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Outdoor veg crops: my garden

This year's haul of outdoor vegetable seeds
This year's haul of outdoor vegetable seeds

Putting the garden back on a productive footing

This year, I’m growing a lot more veg than I have in the past couple of years, thanks mainly to building and revamping raised beds on the sunny side of the garden.

I’ve got rid of the dotberries, which were taking up a huge amount of sunny space for very little gain – they are worth it if you have a big garden but not if you haven’t, in my opinion.

Also, the new ‘seating area’ near the exotic bed didn’t get used once last year, so just as well I didn’t finish it! It’s going to be home to a new raised bed and potato bags.

Lasagne layering

The beds by the greenhouse have been cleared of ornamentals, given new bamboo edging, filled with lasagne layering (more on that later).

What I can’t fit in them will be growing in containers, like the potatoes, salad leaves, rocket and the stumpy but fat heritage carrot Oxheart.

While I have more space than most under glass, the opposite is true of sunny outdoor growing areas, my garden is such an odd shape.

What I’m growing and trialling

As usual, anything with TRIAL after it has been given to me by a seed company – everything else has been bought by me.

  • Carrot Oxheart (Heritage stumpy), The Rob Smith Range, Dobies
  • Courgette Tonda Chiara di Toscana (from Tuscany, light green, round, slightly ribbed fruits), Ortovivo
  • Courgette Zephyr F1, (yellow fruit with pale green tip), Chiltern Seeds TRIAL
  • First early potato Charlotte (in bags), Dobies
  • Hardneck spring garlic Edenrose, Dobies
  • Kale Dazzling Blue (blue-green, pink midrib), The Real Seed Catalogue
  • Kale Mixed (Black Magic, Scarlet, Dwarf Green Curled), Dobies
  • Misticanza Salad Leaves Mixed (traditional Italian mix of endive, chicory, lettuce, rocket), Ortovivo
  • Rocket Kennedy, Johnsons
  • Runner bean Flavourstar (white flowering, as they set better in a poor summer), Johnsons
  • Salad Onion Red and White Mix (White Lisbon and Apache), Dobies
  • Squash Summer Mix F1 (scalloped Patty Pan, a mix of Twinkle, Kermit and Polo), National Trust Range, Thompson & Morgan TRIAL
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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