Real Men Sow

The Plot Plan 2013 – Part Two

The Plot Plan for the coming growing season has become something of a tradition on the blog. It is one of my favourite posts to write, and my Plot Plan for 2011 remains the third most visited page in Real Men Sow history.


Back in 2011, I used Microsoft Excel, but while I like to think my gardening skills have progressed, it looks like my plot planning ones have gone in the opposite direction. I haven’t moved on to any of the fancy software I reviewed two years ago. For 2013’s plan, I’ve opted for good old fashioned paper, ruler and colouring pencils instead.


The plan is to a scale of 1cm : 1 foot, and I’m quite proud of it. It might well be the artiest thing I’ve ever done. A PDF of the plan can be viewed by clicking here.

For Part One of the Plan, click here.

The Winter Strip
I’m putting most of my winter veg over against the right hand side fence. This bed is prone to more shade than the rest of the patch, so I’m growing the leafy crops in there. Kale, chard and cavolo nero don’t mind a little shade, and rhubarb is comfortable with it too. I’m taking a flyer on the purple sprouting and leeks. Fingers crossed for them.

Another experimental plant for 2013 is sweetcorn. I was never able to grow it at the allotments as the badgers snaffled the cobs as soon as they were ready. They’re going up another cane structure, in front of the plum and pear tree.

Everything Else!
With all my priority veg accounted for, that leaves the not so important, but fun stuff. This is where the plan gets exciting, because the plan is not to have a plan. Caulis, salad, sprouts, onions, radish, cabbages, garlic and anything else I have to hand is going wherever I can fit it. In amongst all that Plot Plan order, there’ll be some chaos too. There is growing room under the plum and pear trees, around the gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes and hopefully in the beds too, as plants die off or don’t use up as much space as I thought.

Subject to my friendly florist providing me with some, carrots and parsnips are going in florist buckets. I’ve tried this with parsnips before, and although I didn’t get bigguns, the harvest was more than good enough for a few Sunday roasts.

The Greenhouse
I mustn’t forget the greenhouse (pictured) either. This is where life gets really exciting. I’ve never had the luxury a greenhouse before, and I can’t wait to get started experimenting. One of my main aims is to extend the growing season, but I’ve also got half an eye on having a go at aubergines and melons. Growing both in the UK requires skill, luck and a good summer, so odds are against me already!

Alan from It’s Not Work, It’s Gardening commented that the unfamiliar soil means I may not get exactly the same results that I did in the allotment, which makes 2013 an even more interesting one. There are lots of different elements to take on board, both positive and negative. For example, having so much packed into a small space hopefully means less weeds, but could also encourage the spread of disease.

2013 is going to be a real voyage of discovery for me and I can’t wait to get going.

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  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!January 16, 2013 at 8:31 pmReply

    As somebody who has already done the “stick them in wherever” thing with a few odd plants, I’d recommend not getting too carried away with it. If you’re going to practice crop rotation (and I hope you do), then it’s important to know what was growing where, and not spread things all over the place. For instance, don’t grow garlic in every single bed, because then you’ll have no place to rotate the garlic plants to next year.

    You can still stick plants here and there, but I’m just suggesting that you put a little thought into it.

  2. Helen/patientgardenerJanuary 17, 2013 at 7:31 pmReply

    Aubergines and melons – well thats a challenge. What about cucumbers they did really well for me last year although I find you cant grow them in the same greenhouse as tomato as they need different conditions.

  3. wellywomanJanuary 18, 2013 at 3:19 pmReply

    It’s my first year with a greenhouse and I can’t wait. I’m going to try tomatoes again. We gave up on them after so many years of blight outdoors. I’m thinking about chillis too. Love the idea of melons. Will watch with interest. :)

  4. Jono

    JonoJanuary 18, 2013 at 9:06 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Alan – yes, you are probably right! Just getting excited with everything at the moment. I’ve crop rotated on the allotment, so will be practising that as much as possible in the garden.

    Hi Helen – I remember seeing cues on your blog. I normally grow outdoor ridged ones. They’ve been really reliable for me, apart from last year (but then most things were poor last year!). Will probably grow most of my tomatoes outside too.

  5. ShenDecember 15, 2013 at 10:04 amReply

    Any thoughts on a plan for a plot roughly 4.5m square? 3 long beds, 4 rect beds, 6 small beds? Don’t really want to waste too much space with paths though. All virgin earth newly dug over.

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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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