With a new baby due in December and a huge list of jobs to achieve before its arrival I approached the vegetable garden quite differently last spring.
I went through all my seeds and tried to select only those that I knew grew well and that we ate the most of. I sowed anything I could directly into the garden. I kept the variety of seeds I started indoors in trays limited to those we needed most, and also kept the numbers of each variety down. I decided not to try any new vegetables this season.
From lettuce to popping corn
So we had lots of salad greens, various lettuces, mizuna, arugula, spinaches, carrots, spring
onion, parsnip, broccoli, cauli, a couple of cabbage, lots of peas, eating and popping corn, potatoes, a few types of beans, beetroot and some tomatoes. Yams appeared where I had grown them last year so I moved a few around to suit my garden rotation plan and space available.
Amongst the seed I planted inside were cucumber (including apple which were great last year), squash and a couple of pumpkins. However, when I planted them out, other than a few squash, most of the seedlings died. Iím really at a loss as to why, some were in the glasshouse and the rest spread throughout the garden.
In late winter/early spring, we dug out an area beside the vegetable patch to put in a retaining wall and create a place for the compost bins and space for pots. With the retaining wall in, we were able to move the tyres we have for potatoes into that area which is much sunnier then where they were previously. Hopefully this will improve the crop this year.
Broad beans were once again one of the first veges to reach the table and we had a really good crop of broccoli and some really lovely caulis which were great until the bugs got to them, the broccoli in particular was covered in what looked to me like aphids.
Strawberries were another spring success this year with a large crop of really nice big juicy red ones.
Top soil not so good
When we dug out the soil for the retaining wall I put a layer on top of one of the vege beds thinking it would add bulk to the soil when mixed through. Because it was of a fine tilth I also thought it would be good for seed sowing. Turned out to be a bit of a disaster. I sowed carrots, parsnip, beetroot and spring onion seeds and after a few days watering and sun it began to clog together and then crack. It also dried out very quickly. The germination rate was poor, particularly of parsnip and spring onion, the carrots only marginally better.
The top soil was so low in nutrients that any seedlings struggled and had a really slow start. I had assumed that as they started to grow their roots would hit the good soil underneath - this didnít seem to happen. Seeds I planted elsewhere a month later of spring onion and carrot were miles head and altogether better for the rest of the season. The ones in the dirt never really caught up.
Otherwise the garden was going well until we had a very late frost which got all my tomatoes - other than a couple I planted in the glasshouse - and the young bean plants. It was too late to start with tomato seed again so I had to buy replacement plants, although I did resow the beans. Every spring in this area seems to be different and you never really now what youíll get.