Real Men Sow

What’s Going in the Naughty Bed?

There are 5 vegetables that I’ve always really struggled to grow. Year after year I stubbornly sow cauliflowers, red cabbage, parsnips, spring onions and peas despite a rock bottom historical success rate.

This year, these problematic veg are going in the Naughty Bed.

The Naughty Bed is a smallish raised bed that I created about three years ago by clearing an old compost heap / dumping ground left by the previous occupier of Plot 105. The soil at the bottom was fine and, unlike my other beds, stone free, so I fenced it in with some big old driftwood planks and set about using the space.

Number One Priority
I’ve decided that the Naughty Bed is going to be my priority for the coming season, above all other areas of the plot. Whatever I’m doing elsewhere, wherever I’m going, this is the bed that I must keep in good nick. No bike rides and no trips away unless the Naughty Bed is weeded, well fed and well watered.

In 2011, I only managed 3 small caulis from 10 plants, no red cabbage and no spring onions (I’ve never, ever managed a single spring onion), a small florist bucket parsnip harvest and a meagre 20g of peas (perhaps the most embarrassing of the lot).

However, I’m determined to focus on these troublesome vegetables, and by putting them all together I hope to concentrate the mind in an effort to banish allotment demons.

Labour of Love
I’m going to make weekly lists to make sure I don’t forget to tie up my cauli leaves, and the parsnips will be planted in soil dug to a good spade’s depth. I’ll be making some nettle feed as well, to help the plants thrive in their tidy surroundings. The Naughty Bed is going to be a real labour of love, lavished with attention to try and finally grow some good, consistent specimens.

I know that in theory I should keep the crop families together, but last year was so rigid and organised, that I’m feeling rebellious, so it’ll be nice just to go with it. Besides, in the past, I’ve kind of ignored these rules at times, and had good results anyway.

The bed has also had a decent seaweed manuring, and I’ve been scouring my books and the web for tips on successfully growing these different vegetables. Any useful advice out there would also be gratefully received!

I’m not going to grow many of them, instead concentrating making sure I get a few good ones. I’ll leave the large harvests to my reliable, low maintenance croppers.

Where the Naughty Bed is concerned, its quality, not quantity.

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5 Comments

  1. MariaJanuary 16, 2012 at 9:58 pmReply

    good luck with it! seaweed manuring sound very interesting.

    • Jono

      JonoJanuary 17, 2012 at 6:43 amReplyAuthor

      Thanks Maria. I’ve heard good things about it, and its better on my beds than wrapped around my fishing line!

  2. Suburban Hobby FarmerJanuary 17, 2012 at 1:17 amReply

    Try as you like, but real men need at least one naughty bed. I don’t give your transformation good odds for success. I say keep your naughty bed naughty and you’ll be a happier man.

  3. Helen/patientgardenerJanuary 17, 2012 at 12:43 pmReply

    I did Ok with spring onions and parsnips last year but I have deep clay soil. Harvested one cauli so far and am hoping rest are doing ok when I visit this weekend.
    Not tried red cabbage, have some seeds, but didnt realise they were difficult.
    Doing peas again but need to sow early as got hit by pea moth last year, though it was probably leek moth just trying its luck.
    I cant grow peppers – the plants just sit there and look at me and sweet corn so far has been unsuccessful. I like the idea of a naughty bed. I keep thinking I will ignore families and plant in bed as they are harvested together if you know what I mean. So maybe a few broad beans and peas in one bed and a couple of weeks later the same again. That way I could clear a bed and then move on to the next, not sure if it would work though!

  4. TimFebruary 14, 2012 at 1:48 pmReply

    I too have a clay soil. Spring onions seem to pop up even without trying as we’re rubbish at harvesting them before they go to seed.

    Last year we pretty much managed nothing due to the allotment move. Here’s to 2012! The great year of growing :)

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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