The year of the veg (featuring my seed list)

As some of my Twitter followers will know, last year I had to take it easy on the garden front – extending my house took priority and it really did take up my time towards the latter half of the build. It came at a slightly inconvenient time as at that point I was starting to really get a bit more serious with my growing. Fortunately, now that is done, I can get back to what I love – growing my own.

I had a few plans for autumn and winter which went on hold, one of which has been post-poned until next winter. That being a redesign of my flower beds including extending them a little where possible and a fairly major replanting. Apart from the usual garden maintenance I was also planning on making a start on changing my veg patch to raised beds and also changing my polytunnel usage. Until now I have always grown things in the polytunnel using pots – it has worked well but is expensive on compost. Having seen other people’s results, growing in the ground would work better and is what will be done in 2018. I also think it will allow me to squeeze in a few extra plants which is never to be frowned upon!

Now we are in 2018 and the work has started on the raised beds and the polytunnel conversion. The polytunnel is well underway (being by far the smaller and simpler job). Just muck and soil improving to be done, along with some additional wire for support being added at the top. Hopefully I will then be able to fit all the tomatoes I have ordered inside – eight varieties in all. With luck 3-4 of each variety with half being grown on either side, no doubt there will be an attempt to squeeze one or two more in.

The bigger job is setting up and constructing the raised beds – 14 in total, 12 of which will be 3.5×1.25 meters – using 6″x1″ timber. The other two beds will depend on the exact space I have in front of the polytunnel and greenhouse. Originally the plan was to have the beds higher than the 6″ timber will allow but given my soil is relatively sandy this would require a lot of extra watering during a hot summer. So far I have managed to go over the entire area with my little Mantis tiller, mostly to loosen up the soil and to give all the weeds a good mash-up. next will be leveling off followed by construction and filling. I plan on topping up the beds with soil from what will be the paths and plenty of good old manure, which should be enough to do the job. When I get further with this I will do another quick blog update on how it finished up.

I have chosen to convert to raised beds for a few reasons, one being if I do have a weakness, it is my back, and while 6″ isn’t a lot, it should help a bit. Couple that with no longer walking over all the soil which will reduce compaction considerably – making future digging much easier as well. With growing direct in the soil everytime you walk down a row you create a furrow, this then draws a lot of the water away from you plants and into these low points. On the digging front I will be reading up on ‘No-Dig’ but as yet I am undecided on this front and lack the knowledge of how it works. 

There were two layout options that I considered – the 1st option (above) being the one that will be used. Thought was given to making the central bed one large area (image below) – just a bit bigger than two of the other beds combined. Having mulled this over it didnt really make sense as it would then be necessary to walk on the larger bed a bit, defeating one of the reasons for making them raised in the first place with little if any space gained.

So far my seed list for 2018 is very large – I’m wondering if it will all fit in, 60 confirmed varieties with just the potatoes left to choose. These have been held off as I am planning on a trip to the east anglian potato day in February where I hope to pick up 3-4 varieties. One early, two main crop and possibly one extra if there is something a little different or special to be had.

So to finish up here is my 2018 seed list – it may well get a few additions as I go along although space will severely restrict this. It is missing a few things that I’m sure will raise eye brows – Kale & Chard perhaps? But I have to grow what will be eaten most firstly and then it is down to trying out various options. In no particular order (its a long list so sorry!):

Tomato – Heidi
Tomato – Sunsets Red Horizon
Tomato – Grapoli D’Inverno
Tomato – Alaska
Tomato – Cherokee Purple
Tomato – Chocolate Striped Icicle
Tomato – Sweet Aperitif
Tomato – Bloody Butchers
Tomatillo – Purpleino
Runner Bean – Desiree
Climbing Bean – Cosse Violette
Bean – Borlotto Lingua Di Fucco
Broad Bean – Bunyards Exhibition
Bean – Yellow Wax – ‘Orinoco’
Bean – Yard Long
Pea – Hurst Greenshaft
Pea – Purple Podded
Cauliflower – All year round
Cauliflower – Early Romanesco
Cabbage – Pointed ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’
Cabbage – Savoy ‘Rigoletto’
Spinach – Matador
Courgette – Parthenon
Squash – Waltham Butternut
Cucumber – Baby ‘Iznik’
Sweetcorn – Mirai Gold
Onion (set) – Red Karmen
Onion (set) – Rumba
Shallot (set) – Red Sun
Garlic – Solent Wight
Garlic – Carcassonne Wight
Garlic – Elephant
Leek – Jolant
Leek – Oarsman
Carrot – James Scarlet
Carrot – Yellow Bunch
Carrot – Deep Purple
Carrot – Belgrado
Parsnip – Imperial Crown
Root Parsley – Eagle
Beetroot – Baby Roma
Beetroot – Golden
Kohl Rabi – Kolibri
Celery – Golden Self-blanching
Lettuce – Lollo-Rossa
Lettuce – Lakeland
Rocket – Astra
Cress – Land
Lemon Balm
Sweet Potato – Beauregard
Pepper – Tarquinio
Pepper – Ariane
Pepper (Chilli) – Anaheim
Pepper (Chilli) – Rouge De La Bresse
Aubergine – Bonica
Tiger nuts
UK giant Pumpkin seed – from Matt Oliver’s outdoor record holder
Giant squash seed – also from Matt Oliver – Malvern giant squash winner.

1 Comment

  1. WOw just wow can not wait to see how it all goes


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