Real Men Sow

Getting Important Veg in the Plot Plan, and the Priority Vegetable Spreadsheet

I don’t know if it’s the January blues, but I’ve been acting a little odd. Today at work, I’ve been getting far too excited about the potential of a door access control system.

On Tuesday, I was naming parts of my garden after cats, and yesterday I started ranking vegetables on things like Tasteability and How-Much-Do-We-Eat-ability.

The Veg Growing Priority Spreadsheet
Yes, I’ve been back on the fruit and veg spreadsheets. I don’t know, maybe I’m just looking for any excuse to think about vegetables when the weather’s rubbish. Maybe I’m just destined to be an accountant one day.

Anyway, I started a new spreadsheet to help me decide on the most important vegetables to grow in my new kitchen garden. This came as a result of starting work on my Plot Plan 2013 and the sudden realisation that some days, I stand over the space and panic that I’ve got no where near as much room as I thought. Therefore, a list of priority veg is required.

So, I made up some criteria to help me with this. I rated veg between 1 and 5 on space efficiency (how much space do I need for a decent crop), the cost in shops, reliability, how tasty we find the veg, how well they keep or freeze and how much of the veg we eat.

Not All Veg are Equal
5 was a good rating, and 1 was poor. Some of the criteria, like cost in shops, were generic, but other were personal to me. Not all veg are equal to my palate. Tomatoes rock my tastebuds, but turnips… well, turn me off.

I’ve found reliability is also subjective. Squash is one of the most dependable veg I’ve grown, but I know plenty who have struggled with it. Yet, I’ve never managed a decent crop of spring onion, which by all accounts but mine, are a cinch to grow.

Once I’d rated all the veg, I totted up the totals and sorted by the highest scoring. The theory is that I can ensure I grow all the veg that give me the best results, from the taste on my plate to the pennies in my pocket. Leeks, French beans, squash, tomatoes, cavolo nero, mangetout, beetroot, curly kale, perpetual spinach, and purple sprouting broccoli scored higher than 20, and they’ve all got a spot in my plan.

Fitting in the Luxury Veg
This means that I can also enjoy the idea of fitting my luxury vegetables in around these staples. I’m thinking some pink fir apples here and there, the odd cauliflower challenge in amongst the fruit bushes and an experimental wigwam of last year’s heritage peas, perhaps.

For me, this is a fun but functional approach to planning my plot. I get the steady stuff in so I can be confident of a good harvest, but then I can mess around with other interesting veg without worrying that they’re taking up useful space.

I’m now really close to completing my Plot Plan 2013, which is always an exciting New Year milestone. It might well be cold and dark, but next week I’ll be ordering seeds and dreaming about the summer.

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7 Comments

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!January 10, 2013 at 11:24 pmReply

    Don’t forget to try something new too!

    This is the best photo so far for showing me the size of your new garden. Why isn’t something growing in the greenhouse yet? ;-)

    Remember that since this is unfamiliar soil for you, you may not get exactly the same results that you did in the allotment. Could be better for some things, and worse for others. I’m eager to see how things go for you though!

  2. HelenJanuary 11, 2013 at 12:13 pmReply

    This has taken me back to doing my first plot plan for the allotment, then last year it got worse as I had to take into account crop rotation – I think my brain imploded at that point!

  3. Jono

    JonoJanuary 12, 2013 at 9:07 amReplyAuthor

    haha Alan, I’m a little behind with the greenhouse. There is no glass on the door so need to get that fixed quicksharp.

    Me too on the different results point. The soil is definitely heavier, and I think it might take me a few years to get the yields up. I’ve put plenty of manure on there, so fingers crossed.

    Have been thinking about doing a PH soil test too, as I don’t know the acidity.

    Hi Helen – I think I quite like the mental challenge of plot planning rather than actually sticking to it. Its like a puzzle, fitting things in and planning for successional sowing.

  4. landatthebottomJanuary 12, 2013 at 10:43 amReply

    If you are looking at value for money it is hard to beat shallots, especially as you can squeeze one in anwhere, expensive in the shops, and store longer than onions. And, you can get 300g (about 8) in Poundland.

  5. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » The Plot Plan 2013 – Part OneJanuary 14, 2013 at 8:43 pmReply

    [...] Getting Important Veg in the Plot Plan, and the Priority Vegetable Spreadsheet [...]

  6. AdamJanuary 15, 2013 at 7:15 pmReply

    Hi Jono, did you upload this spreadsheet? It would be interesting to see what values each veg got.

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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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