Gourmet Vegetable Production

There are as many different vegetable plots as there are gardeners and everyone has its place. My default position is clear, I seek good yield or output from lower effort and less space than in  previous decades.

My allotment days are over and although I expected to be time rich and veg plot area poor I can still be a Gourmet Producer of fresh tasty items. I say still, because retirement isn’t a guarantee of more gardening time.

Essentials Of a Gourmet Producer

  1. Grow what you will eat
  2. Do not grow food that is better or cheaper in the shops. Main crop potatoes and onions are generally better and cheaper from retailers.
  3. Grow what is best picked and eaten fresh. Lettuce, mangetout and beans are potential gourmet foods.
  4. Avoid growing gluts, you need only grow for the family table and occasional dinner party – who needs 5 rows of romaine lettuce all ready at the same time.
  5. Grow in succession by planting seeds a few weeks apart so they mature at different times.
  6. Maximise the length of the growing season by growing endive, raddichio and numerous varieties of brassica.
  7. Eat carrots and leaks as micro veg from thinnings with fewer left to maturity.
  8. Sow mixed salad leaves in rows and ‘cut and come again.’ You can do this with autumn sown cabbage too.
  9. Work to a plan to use your time on the plot rather than standing and pondering rather than gardening.
  10. Little and often works better than periodic onslaughts.  Daily visits, even just 30 minutes, lets you feel what is and isn’t working well.

 

Gourmet Maintenance & Time Management

  1. Even gourmet gardeners need to dig and hoe. Remove weeds – you can’t eat them.
  2. Split larger jobs in to manageable slots.
  3. At the beginning of the year use roundup to clear larger areas.
  4. Make compost and use it for mulching and soil improvement. Buy in extra if necessary for autumn.
  5. Buy plug plants when you only need a limited number of a type of plant. Masses of seedlings cost and take time.
  6. Cover plants with cloches and use slug pellets. You are growing for you to eat not feeding  pigeons and slugs.
  7. Water what needs watering eg runner beans and lettuce.
  8. Keep an eye on the weather and adjust your gardening accordingly.
  9. Do not forget to use the greenhouse. Tomato varieties have never been more numerous and tasty.
  10. If you have the conditions and patience then asparagus can be a delight and I wouldn’t be without Rhubarb!


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