Plans for 2014

Last night I had a good rummage through my seed box and made some decisions on what I’m going to grow in 2014. Some veggies have had their chance and for one reason or another they did not make the cut.  I’m afraid courgettes have had their day – we just get sick of the sight of them! In my garden broad beans start well then just give up the ghost and begin to play housemaid to a sqillion black flies so I’m afraid the remaining seeds are now in the compost bin.  So what’s new for 2014?  Well I’m going to try okra. To be honest I’m tempted by the beautiful flowers on the plant so they’re going in the island beds not the veggie plot. They can join the globe artichokes if they make it through the winter.

Okra flower

I’m also thinking of trying sweet potato. Not from seed though I thought I’d try and start a plant from a store bought tuber next spring.  From what I’ve read they’re not too difficult to grow and if we get a long hot summer I may even get a crop.

If I can tackle the rather large nettle patch at the top of the garden I’d also like to get some Good King Henry established.  The light levels should be about right there and it means they don’t have to take up room in the veggie plot.  I’m always on the look out for vegetables that can grow somewhere other than in the full sun of the veggie plot.  That’s how my next newbie made the list – Hamburg parsley.  This grows in semi-shade and you eat the root (I think you can eat the leaves also).  No idea what it tastes like but if I can stick it in the ground in semi-shade and forget about it then I may get to like the taste whatever it is. Finally, I’ve never tried growing sweet corn so I’m going to give it a try.  Because I’ve  heard so much about it I’m going to give the ‘three sisters method’ a go.  If you’re not familiar with this mode of planting you can read about it here.

Aubergine made the list – just.  If I don’t get some decent fruit next year I’m afraid 2014 will be my last attempt.  I’ve ordered ‘Black Beauty’ in the hope of a better crop – germination is easy peasy getting the fruit to anything worth picking is the problem. There’s a complete list of what I plan on growing under the Welcome Menu at the side of the page.




5 thoughts on “Plans for 2014

  1. I’d definitely try aubergine again – we’ve had quite decent ourdoor crops of them (and we live in Central Finland) and bumper crops in the greenhouse. The mini ones (Kaberi, Ophelia, Baby Rosanna) and the standard size Moneymaker and Bonica have been the best ones. The possible problem is that in humid conditions the pollen will not fly; then you must help the process with cottonwool picks or by hand…

    The three sisters is basically OK – but if you have an extensive squash patch (like we do) then you might find it a bit challenging to reach the sweet corn at the proper time. For that reason we haven’t even tried the third sister. i.e. climbing beans – can just see myself trying to pick beans every second day and crushing hopeful squashes all the way…

    Hamburg parsley is quite tasty, very mild – but you need to thin it rigorously or you get only leaves (well, they are tasty, too).


  2. Thanks for the thinning advice on the Hamburg parsley – hopefully I’ll have enough to thin! I was thinking about the three sisters planting to make the most of the limited room I have in the veg plot. A friend gave me a packet of maize seeds and I now feel I really should have a go as I’ve never planted it before – I just don’t fancy a big stand of corn at the front of the house. I thought maybe planting the three together might make it look a bit less like the farmer’s field opposite.
    Aubergines – I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, the seeds germinate and I get really nice little plants, they grow, put on flowers, set fruit which reaches about the size of an egg. Maybe it’s just to dry for them? I grow them outside but we can have long very hot spells and I know they like humid conditions.


  3. They do like warmth but of course you have to water them regularly. And they seem to like fairly rich soil (we use horse manure). Try the mini ones – they should be eaten when they are about egg-sized; usually the fruit is in clusters of three or more so you’ll get enough for a ratatouille from one cluster…

    Squashes and maize go well together (except for the slight problem of maize harvesting) – but our climbing beans climb to the height of 5-6 metres so planting them with maize would not be a very good idea (our beans scale the house wall with ropes as supports up to the upper floor and form a veritable curtain; I have thought of planting morning glory among them to get a more colourful wall)


  4. Do you have a polytunnel or greenhouse at all for your aubergines? We had a fantastic crop of indoor ‘Black Beauty’ this year (we’re further north than you but the summer was long, hot and dry) and a few fruits outdoors with no need to tickle the flowers.
    Be careful where you plant Hamburg parsley – once you’ve got it, you’ll have it for ever!


  5. Wow I like that idea walls of beans and morning glory – great mental image there! I was in Tours (I think) and saw someone growing beans in window boxes on the top floor using string to get then to grow down it looked great.

    The greenhouse, a sad tale…that dreadful storm a few years back…we came back from Spain to find the greenhouse (remains of) up the pine trees at the front of the garden. I’ve not replaced it. I do have some coldframes and thought maybe I could use them to keep them warm – I don’t like watering I think that might be the problem. Unlike other plants veggies seem are so greedy for water.

    I’m going to try the parsley under the trees that just about hide my huge compost heap. Not bothered if it goes crazy especially if I can eat it!

    Off out to barrow more muck -just keep think – free compost…:)


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