Real Men Sow

5 Vegetables I’m Not Growing This Year

cauli

With limited space to grow in my back garden beds, I’ve had to make some decisions about what to grow.

In the past, I’ve used a prioritisation matrix (I know, I know…) to help choose which veg to grow. 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.

And some veg, I just need a break from. We’ve all got those problematic ones that leave you scratching your head because you can never quite perfect them. I’ve got one or two of those, and in 2015, the year of saving money and reliability (first update on that coming at the end of this month…), those troublemakers are out.

So here are 5 vegetables I’m not growing in 2015.

Carrots
Normally, I set aside some space for both early salad carrots and a summer maincrop, as well as sometimes growing them in containers.

However, we’re not really much of a carrot family. We don’t roast much, and if we do grow carrots they normally end up grated in salads. So, taking my own advice of growing what you eat, the carrot seeds are staying in their packets this year.

Carrots are also dead cheap in the shops. At 57p a kilo, I’ll give the space over to a crop that yields a higher value.

Onions
Another cheapy veg is the good old onion. You can pick up an onion for little over 20p in some supermarkets which given the space they take up, doesn’t bode well for my spreadsheet.

Onions aren’t completely out, as I’ve got some overwintering sets that are now starting to bulk up. Winter is a good time to put onions in, as there isn’t much else in the beds, but come Summer I like to give the space over to more glamorous veg. Sorry onions!

Parsnips
Oh parsnips, you tricky customers. Year after year is a battle to get the perfect parsnip. My soil at my old allotment was stony, so this caused split or stumpy roots.

I had high hopes last year, with my new raised beds and nice, stone free soil. Alas, my parsnips were still mainly nubbins and good only for soup.

Parsnips, we don’t eat many of you, you’re cheap in the shops and I need a break from your stumpy disappointment. Maybe next year.

Cauliflowers
I like the odd cauliflower, and as a challenge, I think a good cauliflower is one of the most satisfying vegetables to grow. They’re very tricky though, and require a lot of love and attention. I’ve achieved some success with caulis, so much like ticking off an accomplishment on a bucket list, I’m happy to move on to the next one.

I’ll leave them to my mum.

Peas
Every allotment holder and GYOer grows peas, right? They’re a plot staple. Where would we be without the good old garden pea?

Recently my pea growing mojo has waned. Back in January, I was thinking about not bothering with them at all.

When I discovered mangetout, everything changed. For anyone who doesn’t know, mangetout are a type of pea, but they’re the little flat pea pods, which you eat whole, before the peas swell.

The other difference I’ve found is that the yield is much better, especially if you consider the space taken up.

Mangetout is incredibly productive, and I like to grow the vines up wigwams. Not only is this productive, it makes for an attractive feature in a bed.

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5 Comments

  1. Mark WillisMay 24, 2015 at 9:05 amReply

    I use the approach called “Value For Space Rating” (VSR), a term originally coined by Joy Larkcom, to make similar judgements about what to grow . It is not always sufficient to rely on price comparisons, because the veg you buy in supermarkets can never compare with home-grown produce in terms of taste and freshness – and you never know what chemicals have been used in/on them! Carrots are a case in point – cheap to buy, but tasteless.

  2. MelanieMay 24, 2015 at 9:34 pmReply

    hi there,
    I’ve just found your blog and this post made me smile as I am having similar thoughts. My overwintering caulis are massive, green, space guzzling and yet showing no sign of curds. My peas after lovingly growing them from seed were ravaged by snails and slugs. And last year I forgot to thin my carrots so I ended up with handfuls of matchstick thin ones. My father in law also (very kindly) planted onions for me which are not yet ready and taking up half a bed!
    So a rethink due….!!

  3. Sven JeffersonMay 27, 2015 at 11:27 amReply

    Well, one of the vegetables that are never out of my garden is onion. Although, it’s cheap on the market I prefer to grow it myself and enjoy it fresh straight from my garden. It’s one of the best supplements for almost every meal, so can’t miss it. :)

  4. lizMay 30, 2015 at 2:40 pmReply

    I have to say, nothing better than having green onions right by the door to add to salads, rice, etc. I just cut off the root end of the green onions and stick it in a box of dirt, no need to go to the garden where the slugs can get them and they sometimes will grow through the winter if they get protection enough and eventually you get a pretty head of seed if you don’t eat them first.

  5. Dean SpencerJanuary 31, 2017 at 10:31 amReply

    Made notes of this must agree about mange tout.
    Fun to grow and look good.
    Going for chick peas and Romanesco this year for something different.

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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, three years on, 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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