Sunday, 9 March 2008

Growing veg without the plot

I was very interested to read, in the Guardian weekend magazine, an article about growing veg in small spaces (sadly it isn't available online). By following their plan you could have home grown veg all year round, obviously there might be times when you only have a little bit but they did manage to squeeze in peas, carrots, lots of salad crops, kale, leeks and even squash amongst others. The entire things was based around a 3m x 3m bed divided up into squares into which you sowed the goods.

Now obviously I have an entire allotment but it was a really refreshing view to read that maybe 1 squash plant would be enough, and carrots could be fitted in around the onions. Last year I stuffed all my veg into the raised beds in the garden and after under-estimating the size of a pumpkin plant the chard ended up a little crowded, the onion (there was just 1) was lost under the courgettes and the lettuce had to battle to stay alive but in the end it just sort of worked.

Now that I am about to start planting up my allotment I am trying to work out planting positions and spacing but after reading this artlicle I think I will just relax and see how it all works out. Maybe some stuff won't thrive (or survive) but hopefully plenty more will and if this article is anything to go by then I don't really need all 6 of my squash plants to produce. So if you only have 1 flower bed, or even a few pots don't be put off there is still plenty of veg that you can grow.

Today I sowed the first of my salad crops in one of the raised beds in the garden, I was planning to go with rows but have been converted to the use of squares so the bed has been divided up into sections and each one will have one of the following sown in it: Rocket, Land cress, Lambs lettuce, Mizuna, Mustard and a mixed lettuce seed, as they germinate and grown I will start to sow some of the other squares until I hopefully have a patchwork of salad crops for continual harvesting.

3 comments:

Paul and Melanie said...

Plant spacing is something of a mystery to me too. I mean I understand why things need a certain amount of room but I am bemused when I see things like '4 inches between plants and 12 inches between rows'... I mean, why do the plants need more room one way but not the other... I assume it has to do with weeding/hoeing space between rows, but in the days when lots of people use beds that can be hand weeded the huge spaces between rows seem pointless to me...

Cat said...

Hiya. Go with what you think is right...I always followed things last year and found that I had loads of space that I could have grown other items. One idea is to grow beetroot round the edges of your beds - they don't take up mush space and make it look quite smart - a sort of finishing off look. We grew carrots in some wondow boxes too last year, and my dad just chucked the seeds in - you can thin the small plants out and use them in salads and let some of the bigger ones grow on. Good luck!

Soilman said...

Maximising every available bit of space is a hell of a challenge, Amy. It's almost impossible to do in reality, because it relies upon sowing things and having them ready at precisely the right times to fill gaps... and in the real world, weather and life commitments tend to get in the way of that kind of military planning! I aspire to total self-sufficiency but have never achieved better than about 70% over a whole year.