At the allotment the other day I started trying to plan out where I'm going to be putting everything in a few weeks, when the time comes to plant. I'll never have one of those immaculate plots with perfectly straight lines of things and smart labels and cleverly organised planting. But I do like to have a vague idea of where I'm going to try and stick most of the stuff. Usually by the end I am shoving odd plants into spaces left by the ravages of slugs and snails and it all gets a bit higgledy piggledy. But at this time of year when it's just on paper it's all looking great.
I've tried to concentrate on things that most of us like, although I can't seem to stop growing squashes and courgettes. But I like them, and they are such pretty plants and fun things to grow, so they're in. I've got more potatoes than I should have. If I put them in about a foot apart I've probably got enough to cover about half an acre. Not sure how that happened. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I do have more than I need. I'll leave any spares at the top of the allotment site for someone else to pick up.
This is the bit at the bottom of the allotment, by the shed. The green thing in the middle is a garlic bulb that was left in the ground last year.
I'll be trying carrots again, despite limited success last year. I swear half a row of seedlings disappeared overnight. Rabbit? We do eat so many between us all. (Carrots, not rabbits). In fact I'm the only one who's not really keen on them. Even the hamster likes a chunk occasionally.
I'm going to have beans, squashes and sweetcorn, and I'm wondering if it's worth trying the "three sisters" method of growing them, with the beans climbing up the sweetcorn and the squashes shading the roots. Has anyone tried this and found it successful? This bed at the allotment would do nicely, especially now it's actually weed free.
There will be lots of tomatoes and cucumbers, and at home I'll put in most of the salad leaves, spinach, chard and maybe a little kale. Not too much kale though, the little people aren't quite convinced yet. I made kale crisps, but no-one was fooled. The grown-ups loved them though. We'll also have sugar snap peas at home. I love it when the children pick them and eat them straight from the plant. This year I need to try and have a successive crop for as long as possible.
There will be runner beans, as well as French and borlotti and odd little things like radishes and Florence fennel squeezed in wherever there's a space.
At home the boys are going to be putting flowers into their raised beds this year. We've chosen ones that are butterfly and bee friendly, and I really hope there will be lots of interesting things for them to see.
In a moment of inattention I left some packets of seeds in the allotment shed. The mice (which I've never seen, thankfully) were delighted.
It's always a happy busy time of year for a gardener in March. All those plans and dreams. The reality will no doubt turn out be a little different than the original sketches, but in the height of summer no doubt glorious all the same. There will be surprises and disappointments and successes and gluts. I'm ready, let's plant.
I always love reading about your allotment. I'm enchanted by the photos with the asters growing in the background. I just discovered the first wild aster in bloom in our yard today. They'll bloom into the fall. I have no idea how long they've been here but I think they're very sweet and I never pull them with the other weeds. I'm looking forward to seeing your gardening progress this year.ReplyDelete
Wow this is awesome. Soo jealous of your gardening skills. I might try and grow some basil this year... baby steps hahaReplyDelete
Yep! Let's plant is right! Your selection is fantastic lady! And no I have not tried that 3 sister method but I am very intrigued!!! It is so wonderful that you will be able to plant soon! We can not get things in until hmmmm I would say mayish! A ways away yet! I like the idea of succession planting to keep your crops coming in more and more! I will be doing that with my lettuce...which I still have to order! Happy planting friend...let the fun begin and a wonderful week to you! Nicole xoxoReplyDelete
How fun to see your baby tomato plants ... it will be at least 6 weeks before we can start thinking about planting out. It is such fun to plan a garden - and to know that you will love the results no matter how they may differ from the plan.ReplyDelete
Happy planting! :)
You are getting a good head start on your gardening! We hope to have some raised beds this year.. I sure hope so! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)ReplyDelete
The 3 sisters method is wonderful if you are growing the corn to dry, the beans will wrap themselves so you can not get at the ripe heads to cut them without cutting the bean stems. I grow my sweetcorn in a block with a couple of trailing squash plants rambling through them and my beans on a wigwam near them, more like cousins than sisters. I grow sugar snaps and treat them like sweeties, not many get cooked.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this Pam, I think I'll grow the beans nearby rather than up the corn too.Delete
Every thing is looking good... hope your boys have lots of bees and butterflies visit their flowers in the summer :o) xReplyDelete
I know Celia at purplepoddedpeas does the 3 sisters thing.ReplyDelete
I left sunflower seeds in the greenhouse by mistake, and this weekend found the envelope with all the seeds nibbled from their husks, and thought, oh mouse, and then said "oh mouse" as he ran down the shelves and out of the door............
Good planning, we're well on the way with ours too (I say 'we' but as no-one here is remotely interested in gardening, I really mean me). Those pesky mice! I can't start peas in our garden, or greenhouse as they just steal them, so I have to get them going in gutters on the kitchen table - as you can imagine, my husband is thrilled by this every year!ReplyDelete
As for the three sisters, yes I've tried it a number of times and a two sisters version as well. For some reason the squash has never done all that well in amongst my corn, almost like it doesn't get enough water, no matter how I try and I've grown barlotti beans up the corn, it all ends up looking very scruffy but works OK, as long as you intend to ideally dry the beans on the stalk, as it's quite difficult to get to them for picking otherwise. Beth :)
Thanks Beth, I think I might grow them separately, it sounds like it might be simpler.Delete
Firstly I loved your title, it actually made me laugh out loud! I am so in awe of your organisation... I am very much a putting bits in here and there gardener, but would love to have a well planned allotment like that! Julie xReplyDelete
Maybe slugs are munching along rows of carrot seedlings.ReplyDelete
We have had cheats three sisters beds. Cheats as they were in the same bed but the beans grew up canes. The sort of sweetcorn that we grow just isn't sturdy or tall enough to support the bean plants.
Oh I wish I had just a fraction of your gardening enthusiasm! I would very much like to feed my family with home grown produce, like you, but just don't know where to start. I will follow your progress this year and take notes for next year. Happy gardening! CxReplyDelete
Strawberries are a really good place to start. They're quite simple to grow and don't need much maintenance. And the children will love the fruit.Delete
I was very taken with the idea of the 3 sisters planting when I first started so did some research. This style of planting originated in South Western USA where sweetcorn would grow to nearly 3 metres, thereby giving a good structure for climbing beans. Squashes grown at the base of the plants would help to retain water in the soil and protect the roots from baking - this made good use of available space and water, especially when watering had to be done by hand every evening! The type of corn available to grow here is not tall enough and the weather isn't hot enough to grow/ripen taller varieties of corn. I think Sue's idea of having canes nearby sounds good - and pretty!!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the info Caro, I shall definitely grow them separately. Three metre corn sounds quite amazing.Delete
I'm just the same, full of plans and possibilities and germinating seeds. By the time it gets to August the straight lines have gone, and the mice have nibbled the growing plants as well as the packets. But I love it!ReplyDelete
It is at this time of year that I realise how short our growing season is. We are still getting snow and regular frosts! If you have mice around they probably ate your carrot tops. They are my biggest pest and can create vast amounts of destruction over night :(ReplyDelete
I love this time of year when plans are being drawn up and we dream about what the allotment will be like a few months down the line, so much promise. I just hope that we get some decent weather again this year so that everything grows well.ReplyDelete
Hehe. Yup, I'm with you - let's get planting. I've been meaning to do the 3 sisters for about 3 years now, but something always gets in the way (like my timing being off, or seedlings of one sort utterly failing, that sort of thing) so it's not happened yet. I will do it some day though ;o)ReplyDelete
It sounds as though you are very planned and organised and will have lots of lovely things growing! Good luck with the 3 sisters, I hope that it goes well and I will be interested to hear about it as things progress. xxReplyDelete
Yes, have a clean slate is fun - dreaming and planning, and for me, it never turns out as planned! As for eating kale, I am also not a kale fan, but I know that I should eat it, so whenever a recipe calls for spinach, we use spinach and kale. Spinach and kale pie, made with feta, and a buttery crust, is my preferred way of eating it.ReplyDelete
I found myself smiling and nodding when I read this post, especially the last paragraph.ReplyDelete
Like you I'll be trying carrots yet again, despite me having little success with them. Flighty xx
It's a triumph of hope over experience. Something gardeners specialise in I think.Delete
Such an exciting and optimistic time of year. I'm not much of a gardener but would love to try some veg, I do grow salad leaves most years but that's all. I'll really enjoy seeing your allotment take shape this year.ReplyDelete
You are going to have a right tasty summer when the harvest starts rolling in.ReplyDelete
"Carrots, not rabbits", ha. You do such a nice job with your garden CJ. I'm always impressed. Happy Monday!ReplyDelete
I love your notebook and how organized you are! You make gardening look fun!ReplyDelete
I hope you have a good gardening year! My plans often go awry by late spring when I don't manage to sow all my seeds. Too many remain in their packets. I've never tried the "three sisters" so I look forward to reading all about that.ReplyDelete
Those tomato plants look good. Mine are still seeds in a packet so I'd better get a move on!ReplyDelete
How exciting! It’s planting time again! I can’t wait to see what you grow. It always amazes me how putting a little seed in the ground can turn into something so delicious and/or beautiful. That’s too bad the mice got into your seeds, but thank goodness you didn’t see them! I wouldn’t be able to handle that:) I like what you said about there inevitably being ups and downs, but it is exciting anyway. I’m sure the ups will be the majority:)ReplyDelete
You will be busy! I bought most of my seeds, and I was about starting to plant over the weekend, but the rain just came in. And it was a good thing because we have had frost the past two days... We are not fan of courgettes here, but when I use them, I always "marinate" them in lemon, olive oil and basil... I find that it takes away some of the bitter in their taste.ReplyDelete
It's a great time of year for Gardeners, isn't it? Mr VTT has an allotment and is always so enthusiastic in Spring - sometimes this wanes, due to potato blight, rats (!! The allotment is near railway tracks), too much / too little rain, etc! I love your enthusiasm. X}ReplyDelete
Oh this is so exciting. I did the same thing quite a few weeks ago now, obviously NOT for a lush allotment like yours, but for my teeny weeny veg patch, but it seems that our trip to SA might just get in the way with my plans. Last year I was super organised but a trip to see family over easter kind of killed all my seeds for lack of water and I just don't want to be doing the same thing this year. So far I have managed some kale and a few basil plants and also some marigolds (yes not a veg, but hopefully a little plan for future dyeing fun!). Yours look very promising and I can't wait to follow the progress xoxoReplyDelete