Bed plan (490 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

My main focus at the moment is clearing any un-mulched beds of remaining perennial weeds. There’s a certain time-pressure because all those docks and dandelions need to be out before the tide of annual weeds sweeps in towards the end of next month. I’ve finally managed to complete the ‘carrot bed’ – although, at 35 square metres, it’s so enormous that I’ll probably sow parsnips in there too, along with whichever companion plant I elect to put in there to keep the bugs off…

This activity obviously creates some space for accommodating the seedlings massing in the greenhouse; the numbers of which will grow exponentially in the next few weeks. I confess that, hitherto, I’ve never mastered a universally smooth flow of vegetables from seed to plate. Instead, a bottle-neck usually forms around late-April as the number of seedlings vastly exceeds the prepared space available. Things sit around getting pot-bound and miserable instead of enjoying a swift and efficient transition to open soil. The memory of those wasted plants and resources spurs me to ensure there’s enough bed space ready. By April it’s simply too late.

But I’ve still been working blind. Attempting self-sufficiency means a big spectrum of diverse plants, each with separate needs. My natural tendency to carry information in my head rather than to have a boring plan on paper doesn’t serve me very well in this regard. So, reluctantly, I’ve forced myself to sit down and plan the whole field of crops for the season ahead. As you can see from the example below, it’s not the work a child would be proud of, but I think it might work and that’s all that really matters. (Picture to follow when I can remember how the scanner works! It won’t be worth the wait…)

Update: can’t get the scanner to work at the moment and Emma’s busy! Instead, here’s a picture of the completed carrot bed (on the left) and what will be the celeriac bed (on the right): 


Another day, another bed!