I’m coming up to my third full summer of growing vegetables in my dedicated raised planter beds. On reflection, I definitely had a great dose of beginners luck. I’ve not successfully grow eggplant on successive attempts. The corn last year was dismal. And the tomatoes were only “ok” for the effort expended.
This year I am going to make a more directed effort to get more out of the effort that went in to setting up those garden beds. More strategic planning is required. More thought given to replenishing the garden soil. And more care taken to ensure germination of the seeds.
Follow along as I attempt to be over burdened with home grown produce. For now, I’ll limp on with the available radish and celery still going strong on their ownsome.
Key factors to target:
- Seed germination.
A number of vegetables I grow recommend sowing direct. The disadvantage of a day job means I can’t be there to ensure even watering throughout the day and my well-drained raised beds leave seeds open to desiccation before germination can occur. I’ve noticed Charles Dowding in his Success With Seeds video on Youtube sows a pinch of spring onion seeds clustered in a paper pot for planting out which he does not thin. This has the advantage of ensuring germination as well as dense planting. I think I’ll be giving this ago.
- Correct spacing of seeds / seedlings.
I’ll take a leaf out of the “Square Foot Gardening” book and aim for closer than the seed packet recommends.
- Succession planting or not?
Lynda Hallinan, our favourite New Zealand gardener thinks not. I like her no-fuss approach to ditch the succession planting routine and eat what’s in plenty as it comes along. Also means no fallow soil.
In the meantime, it’s time to think about what new seeds are needed [wanted] and that requires a bit of a stock-take on the seed packets that have accumulated over the past three years. Some are past expiry but seeds like tomatoes I’ll still keep and try and strike. Others ended up being more looks that substance (the Atlantic Giant pumpkin) and then there are a small pile of flower seeds that produced invasive plants I’m still paying for, so they just need to be binned.
While there isn’t much that can be done outside at the moment, and the opportunities are few anyway, it’s fun to think ahead to what we hope is Spring a little further around the corner. Pouring over the seed catalogues and websites is one such winter treat.