Sunday 30 December 2012

Plans for 2013

Just like every other gardener I'm sure, I have been using some of my leisure time over the holiday period to consider garden plans for the forthcoming year.

 I know that lots of gardeners (particularly beginners) will have been discouraged by the poor weather conditions in the UK during 2012, which made for a dismal harvest of many vegetables.However, having been gardening for quite a while now, I know that our weather conditions vary a lot from year to year, and I accept that 2013 may be completely different. I also note that some crops did better in 2012 than they usually do, presumably becuase they didn't suffer any water shortages. For instance I normally have to spend several hours a week watering my Runner Beans, which in my dry sandy soil need a drink almost every day in a "normal" Summer. In 2012 I hardly needed to water them at all, and they did brilliantly and produced a huge crop. I won't be in a hurry therefore to change my whole gardening strategy just because of the weather.

However, I have decided on one significant change. I plan to grow a larger quantity of fewer types of veg. In my enthusiasm to cram in as many things as possible, I have ended up with a number of very tiny harvests, which have not been particularly satisfying. This is not to say that I will have little variety in my garden: I will probably end up with 50 different things instead of 75! The following are definitely on my list:-

Runner Beans - Scarlet Empire, Aintree and a new one being offered at a very good price by T&M - Firestorm
Broad Beans - Witkiem Manta, Bunyard's Exhibition and Aquadulce
Climbing French Beans  - Cobra and possibly one or two others
Parsnips - probably Gladiator and Panache again
Beetroot - the old faithful Boltardy
Tomatoes - blight-resistant Ferline, newcomer Orkado, and ever-reliable Maskotka, plus "a few" others - maybe Sungold and Cherokee Purple
Purple Sprouting Broccoli - Rudolph and Red Spear
Summer Broccoli - Tenderstem
Cavolo Nero - Black Magic
Brussels Sprouts - I'll have another try with "Brilliant" now that I have acquired a bit of experience with them
Radicchio - Firestorm and Palla Rossa
Endives - various ones left over from previous years
Lettuces - various (will include my favourite Fristina)
Turnips - Golden Ball and one of the purple-topped ones like Atlantic
Shallot - Longor again since they did pretty well last year
Potatoes - to be grown in tubs, so mostly small "salad" varieties, but alsothe gourment ones Pink Fir Apple and Ratte
Carrots - several of the very small ones, to be grown in containers - e.g. Mignon and Mini Finger
Cucumbers - a couple of the small outdoor varieties - including Iznik which did well last year
Sweet Peppers - including the Garnet ones that Stephen sent me
and of course: Chillis - several types, including Black Prince. Scotch Bonnet and some of those I brought back from Turkey

This list could go on for a long time! And I haven't even mentioned the perennials such as Asparagus, Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries, or the herbs... So you see, there is no danger of Monoculture in Mark's Veg Plot.

Other plans for 2013 include:
  • getting the first crop from my Woodblocx raised bed - it will probably be tomatoes and cucumbers
  • re-potting my two standard Bay trees which have been declining in vigour
  • making a "micro-pond" to provide drinking water for animals, birds and insects
  • finding a permanent home for the little Fig tree that is over-wintering in my garage (possibly a big pot on the patio?)
Things I want to acquire include some more of those excellent Stewart self-watering pots (for more tomatoes), and some bigger pots for the Blueberries. My little plastic greenhouses will probably also require replacement covers, or possibly complete replacement!

One thing about this gardening hobby is that there is always something that needs doing, which is great as long as you enjoy it! So what are you guys planning for 2013???


  1. Micro pond sounds a lot better than my puddle pond.

    I do so agree with you about our weather - one of the advantages of variety tends to be something usually thrives when other things don't.

    Let's face it our weather has always been changeable and is likely to continue being so. No doubt gardening magazines will jump on the bandwagon and where a year ago they were advocating drought tolerant planting this year will be advising us to plant rice and watercress.

  2. I've decided I have too much space in the veggie garden so I'm taking one of my 4'x8' beds (about 1/18th of the garden) and putting it in blueberries. But I've got to pick which plants to put in. I want something fairly productive.

  3. Great hearing what your plans are for 2013! I'm still deciding and will probably keep on deciding all year as new random seeds or seedlings are given to me! I like your strategy though and each year I learn what I benefit most from and prioritise. I grow more of what I know I will eat and enjoy. I still find it hard to believe you can fit all of that into your garden though! I'm really happy I found your blog this year and really looking forward to seeing how you get on next year. I wish you all the very best : )
    Anna B

  4. Blogging definitely helps us to keep track of our gardening year - I shall be experimenting more with container planting this year. Hope you have a successful 2013.

  5. I need a small pond too, some jiggery pokery in the garden I think for 2013. With all the rain I had a fantastic fruit crop. All the best to you & Jane.

  6. I have to get the last of my new raised beds built this year. The garden was very productive with only three of the four beds in production, but I didn't have the variety that four beds will allow. Other than that, I've not yet decided about any of the particular varieties that I'll be growing.

  7. Hey Mark,

    Agree on the growing more of fewer veg - when I kept a tally of the value of the veg I was harvesting it really focused my mind on what to concentrate on.

    I now grow what we eat lots of (e.g. beets, leeks, kale, chard), good freezers (e.g. French beans), good storers (e.g. squash) and expensive to buy stuff (toms, soft fruits).

    I was contemplating some kind of growing criterion or formula to see what makes the grade, but I haven't quite got that anal yet... :)

    1. Hi Jono; maybe you should investigate Joy Larkcom's concept of Value For Space Rating (VSR), which I have written about elsewhere on my blog?


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