One thing I’ve learned since taking on my first allotment is that no year is ever the same. We’re always trying different methods, or experimenting with new varieties.
Then there’s the weather and the pests. There are so many variables and you can never be sure what will happen.
This also makes every year a learning curve, however, experienced you may be. Having grown veg in my garden rather than an allotment for the second season running, here are 5 things I’ll be doing differently next year.
Don’t Plant Toms So Close Together
This year, my outdoor tomatoes fell victim to the dreaded blight. Tomato blight was widespread this summer but I can’t help feel that I could have done more to prevent the disease, especially where my planting plan was concerned.
For starters, I planted the seedlings far too close together. I put six in next to each other, in a space roughly 5ft by 2ft. Doubled with the fact I didn’t cut back foliage to let the fruit ripen, there wasn’t much room for air circulation.
Don’t Grow So Many Tomatoes
Of course, if I didn’t grow so many tomato plants, I wouldn’t have felt so compelled to plant loads. In all, I grew 10 tomato plants inside and out. I mean, honestly, what was I thinking? What family of 3 could possibly need so many tomatoes?? And Lewis doesn’t even like tomatoes yet!
So, rule of thumb for next year: one beefsteak, one cherry, and one normal Moneymaker type job. Maybe a bonus Moneymaker, but that’s the lot.
Make More Efficient (and Tidier) Use of the Greenhouse
Growing fewer tomatoes will mean I can make better use of my greenhouse. I grew 3 tomato plants in there this year, which admittedly remained blight free and provided me with a crop, but also took over the greenhouse.
This meant that the crops I grew that did actually need a greenhouse, such as melons, peppers, and aubergines, got smothered by the toms and delivered bugger all.
If I grow all my tomatoes outside next year, I can use the greenhouse properly for those heat-loving veg that I can’t grow anywhere else.
Don’t Grow So Many Courgettes
Whilst I’m at it, I’m not going to grow so many courgette plants next year either. I reckon I only need one. The two I grew this year got massive too, taking up a big space on the veg bed.
Cover My Brassicas AT THE VERY BEGINNING!
Yep, this year saw a second successive brassica massacre. I really need to up my game if I am going to beat the cabbage whites.
Growing certain veg in the garden is much harder than on an allotment, in my humble opinion. For example – and I’m not entirely sure why – but I never had the cabbage white problems to the same extent on the plot as I do in my garden.
I’ve recently pondered whether it could be the end of the road for brassicas, but I’m going to give them one more go in 2015. I’m going high security though and will be building a proper structure to attach my net to, as well as covering the minute that I plant my seedlings out.