

  • Radish: Mixed, Cherry Belle

  • Salads: Tatsoi, Cress, Rocket, Salad Bowl Red, Little Gem, Wild Rocket, Red Mustard, Lettuce Merveille des Quatre Saisons

  • Squashes: Ambar, Metro, Sweet Dumpling, Turks Turban, Uchiki Kuri

  • Swede: Marian

  • Sweetcorn: Golden Bantam

  • Swiss chard

  • Tomatoes: Ailsa Craig, Tigerella

  • Turnip: Purple Top


  • Cantaloupe Emir

  • Rhubarb Victoria

  • Watermelon Sugar Baby


  • Basil

  • Camomile

  • Chives

  • Coriander

  • Cumin

  • Dill

  • Lemongrass

  • Parsley

Looks like a lot, but I'm sure we'll eat it all!


  1. Just squeeze in a couple of extra squashes: Marina di Chioggia and Jarrahdale - you will not regret that! And chilliwise Gusto Purple is spectacular in both taste and productivity. And remember that wherever you put Jerusalem artichoke there and in surroundings you'll find it for decades...

  2. Thanks for the tips, Anja. That'll be my March voucher sorted then! I remember reading on your blog that you take out the best Jerusalem artichoke tubers to keep as seed for the next year - how do you store them over the winter before planting them again?

  3. Wow, that's an impressive list! The Vietmanese coriander looks really interesting, also like the idea of growing lemon grass, interested to see how this goes, does it need to be indoors?

  4. No, the lemongrass grows outside. I started some inside last year and planted it out early June. It was easy to grow. It's supposed to be a tender perennial so I took one plant inside in late autumn, but both the plants outside and inside have died back for the winter. Will be interesting to see if they come back to life! Strangely, the cats liked to nibble on it as if it were cat grass. The Vietnamese coriander is really vigorous. It's also a tender perennial and I had it outside until October, but since it's so easy to take cuttings, I'll use some of them as annuals in the herb pond this year.

  5. Wow, that's quite a list, you are going to be busy! Have tried white carrots to go with the orange and purple? I really rate 'White Satin; very crunchy and wasn't bothered by root fly at all. I totally agree with Anja about the Jerusalem artichokes, you will have them for ever but they are great winter veg, especially roasted. To be honest, we never lift and replant, they do it for themselves (probably bad gardening practice but there we are...). I've never heard of Vietnamese coriander, does it have a flavour similar to normal coriander? Isn't it great to be starting on the new season? :-)

  6. I almost bought the White Satin, but then I thought I actually prefer my carrots orange! The reviews on it were not outstanding, but if you rate it highly I'll give it a go. Can't have too many carrots. The purple ones were definitely fun, but they were orange inside. The Vietnamese coriander does taste a bit like normal coriander, but stronger so you need less per dish. Great for Thai curries but also works in dhals and soups. And it's a perennial! Yes, it's great to get started again. Was weeding the hedge today despite gale-force winds and 9.5-hour power cut.

  7. Actually we harvest all Jerusalem artichokes in October - and replant the beds immediately - process those ones we are going to eat during the winter. The tubers would not stay sound through the winter in fridge, cellar or anywhere except in the ground

  8. And by the way: Atomic Red is an absolutely lovely carrot - almost raspberry coloured and delicious!

  9. I grew some harlequin squashes last year and they are fantastic! I got so many off them and they store really well. I will be eating them till I harvest more this year! I also won a first with them at the show :)

  10. Do you have any tips for storing them? Quite a few of mine started to go mouldy so there was no way I could have kept them until next summer! Last pumpkins were eaten the week before Christmas.

  11. Ooh, another carrot colour!

  12. That sounds pretty straightforward. I might be able to wait until November here. I see now why you say I'll have them forever! How wind-tolerant are they? My planned spot for them is a bit on the windy side until the hedge grows in further, but I don't want them to take over the veg garden.

  13. Well, they are or at least ours tend to be about 3 m high so of course the wind catches them rather badly. We try to rope their site in; just stake the site and then one rope round the patch at 1 m and the second one at shoulder height. In heavy wind Jerusalem artichoke stems break pretty easily at the ground level and then you lose the late growing harvest almost totally.

  14. Our carrot favourites are White Satin and Atomic Red - you can see the colour scheme here


  15. 3 metres! I think I may have to rethink where to put them!

  16. Nice carrot display! I really liked the Paris Market Atlas - little round ones, like Chantenays.