10 January 2012

the logistics of it all

It's always interesting to plant the same things in the two gardens and observe the different growth patterns between the city and country garden.  The city garden has poorer soil, is drier, being surrounded by paving that radiates the sun and there is more competition from closely spaced plants.  Yet surprisingly, all of that isn't always a negative.

I planted purple sprouting broccoli last winter in both gardens.  In the country garden it shot up, produced lots of leaves, then finally a bit of broccoli, then quickly shot to seed.  In the city garden however, it took much longer to grow, but once it was established it slowly starting producing head after head of broccoli for months.  It basically saw us through winter with delicious and nutritious heads of beautiful purple broccoli.  The only disappointment is that it turns green when you cook it, as most purple vegetables seem to!

It's been really surprising how quickly some things grow in the country garden compared to the city, and it's taken me a while to start to understand the production times there so that I'm prepared with the next batch of seedlings or seed to plant to keep a constant supply going.  

In fact, I think that this ongoing planning is definitely the most difficult part of managing a large garden.  It's really hard to allocate the right amount of space without filling everywhere up at once, to allow for replanting a couple of weeks later to replenish the supply that we will eat.  Dealing with large plants such as cabbages, which take a long time to grow, take up heaps of room and then only produce one item, is really hard to manage.  In some cases the garden has naturally done the work for us:  We planted three types of beans, with two of them producing at the same time, and then one just about ready to pick now that the other two have nearly finished.  This should give us time to plant another crop of beans where the first lot were, and therefore keep us in beans over the whole summer.  

I started a diary when we first planted the country garden of when things were planted and how long they were taking, but I have to admit that the diary has been neglected recently.  But as we go into the next season I think it will be an invaluable tool to help with planning.  I'm determined to get a successful crop of purple sprouting broccoli going in the country garden this year, need to do everything I can to make that happen!

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