Diary of a Rocket Gardener – Plotting my Veg

potato patch

Hello again everybody! I haven’t been doing my diary for a few months as I decided to give my veg patch a bit of a rest from growing whilst I did some work on it. I’ve been putting in a few more beds, one of which is now growing some spuds (you’ll notice from the picture that I had to consume copious amounts of wine over the winter in order to use the bottles to make the edges of the bed….it was a tough winter) and have cleared a new ‘picnic table and BBQ’ area so that I can enjoy my veg immediately after harvesting it. Now that that’s done and the foxgloves are coming out I’ve decided it’s high time I thought about planting for the summer.

I have a small technical hitch this year in that I’m meant to be off to the south of France for 3 weeks at the end of July (I know, poor me!) That means that my veggies will be somewhat unsupervised and, whilst I have neighbours and family willing to pop by to water/harvest veg from time to time, I’m keen to make sure that everything is fairly self-sufficient.

I have three challenges in this respect. Firstly I’m thinking hard about timings. I’ve decided to grow a lot of things that will be ready a later on in the season, such as squash, chillies and peppers, sweetcorn and broccoli. I’ll also pop in some faster cropping veg like beans, spinach and chard (my theory being that I’ll be able to harvest some before I go, and if my veg-sitters harvest them while I’m away, they’ll still be harvestable when I return in mid August.) In a final attempt to get timings right for my holiday, I’ll be planting them a little later than last year – probably next week. I don’t have any problem with this and actually having seen how quickly things grew last year I’m confident that planting later is going to be fine. If anything it might work in my favour as hopefully all those blasted caterpillar eggs will already have been laid elsewhere in the garden rather than on my brassicas!

Secondly, I’m keen to get some sort of watering system in place, preferably one that doesn’t involve much money, so that my veg-sitters don’t need to stop by too often. Investigations are underway but I’m leaning towards the idea of a water butt and homemade drip hose, and several homemade plastic bottle drip feeders. I’ll keep you posted.

Thirdly, I need to get some pest defences in place so that the caterpillars/slugs/pigeons/flea beetles/aphids/snails/whitefly/rabbits/oh-my-word-this-is-turning-into-a-long-list-so-I’ll-stop-now aren’t such a threat while I’m away. Oh, and I should probably think about weeds as well.

So, there’s a lot to think about, but I’m on the case. I have a sunny evening and a bottle of cold Sauvignon Blanc ahead of me, and I’m armed with the Rocket Gardens catalogue and a notepad and pen. What more could you need for plotting your veg patch?!