The Planting Plan

If you want to know when to sow, take your trousers down and sit on the ground.

This is another old wives tale – and what a fantastic one.  I can just imagine scores of gardeners across the country, subjecting their rear ends to all sorts of uncomfortablenss by taking down their trousers and sitting on the ground.  But apparently if the temperature of the soil doesn’t make you leap up with a screech, but actually feels quite comfortable, then it’s the perfect time for sowing your seeds.  The ground is warm enough!  Classic.

Well, for me  it has been a busy week of planning and digging.  I have drawn up my planting plan for this year and I have also dug into my vegetable plots some well rotted cow manure (ewww ‘cow poo!’ exclaimed my 5 year old!).  It is well rotted, almost looks like earth and does not smell at all and is as advised by commonredstart in my previous post  as I really should have done it back in Autumn to give it all a chance to rot down really well and not damage the young seedlings.  Well, better late than never!

In drawing up my planting plan, I was guided by two excellent books.  One was recommended to me by a gardening friend.  This is Joy Larkcom’s ‘Grow Your Own Vegetables’ and is apparently a classic.  It is very detailed and informative and is a great read on its own.  The second was given to me by my boys for my recent birthday.  It is Dr D. G. Hessayon’s ‘The Vegetable & Herb Expert’.  Its sub-heading proclaims ‘The world’s best selling book on vegetables & herbs’.  Well, how can you argue with that?  It’s a must have for the gardening book shelf!

I like the vegetable and herb expert as it is easily read and digested.  It devotes 3-4 pages per vegetable or herb in a consistent format and has seed facts, soil facts, sowing facts, looking after the crop, harvesting and kitchen uses.  It also talks about pests and diseases with some (frankly yucky looking) pictures!  It also explains about crop rotation and plant families.  Very useful.

Grow Your Own Vegetables has this in spades (hah, get it?!) and more, in much more detail.  It’s a real read.  I glad I bought this as I am finding it is great relaxation reading and it’s wonderful to be able to get expert in-depth knowledge about the subject. I think the two books compliment each other very well.

So this is my planting plan.  Let me know if you see any glaring errors, or anything you think will not work.  Any advice is much appreciated.

2012 Vegetable Planting Plan

2012 Vegetable Planting Plan

This coming week, as the weather is so nice, I will be getting the seeds all sown.  I have been advised to do this in seedling pots as it is early still and we may still get some frosts….  I will let you know how I get on!

P.S.  And I’m using my hands to check the temperature of the soil……… I’m a chicken, I know!



Preparing The Vegetable Beds and My Planting Plan For 2012

“Always grow some herbs outside the herb garden” Old Wives Tale.

Must be a good reason – but why?

Well, the sun has been shining and the temperatures have been very spring like. It’s amazing how, with just these two factors, the desire to be outside doing something energetic is almost overwhelming!

I started with weeding the beds and pulling up the few things that were still in the garden from last year.  This was mostly some carrots and 6 cabbage plants.  The cabbage plants had had their heads removed and consumed last autumn (sounds violent), but I had left the plants to the badgers and other creatures to feed on over the winter.  Well, that’s what I told everybody.  Really I think it was more to do with laziness that they remained!

Feeling very virtuous, I did plant an onion set last autumn.  I saw Monty do it in one of his programs and thought how lovely to have fresh spring onions from the garden come March.  However, I pulled a couple up yesterday and I think they have some disease.  The onion bulb is brown and mushy.  I can pull it off and it comes away clean leaving a nice white firm spring onion.  Anybody got any advice on what the problem could be?  I hope they all aren’t affected….. 😦

I have begged, borrowed and stolen (well, not stolen actually) some seeds from friends and neighbours.  I have quite a collection and don’t know if I will be using them all.  I have been told that all of them are left overs from last year and some packets have been opened.  I imagine they will be ok and will germinate.  What is your advice?  Do you think I should use them. I guess I could just plant them all and see what comes up?  Or would it be best to plant them in seedling trays and plant out what comes up?  Mmmmm.  Decisions.

Some of the seeds are from my wonderfully green thumbed neighbour. Looking at her garden is an exercise in agony and ecstasy.  Agony that I can’t have a garden that looks like hers and the ecstasy of gazing on something so wonderfully beautiful.  Truly she is a gifted gardner.  I think it is my embarrassment of our meagre garden sitting next to hers like the poor cousin that has finally spurred me on this year!  Anyway, she has given me some seeds from a company called ‘The Real Seed Catalogue’.  They are a heritage seed provider.  I have been onto their website and what a joy it is.  Such great varieties.  I am particularly inrigued by the seeds such as ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ beans.  The blurb on the website says:

“Simply the best bean there is. This bean was originally from the native North American Cherokee people.

In 1838 they were driven out of their homelands in the state of Georgia by the US government to make room for more European settlers , a forced march known as the ‘Trail of Tears’. This bean is one of their heirlooms they managed to keep with them and has been passed on from generation to generation ever since.

We can see why the Cherokees valued it so much! It is incredibly prolific, cropping over a long season. We plant lots each year for our own use & feedback from all of you is always positive.”

Heartbreaking really, but perhaps I can feel a little amends can be made by keeping the seed going?  Yes I am sentimental!

A herb that caught my eye that I will also purchase is Quillquiña.  A South American herb described as ‘citrus spicy scent and flavour, this is used in South America to make delicious salsa, & can also be used anywhere you would use fresh coriander‘.  Sounds delicious and as our family loves Mexican food, it would be lovely to have a real authentic flavour made with fresh herbs at home.

Does anyone else have recommendations for great seed supplier, supplying unusual or heritage seeds?

So, back to the planting plan for this year.  I have decided on:

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Courgette
  • Pumpkin
  • Beetroot
  • Radish
  • Herbs
  • Salad Leaves

Does this sound overly ambitious?  Any advice on what beds I should plant each in and what should I group together?
Any advice would be welcome!

Well, must get to digging in some compost into the beds……..

Until next week – happy gardening!


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