Brr! I hope you are keeping warm and toasty in these Arctic conditions! The ground may still be solid and conditions freezing here in Essex – as in most places around the UK – but, believe it or not, gardening is still very much on my mind at the moment. OK, so there might not be much going on out there right now besides a few swedes, leeks, parsnips and savoy cabbages from last year buried beneath the snow (although, to be fair, DJ has some nice pea tops and oriental greens coming along in the greenhouse – we even ate some of the pea tops on New Year’s Eve). But DJ and I are busy planning what we want to grow this year.
Our veg crop in 2009 wasn’t bad, with tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, asparagus, garlic, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers and chillis galore. But we still have a number of improvements we want to make on that this year. First of all, we grew far too many tomatoes and courgettes last year. It was mostly my fault because I got a bit overexcited in my first year of growing stuff and grew too much. DJ says he also underestimated how much space all the tomato plants would take up in the greenhouse. So in 2010 we aim to grow fewer plants – ie. 10 instead of 30 tomatoes and no more than two courgette plants. I might have a go at growing a yellow courgette variety this time. Let me know if you can recommend any. DJ says he wants to grow more super marmande tomatoes because they are delicious and the fruit held its shape for longer on the plants. This meant that if we didn’t harvest the toms immediately they were still ok to harvest a few days later.
We’re also planning to grow potatoes again. I was really pleased with my Ulster chieftains which made great roast and baked tatties as well as wedges – but this year we’ll be growing them in a dedicated veg bed rather than in individual grow bags to save on watering. DJ has grown them in a bed before, but alongside other veg which didn’t work too well. The potatoes produced huge amounts of foliage which overshadowed everything around them. So this time they’ll have a bed to themselves. Another plan of DJ’s is to grow more veg in our flower beds. We have heavy clay soil but over the past couple of years DJ has improved the soil with compost and organic matter, so it’s more suitable for veg now. I think veg looks brilliant growing in a flower bed.
I want to try my hand at growing French and/or runner beans this year because they’re such useful veg and they produce such beautiful foliage and flowers too. I like the way they give height to a garden and they look fab grown on home-made obelisks. Carrots are also on my hit list. I bought some ‘rainbow’ seeds last year – they are a variety of colours including purple and yellow which intrigued me – but I never got around to growing them. I also fancy having a go at growing strawberries, but as space is running short in the beds I might have to do it in a container. Looking forward to eating lots of raspberries this year too. DJ made cuttings last year and now has a number of raspberry bushes which should produce plenty of fruit for 2010. Yum!
What are you planning to grow in 2010? Leave a message and let me know.
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