Diary of a Rocket Gardener…an evening of planting

Having spent most of last week pondering my plot, this week I’ve started planting. I should have learnt my lesson last year – that planting always takes longer than I expect – but I clearly didn’t and so I spent quite a long time with my baby plants sitting in a container water whilst I faffed around digging and raking the beds, finding bags of compost and so on. If there are any readers out there who haven’t yet planted their veg please learn from my mistake and get the beds prepared beforehand.

Once the beds were finally ready (there were quite a lot of big clumps of earth that I was trying to break down, made harder by the soil being quite dry,) I popped in my beans and squashes. My idea this year is to grow the beans up the rails of the fencing of the veg patch. My only concern is that this will expose them to the outside of the fencing, and make any protruding leaves a little more accessible to bunnies. But we’ll see how it goes – it should look nice if it works. The squashes are planted in front of the beans, and I hope that as they grow they’ll provide good ground cover and keep the weeds down. Both squashes and beans are thirsty plants, so I can easily make sure I give them a good watering each day with them being in the same bed.

Next, my bed of leeks, beets and ‘nips. I have never transplanted parsnips before so it’ll be really interesting to see how they grow. I’ve actually sown a few parsnip seeds alongside my Rocket Gardens parsnip plants just as a tester. I shall report back in a few months time.

The beets went in quickly and then I turned my attention to the leeks and had something of a eureka moment. I have never understood why leeks are planted in such a different way to other veg. All the books and growing guides I’ve read recommend making a hole with a stick or a dibber, popping the leek in the hole, watering it in and then leaving it. I never really got it, but now I think I do. I think (and I could be wrong) that by simply watering the leek into the hole the leek gets pushed down a bit further into the soil and the roots get sent down deeper too. This then gives the leeks more underground space for the whiter (and tastier) bits of their stems to form. The soil draws in a little as you water them in, but not so much as to restrict growth, so I think this is better for them as well.

Finally, I planted my sweetcorn. I’m going to plant more in a couple of weeks time as I really love homegrown corn on the cob, and I want to be able to harvest them for a longer period this year.

I’ve decided to plant brassicas in the next week or so as I want them to be ready to harvest in late summer/early autumn. Leaves will go in next week I think as they grow super quickly anyway so there’s no rush, and I’ll probably do the greenhouse veggies next week too.