There are 5 vegetables that I’ve always really struggled to grow. Year after year I stubbornly sow cauliflowers, red cabbage, parsnips, spring onions, and peas despite a rock bottom historical success rate.
This year, these problematic veg are going in the Naughty Bed.
The Naughty Bed is a smallish raised bed that I created about three years ago by clearing an old compost heap/dumping ground left by the previous occupier of Plot 105. The soil at the bottom was fine and, unlike my other beds, stone-free, so I fenced it in with some big old driftwood planks and set about using the space.
Number One Priority
I’ve decided that the Naughty Bed is going to be my priority for the coming season, above all other areas of the plot. Whatever I’m doing elsewhere, wherever I’m going, this is the bed that I must keep in good nick. No bike rides and no trips away unless the Naughty Bed is weeded, well-fed, and well-watered.
In 2011, I only managed 3 small caulis from 10 plants, no red cabbage, and no spring onions (I’ve never, ever managed a single spring onion), a small florist bucket parsnip harvest and a meagre 20g of peas (perhaps the most embarrassing of the lot).
However, I’m determined to focus on these troublesome vegetables, and by putting them all together I hope to concentrate the mind in an effort to banish allotment demons.
Labour of Love
I’m going to make weekly lists to make sure I don’t forget to tie up my cauli leaves, and the parsnips will be planted in soil dug to a good spade’s depth. I’ll be making some nettle feed as well, to help the plants thrive in their tidy surroundings. The Naughty Bed is going to be a real labour of love, lavished with attention to try and finally grow some good, consistent specimens.
I know that in theory, I should keep the crop families together, but last year was so rigid and organised, that I’m feeling rebellious, so it’ll be nice just to go with it. Besides, in the past, I’ve kind of ignored these rules at times and had good results anyway.
The bed has also had a decent seaweed manuring, and I’ve been scouring my books and the web for tips on successfully growing these different vegetables. Any useful advice out there would also be gratefully received!
I’m not going to grow many of them, instead of concentrating on making sure I get a few good ones. I’ll leave the large harvests to my reliable, low maintenance croppers.
Where the Naughty Bed is concerned, its quality, not quantity.