The Perennial beds (482)

by Max Akroyd

Sometimes the needs of seeds come into conflict with those of the ego. Today I was determined to finish the beetroot bed (no. 24 in the Kitchen Garden, as if you cared!) –  and I did. But this was actually a lesser priority than freshening up some more soil for the onions and shallots sets which need to go in this very month. And then there’s the broad beans – they need the beds designated for February sowings refreshing too…

Never mind that I’ve already got quite extensive sowings of these crops off and running already, you can’t have too many alliums or broad beans in my book. This anxiety about meeting deadlines starts to really heat up in February and can lead you to exclaim, to no one in particular, things like ” Oh ****, I haven’t planted my Jerusalem artichokes!” Not, it has to be said, the action of a fully normal person if you’re in the middle of a supermarket. In France.

Even if I was digging in the wrong place at the wrong time, it was very pleasant work this morning. The wind has more caress about it than cold menace and the spirits of all the local flora and fauna seem restored.


Opening up soil is a process required in the Perennial beds too in the not too distant future. I’ve extolled the virtues of these archaic crops in the past. (In fact, I’m finding more and more that archaic usually = appropriate as far as this project is concerned). Just as the docks are putting up new growth this early in the year, big rooted perennial vegetables like seakale and rhubarb can convert all that stored energy into the earliest food for us. This is my plan to accommodate these star performers:


The Perennial beds, and some beans...


Although I could get runner beans in on a technicality, all those beans are there only to fit my rotation. This was also the ideal spot for their cheerful contribution to summer. The Witloof chicory has all those big rooted attributes I was on about just now so it seems to fit in this part of the scheme.