Column: The Back Lane Veg Patch

PLANNING is an important ritual at this time of year, from seed catalogues to drawing a plan of the vegetable plot.

However, February heralds the first sowings: chillies and onions. Sown in a heated propagator I will care for these indoors until all signs of frost have passed.

There is no point sowing spring and summer seed now, there is not enough light or heat. Chillies and onions though need a long growing season and I can cheat by using a heated propagator to mimic the warming of the soil in spring.

SM999 Summer 2014

This time for me is about planning. I’m planning the new vegetable patch, from what I want to grow to where it will go in the new plot.

I have some graph paper cut to size, each square equalling one foot. My vegetable patch is fifty by eleven and I have cut out various raised bed sizes to move around to see what works best.

This low-tech approach allows me to see how the space will work and ask such questions as: ‘Will I need to fence the whole plot off to keep out rabbits and hens?’, ‘Will I need to plant the strawberries in something more raised?’

Planning like this allows me to see how small or big some beds are and adjust them. How wide paths need to be, anything below two feet wide and I will struggle to kneel or to use a wheelbarrow. This why I love winter, the chance to plan and dream.

The Back Lane Veg Patch is a new garden under construction on the Saddleworth hills. This column focuses on growing food and flowers for use in the kitchen and home.

If you have any questions on growing you can contact Andrew on twitter

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