Thursday, 17 January 2013

Vegetable Growing 2013.

I think a lot of us in Britain can quite safely say that 2012 was not a good year for vegetable growing. It was rather disheartening to nurture seedlings and then plants, watch them grow their first shoots and finally produce little or no edible content at all. It wasn't all bad, I had successful potatoes and my apple tree and rhubarb took nicely so that I will hopefully have something from them soon, fingers crossed. but tomatoes were disastrous giving me only about 20 tomatoes from 8 plants, my cucumbers all died before they grew a single one and even my rosemary looks like it lost the will to live.

So onward and upward, 2013 is another year and we can only hope that the weather is a bit better and the vegetables actually grow.

2012 was always going to be a bit hit and miss for me, to be fair. I had only just moved in to this garden when I should have been starting seedlings off and the garden needed tons doing to it before I could get stuff in the ground.
Now I have a raised bed solely for veg growing and plenty of mixed beds that have been inundated with organic matter, manure, soil improver etc. All this will hopefully give my veg a better chance.

So I have been browsing the catalogues that I get regularly. I like Suttons, Mr Fothergills and Parkers and there is no pleasure like browsing the various sections on a cold winters night. It is easy, however, to get swayed by the lovely pictures of veg and to want to grow everything, so this week I got my act together and made a list of what I actually want to grow and eat this year. The is no point at all in growing stuff that you never actually eat, so that gets rid of a certain amount. Also, when space is a premium, I only really want to grow stuff that is pricey to buy in the shops, so I am going for stuff that I enjoy eating but can be expensive to buy. I am sure home grown carrots are delicious, but I haven't got room to grow many and after all a massive bag is less than a pound.

In the end I have whittled my list down to:


Spring onions
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Runner beans


Apples (eventually, may get one or two this year)
Red and black currants

I am going to divide my raised beds into sections - a bit like square foot gardening, but because of the dimensions of the bed the sizes may be slightly different. At the moment in the raised bed are some rather sad looking cabbages, that have been in there for an eternity. By the time other things want planting out I will eat what I can from the cabbages and ditch the rest as a poor job. I will try and get the spring onions, leeks, squash and more broccoli into there, and some cabbage if I can. In pots or growbags I will grow my tomatoes and I have some old windowboxes that will be perfect for the lettuce. I had good success with potatoes in potato bags last year so will try that again and everything else will go where it can.

On top of all of this veg I will plant up all those remnants of seeds I have from last year, I have a whole load that were not quite used up and which I carefully stored. Anything that comes from them will be a bonus, there are things like radish and beetroot among other things.

With the exception of raspberry canes, all the other fruit is already planted from last year so we will see what happens there.

If all of the above grow successfully I will be a happy man, but as half the pleasure is in the eating and the other half is in the growing, I will enjoy myself whatever comes of it all.


  1. Im going to try vertical gardening this year, a friend sent me a link off You tube. You stack plastic drinks bottle full of compost up a fence or pole and cut holes in to grow smaller plants. i think this will keep them out of the mud and I will be able to see the slugs (my main problem). Lets hope we all have a better year this year. Onwards and upwards will be my new mantra!!!

  2. Lovely plans and seed list! Hope for the best in gardening this year!

  3. Remember that all brassicas like really firm soil, once you have a fine tilth walk up and down and shuffle along sideways so that the top is firm and level. All squashes are greedy so dig a hole and fill with composted manure, cover with soil and mound it up then make a shallow bowl type depression and plant into that. water will stay round the roots longer but will not bee deep enough to rot the stem. Potatoes do well on big pots and bags as long as they get lots of water. Happy harvesting.

  4. One concern I have is that with the loss of arctic summer sea ice being linked to colder drier winters and drought ( by the Met office, as the ice-loss continues and perhaps accelerates then this will be a continuing trend. I don't know if this will be the case but if it is then we will need to adapt our growing. I do hope that there will be a greater interest in "growing your own" as people attempt to mitigate the effect of the cuts, something good from the shit.
    Good Luck

  5. Thats quite a list, even tho whittled down! I wish you luck. Now I am older I am sticking to rhubarb, which just does its own thing and lots of herbs, which I use as intended and also among the flowers. Not just old age but last year was the pits as you say and I have given up on veg. We have a chap up the lane who grows his own in abundance and seems to have no problems with the weather so we will add to his pension!

  6. My feelings exactly re the weather last year. I planted and replanted three times in all and every lot was washed out ! I just can't get interested or motivated now to go through it all again, I'm thinking of growing some salad crops indoors in the conservatory though. Vertical gardening sounds a good option, I'll look into that.

  7. Hehe, I looove planning what to grow! I already have my seeds - just waiting for spring! I am growing swede, carrots (because damn it, I REALLY want to be able to grow such a simple thing that never work back home!), swiss chard (sort of like easier spinach), green beans (I was given the seeds for free), tomatoes (cherry and normal-sized), chilli peppers (having a contest with my Dad), ummm.. can't remember what else but it's very exciting!

  8. I agree with you that it's daft to plant stuff just for the sake of growing it. I think we all fall prey to that at one time. Last year--terrible! It's easy to get discouraged. I grow a) what grows well in my garden and b) what we like to eat. We moved into a new house three years ago and one of the first things we planted was a hedge of fruit bushes--gooseberries,blackcurrants, white currants and red currants. I pinched this idea from something I saw in Sweden.We get fruit and they are also nice and spikey to keep unwanted visitors out. I thought passers by might pinch some of the fruit but actually I don't think anybody notices it! If you are going to have a hedge you might as well be able to eat it....

  9. PS Try growing spring onions in a big pot or bucket--shove the whole packet of seeds in and it will keep you going well into the autumn-and they are a bit cleaner than in the garden.

  10. Fully agree, the trick is to combine growing (a) what you like to eat, with (b) what grows well where you are. I always find (b) takes a bit of working out, but it's always fun finding out. As for carrots, I couldn't be without them. I find they are one of the veggies that you really can tell the difference from shop bought, on taste. Obviously space can be a problem - I grow mine in tyre stacks and get the tyres for free from the local garage. Good luck with your growing for 2013!

  11. Last year I was thoroughly disheartened by the weather and the massive invasion of monster slugs that ate everything, even things that 'slugs won't eat them!' Well, they did! As a result my garden is in a terrible state and I can't wait for better weather to get it sorted out.
    I like the idea of tyre stacks . . . might go and cadge a few tyres from the garage. I grew potatoes but when I tipped them out of the bags, they were small and the compost was extremely dry - this year I shall give them far more water than I gave them last year (despite the incessant deluge!) Must get my veggie list sorted.

  12. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)