Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Out with the old and in with the new

It's getting to that time when the majority of vegetables planted earlier in the year are now ready to harvest. Whilst successional planning is always key for us gardeners it can sometimes be quite daunting when you're left with a big open space in the middle of the growing season that was full of plants only yesterday

The broad beans have pretty much come to an end now, I probably went a bit over the top with them to be honest, I was getting bored of waiting and these are one of the earliest seeds that can be sown. I ended up with a lot more than I bargained for, although that's been no bad thing over the past couple of weeks with us regularly enjoying the harvests. I am now left with a gap in the veg patch which is only going to get bigger when the potatoes come out alongside it. They should be out by now having planted Red Duke of York as first earlies, however, we lifted a few plants a couple of weeks ago and thought that they would make better eating as maincrop potatoes due to their floury texture.

So what to fill the space with, the majority of seed packets will tell you to sow March - May? This year I had the forethought to sow some brassicas inside on the windowsill back at the beginning of June in the hope that they would slot straight in after the broad beans. My windowsills have been full since early February and show no sign of slowing down yet. Anyway it's not quite worked out the way I wanted. I sowed the seeds in peat free compost trying to be as organic and environmentally friendly as possible and it's just turned out to be very poor for root growth. Admittedly it wasn't a seed compost but at the time local choice was limited and I have, in the past, regularly used a standard multipurpose compost for sowing.

Although they're a little way behind where I wanted them to be I've decided that the best place for them is in the ground rather than potting on into something more suitable and giving it a few more weeks. As ever I have sown too many so the majority will be planted out with the rest staying as they are for back up, I may squeeze them in somewhere else in time.

With the weather not being too temperamental at the momnet they should establish quite quickly. I have sown Cavolo Nero kale which should be ready around October; Brussel sprouts for Christmas time, cabbage January King for the New Year and because of this year's success plenty of Purple sprouting broccoli.

There's still plenty of time to sow most things. This week I'll be sowing carrots, French beans, beetroot and some cima di rapa. Of course there are things that can be sown almost all year such as lettuce and spring onion. Time spent planting now will see you eating out of the garden right through Christmas and beyond.

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