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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

What I'm not growing this year

Here's a list of what I've decided not to grow this year (which I usually do) and the reasons why not. 

Parsnips. As we are still eating the 2010 parsnips chopped into chunks from the freezer, and not yet touched the 2011 ones, I don't think I need to! Anyway I have this amazing ability to grow huge monster parsnips which go a long way.

Sweetcorn. It's a tough decision this, because we can't buy fresh sweetcorn here, but it's such a hit and miss veg. If the harvest is good it all ripens at once no matter if you try to stagger the sowing time. I get smut on mine and also the birds eat it, it takes up a lot of space, often needs staking and quite often is just plain disappointing. Last year it went all slimey inside the husks so was a waste of time and energy. So I'm having a break from it.

Smut - a fungal delicacy for some. Not for me thanks!

Onions and shallots. Again another hit and miss veg. If I could get the overwintering Japanese onion 'Radar' here which I've grown once, I would. I don't like the yellow onion varieties sold here and gave up on them as they have flat bottoms, so they are a pain in the bum to peel and chop. I usually grow red onions but the last time they all rotted once I'd harvested them. I moved on to shallots but last year both varieties ('Longor' and 'Red Sun') were bitter when raw, and Red Sun are (sigh) flat bottomed so I feel very disinclined to bother to use them. They also need tons of watering and take up a lot of space whilst drying, so I'm giving them a miss this year.

Spinach beet. I went off this veg years ago and now only grow it for the chickens! Last year only one germinated from new seed, which was later eaten by the coypus. Miss.

Butternut squash. Still have tons of puree in the freezer and not touched this year's butternuts yet, and I only use this for cakes and pumpkin pie as we much prefer Potimarron as an eating pumpkin.


Then there's the veg to grow a lot less of:

Tomatoes. Still eating 2010 tomato sauce!

Courgettes. I'm only going to grow ONE plant. Honest. That's because I have a fantastic recipe for savoury courgette cake, which also uses eggs so kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Broad beans. One year I might get this right. Previously I've had not enough but last year I grew far too many. I have tons in the freezer but don't feel like eating them as they don't taste the same as fresh.

Spuds. This year I am sticking with Belle de Fontenay for my 'new' potatoes and Desiree for maincrops and that's it. I shall refuse the free bag of seed potatoes that the garden centre give out to loyalty card holders. There are only two of us here!

And to fill the gaps? I shall be sowing some annual flower seeds and also trying Phacelia for the first time, which is a green manure with pretty blue flowers which apparently bees love. It's in lots of fields around here at the moment and is still managing to flower a little.  I'm not sure how you dig in something as tall and leggy as this without a tractor but we'll worry about that when the time comes!

What will I grow then? Plenty actually, but my cunning plan for this year is to try to reduce the amount that I produce (and often overproduce), thus freeing up a bit of time at the harvesting and 'do something with it all' stage. The flowers filling the gaps shouldn't hopefully need any (or very much) watering with the richness of the veg patch soil and I won't be expecting them to feed me, or worrying about them going to seed or getting diseases.

I don't suppose anybody ever 'gets it right' in the veg patch, as so much is dependant on conditions fairly out of our control like weather and diseases and insects. But it is fun trying!


  1. I thought parsnips were meant to look like that? Mine always have :)

  2. By the way, TripleM, you can get "Radar" from Suttons & Garden4less, the latter being the better bet, if you really want to grow them. If they won't deliver to MainLand Europe I can get 'em delivered to A N Other c/o the UK....... Bit late for this year but could get it sorted for next........... 'Im in Brit'ney

  3. There's something strange about these comment times and I can't find anything in the 'controls' to sort it :-/....

    Colly see my latest piccy!

    Mr Mouse - I will check 'em out; also T&M, if not I may well take you up on your offer. Merci buckets :-)

  4. You knows where I is, ma petite Marmite.......... ;-) xx