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.
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.
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 are 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 big guns, the harvest was more than good enough for a few Sunday roasts.
I mustn’t forget the greenhouse (pictured) either. This is where life gets really exciting. I’ve never had the luxury of 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 fewer 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.