2017 is going to be the year of growing vegetables again.
Not having an allotment anymore & the new garden being re-done in 2016, meant thin pickings. I missed having freshly picked vegetables, ones that I knew hadn’t been sprayed with any chemicals. I also missed having unusual vegetables, I never got complacent with the coloured stems of Swiss chard.
I’ve already planted garlic, broad beans & a few winter lettuce in the raised vegetable beds at the end of the garden. I have a lot less room than I did at the allotment, just 6 raised beds, so I’ll have to plan more carefully.
My list of what to grow is made up of:
what we really like to eat
what’s been easy to grow in the past
what vegetables are difficult or impossible to buy:
This is a real favourite, & it’s a very pretty plant. I love it roasted, & the young leaves can be used in salads. At the allotment I grew different coloured varieties which made them even more desirable. Chioggia has white flesh with pink concentric circles when you cut through it.
I tried preserving beetroot when I had a real glut of it at the allotment, but they turned an unappetising brown colour. Are there any good beetroot preserving recipes out there? The moral of this tale is not to grow far to much & then be obliged to ‘deal’ with it in some way, when there’s already lots to do in the garden.
How: I’ll sow a few directly into the soil outside in mid-March, then a few more every 4 weeks until the end of July.
I haven’t grow these before but they’ve made the list because they taste great & are difficult to buy. The beans & pods are a lovely red/white marbled colour. To be more space efficient, I’m getting the climbing variety, Lingua diFuoco 2.
My neighbour at the allotment grew them, & left them to dry on the their tripods, then stored them for winter.
Another good thing about beans, is that by cutting off the stalks but leaving the roots in the ground nitrogen gets fixed into the soil. Leafy vegetables planted in that bed next year will be very happy.
How: Start off in the greenhouse in mid-March & plant outside after frosts. Ready from late summer to mid-autumn.
I love these when they’re small & tender. They earn their place because they go on producing for weeks.
How: I start these off under cover in individual small pots in the greenhouse in the beginning of April. They’ll be planted outside after the frosts.
These are very cheap to buy, but so sweet & tender when freshly picked. They’re also really easy to grow & the purple ones make harvesting quite exciting, especially if you have small grandchildren around.
How: sow a few in mid-March, then I’ll sow a few seeds every couple of weeks to keep them coming.
Could this be the easiest vegetable to grow? It can be a bit slow to germinate, but once it gets going, it goes on & on right into winter. It’s another good-looker, especially the coloured varieties like ‘Bright Lights’
How: sow a few seeds outside in mid-March, then a few more about a month later.
At the allotment I grew green & yellow ones, but there’s probably only room for 1 plant in the garden because they’re such big, sprawling plants.
How: I’ll plant at least 4 seeds in the greenhouse to ensure I get one healthy plant. It’ll be planted outside after the frosts.
This lovely vegetable is a must. It has a great flavour & grows through the winter, when obviously there’s not much else around.
I planted Cavolo nero [black Tuscan kale] at the allotment. It was plagued with white-fly, I think because I planted them too close together, which made for a cosy space under the netting. The netting is essential to protect the plants from pigeons & cabbage white butterflies.
How: I’ll start the seeds off in the greenhouse in April, & plant them outside when the frosts are over.
Looks like March is going to be busy.
I’ll write more about growing vegetables over the next few weeks, it’s such a big topic. Sign up on the right of this page & you’ll get an email telling you when the next post is published.
I hope the weather makes gardening possible for you this month, have you planned what to grow in 2017?