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Lazy man planning crops for 2016

Discussion in 'The Homestead' started by oldtimer, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. oldtimer

    oldtimer Full Member

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    It's that time of year again. The plots are dug, weeded and ready to go. Salad greens and tomatoes on the kitchen window sill are coming on nicely. But I find it useful to pick brains before I can successfully pick food!

    Last year, I got some excellent advice from British Red about Early Nantes carrots which saw us provided for from June though until last week,so I will be planting those again. This year I am seeking more advice as to the best varieties of easy-care food vegetables to plant this year. Failures last year were sweet corn and parsnips.

    I am thinking runner and french beans, courgettes, mange-touts, potatoes, parsnips, spinach and maybe swiss chard, but I am really seeking suggestions for easy care food varieties suitable for a small garden.

    I'm not really a lazy gardener, but I do go away from my garden for long periods while I am in France. This means I have to be careful about planting, thinning and harvesting times. So I am seeking plants and varieties that can look after themselves to a large extent and which will crop over a long period, and hopefully through the winter.
     
  2. Goatboy

    Goatboy Full Member

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    A plant I used to like as I got two crops from it and didn't need much tending is Strawberry spinach (Chenopodium capitatum). Gives a nice berry for eating, breakfasts, puddings and the leaves can be used as spinach. I also used it in my homemade pesto. LINK

    [​IMG]

    My other mainstays in the garden are Kale (well being a Scot it'd have to be) and tatties and my beloved beetroot.
    [​IMG]Kale basically grows itself and is so frost resistant that it's available all year 'round up here to keep cutting. Very good for you and a mainstay of my soups, salads and mixed through chappit tatties as a Scottish form of colcannon. :)
     
  3. Macaroon

    Macaroon A bemused & bewildered

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    Cavolo Nero, or Tuscan Kale, is a great veg that looks after itself, by and large, and as with other Kales is tasty and very good for you. You can harvest as much or as little as you need and it'll be there ten or eleven months of the year; here's a good little video on growing it and other kales in the UK.

    [video=youtube;ZmSg6ODCbro]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmSg6ODCbro[/video]
     
  4. bigbear

    bigbear Full Member

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    Yup, totally agree about cavolo nero, great stuff. Swiss chard and spinach also excellent in terms of being able to leave then cropwhen you wish. Parsnips, swede, can be left in the ground until you want them, so no effort needed once established. Sweet bell turnips grow fast and give a quick crop.Ditto radish.
     
  5. Richard Francis Burton

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    I'm going to give a massive shout-out to Courgettes, & patty pan Squash. For reliable, productive, easy to maintain.... just let 'em do their being and they give of rakes of crop. You want to get heirloom seeds though, mate... don't get Hybrids or terminator seeds. Then you can harvest your own seed. With no Mutant Veg.

    Check out - The Real Seed Catologue
     
  6. oldtimer

    oldtimer Full Member

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    Great advice! What a lot of expertise there is out there.

    Courgette plants are germinating in the green house, like wise beans and peas. Early Nantes carrots are in as are the parsnips.. Thanks to the thoughts on kale, I've decided to let the plants stay in for a bit: my grandson encouraged me to plant it last year (10 year old likes greens!) but the cabbage whites and pigeons liked it too.

    Despite my misgivings about potatoes, on the grounds that cheap veg is not most efficient use of a small plot, I've put in some Maris Piper to see how they go. My only reason for choosing this variety is that they are named after the research place in Maris Road in Trumpington where I got my first teaching job back in 1969. I hope to harvest early as new potatoes then leave the rest in for late autumn.

    I dug up the plot where I have had spinach for the last three years because it bolted in the summer while I was away- probably a mistake, but I like Goatboy's suggestion and will give it a go if I can find seeds for that variety. Spinach is such good value: salad leaves when young and greens when cooked I always thought Popeye was on to something.

    I'd forgotten about swiss chard. My younger son grows it and recommended it a couple of years ago.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far, any more gratefully received.
     
  7. Macaroon

    Macaroon A bemused & bewildered

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    Regarding your comment on cheap veg. not being the best use of the plot, oldtimer, I always think that the economics of growing your own food is secondary to the concept of healthier and better-tasting food regardless of how cheap it can be bought in. There's no potatoe, at any price, that can hold a candle to those grown well and freshly dug from your own plot. I just don't bother with the dreadful shop bought spuds any more.
     
  8. Richard Francis Burton

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    Instead of growing Potatoes... utilise Oca in it's place. An astounding little Veg, hard as nails, doesn't suffer Blight... Treat 'em like Potatoes when sowing and harvesting.
     
  9. oldtimer

    oldtimer Full Member

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    I agree. I was thinking more about efficient use of limited space. Your sentiments echo those of my grandson who said while we were weeding, "Grandpa, I can't understand why people eat that awful supermarket food when they can grow their own." But then he has two sets of grandparents both of whom are lucky enough to have big enough gardens to have vegetable plots. He is yet to realise that he is privileged and that having space to grow is increasingly rare and should not be taken for granted.
     

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