Winter Crop in The Patch – 2013.

This was our first shot at planting a cool-weather crop in The Patch.  Last year it wasn’t ready yet, though we had our smaller beds up near the house. This year after waiting for rain so we could rotary hoe , and after rejigging our plan, we were ready for our first Winter crop at scale.

Of course, the plan was changed again.  The drivers for this were threefold:

  • Our pumpkins in bed 1 are still going.  I’d expected them to be done in February, or maybe March at the latest, but here we are in the middle of May and they’re still going strong. More than that, they’re flowering and producing small pumpkins still.
  • We were combining our umbelliferous (carrot and parsnip) and allium (onion and garly) bed, having chenopods on their own, and had a cruciferous vegetable bed. However, I found that an entire bed for chenopods was      probably overkill, while it seemed that every second vegetable I wanted to grow over Winter was a chenopod (brassica).
  • One of the beds, which we barely used over Summer, has some sand and gravel in it.  Rotating along one bed would’ve had carrots in this, which wouldn’t have worked well.

With all of that in mind, we changed the plan:

  • We rotated everything along two beds.  This means that the sandy/gravelly bed is fallow, though we put in a blend of barley/lucerne as green manure.
  • Bed 1 with the pumpkins has been left alone, and will be where we put up a shade/hot-house or a poly-tunnel.  This means we’re incorporating the big bed near the house in our rotation system.
  • I have an entire bed for alliums.  This may end up giving us too many onions, but we’ll see after this season.
  • I combined the chenopods with the carrots.  This still left us space, so I have an overflow portion for brassicas.  This works well with the rotation, as the crucifer bed is 3 beds away, so we’re safe to plant crucifers in this      bed when it rolls around in the rotation.
  • I planted extra legumes in the large bed near the house.  We have an entire bed of legumes down in The Patch, but we have the spare space and I’m quite keen to get a lot of peas and beans frozen this season.

The plan is to plant out every square inch, especially with the staple crops, and see where we end up after Winter. Last year we did well for garlic and onions, but ended up under-estimating how many we’d need by maybe a factor of 2. This year I want to grow as many of everything as we possibly can, just so we have a benchmark for following years.

I’ll renumber the beds now that we’re reclaiming one for the poly-tunnel.  That means we have five in The Patch (1 through 5, left to right), and bed 6 is the large bed up near the house. Some of bed 6 is permanent – strawberries, chillies, asparagus.  We still have a heap of space to work into the rotation though.

Here’s what we planted:

BED 1

Crucifers:

  • Brussel Sprouts – Drum Tight.  Seedlings. 3 rows.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Drum Tight.  Seeds. 1 row.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Evesham.  Seedlings. 1 row.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Evesham.  Seeds. 1 row.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Ruby.  Seedlings. 2 rows.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Ruby.  Seeds. 1 row.
  • Mini Cabbage. Seedlings. 1½ rows.
  • Mini Cabbage. Seeds. ½ row.
  • Mini Cauliflower. Seedlings. 3 rows.
  • Cabbage. Seedlings. 6 rows.
  • Pak Choi. Seeds. 2 rows.
  • Broccoli – Romanesco. Seeds. 2 rows.
  • Wom Bok. Seeds. 2 rows.
  • Cauliflower. Seedlings. 3 rows.
  • Broccoli – Green Dragon. Seedlings. 3 rows.

Total: 32 rows.

The cauliflower and broccoli (green dragon) were store-bought seedlings.  The rest of the seedlings were grown by me in our little hot-house.

I hope that by planting out both seeds and seedlings of some types at the same time, we can end up with a staggered crop.  Some of this we can preserve and/or freeze, but staggering the crop is still a good idea.

BED 2

Alliums:

  • Springs Onions – White Lisbon. 1 row.
  • Leeks – Mammoth. 2 rows.
  • Onions – Evergreen Bunching. 10 rows.
  • Onions – White Globe. 10 rows.
  • Onions – Red Beard. 10 rows.
  • Onions – Californian Red. 3 rows.
  • Onions – Red Marksmen. 2 rows.
  • Onions – Melbourne Market. 1 row.
  • Garlic – Xian (note: cloves were a little dry and may not germinate well). 1 row.
  • Garlic – Dynamite Purple. 3 rows.
  • Garlic – Early Purple. 2 rows.
  • Garlic – Japanese Red. 1 row.
  • Garlic – White. 2 rows.

Total: 48 rows.

These were all seeds.

We potentially have over 1000 onions here, which would obviously be overkill.  I’m really very keen to grow as many as we can in the bed, however, just to see how many we can grow and how many we need to cover us.

BED 3

Legumes:

  • Beans – Borlotti. 1 row.
  • Peas – Dwarf Green Feast. 4 rows.
  • Peas – Dwarf Sugar Snap. 3 rows.
  • Broad Beans – Crimson Flowered. 1 row.
  • Broad Beans – Aquadulce. 2 rows.
  • Peas – Yukomo Giant Snow Peas. 3 rows.
  • Pea – Climbing Snow Peas. 4 rows.
  • Peas – Green Feast. 10 rows.

These were all seeds.

Total: 28 rows.

BED 4

Umbelliferous:

  • Carrots – Chantenay Red Core. 10 rows.
  • Parsnips – Hollow Crown. 2 rows.

These were all seeds.

Chenopods:

  • Beetroot – Monorubra. Seeds. 5 rows.
  • Beetroot – Super King. Seeds. 2 rows.
  • Radish – Black Spanish. Seeds. 1 rows. (not a chenopod, but this is where they are in the bed).
  • Beetroot – Derwent Globe. Seeds. 3 rows.
  • Lettuce – 2 rows with 2 for staggered planting. Seeds.  (not a chenopod, but this is where they are in the bed).
  • Spinach – Baby Leaf. Seeds. 1 row.
  • Spinach – Perpetual Leaf. Seeds. 3 rows.
  • Spinach – Lazio F1. Seeds. 4 rows.
  • Silver Beet. Seeds. 1 row.
  • Silver Beet. Seedlings. 2 rows.

Overflow Crucifers:

  • Kale. Seedlings. 2 rows.
  • Mustard Greens – Miike Green Giant. Seeds. 2 rows.
  • Mustard Greens – Wasabi. Seeds. 2 rows.

BED 5

Fallow.  I bought lucerne as a green manure, and padded it out with some extra barley we had left.

BED 6

Legumes:

  • Broad Beans.
  • Snow Peas.
  • Peas – Green Feast.

This is the large bed up near the house, and I filled it in as best I could around the stuff already there. All of these seeds were our own stock from last year.

We also planted asparagus and horse radish here.  It already had turnips, swedes, and carrots.  This bed also has our strawberries and 9 or 10 chilli plants.

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