I have three 4×8 raised beds in which to grow as much veg as possible. I haven’t got close to maximising crops in past years, so I want to improve yield this year. Here’s what’s going on in the veg plot so far…

Not yet sown.

Fennel and radishes are the only missing veg, seed packets still in the tub. I have spares of many others for successional sowing, will see if I get around to it… 

Sown, germinating.

Swede – just sown. They are meant to go straight in the ground but the surface of their alloted square is hardly a fine tilth as dictated on the packet – it has been mulched recently so it’s properly lumpy. I’ve sown them in modules, they can stay in the cold frame until they’re germinated and a bit bigger then I’ll plant them out. 

Salad leaves – as per the swede.  I got several varieties to fill gaps and as catch crops. They germinate and grow on pretty fast and you get zillions per packet. I’ve sown them in modules and will pop them I the ground and thin out a bit in one fell swoop, once large enough. 

Spring onion – I sowed these into a 9cm pot, they are coming on strong.  As soon as they are big enough to transplant I’ll move them into their alloted square in the raised bed.  There’s loads, I should get a whole square out of them. They were in the heated bench but I’ve moved them to staging. They look a bit of a mess but they’ll be ok.

Snap peas.  I sowed two per module, they are poking their heads out nicely now. I’ve built the necessary cane support so I can get them in the ground next weekend once they’re hardened off.

Growing on.

Tomatoes ‘bajaja’ are getting to be a good size.  I should be able to plant them out at the end of this month.  

Tomatoes ‘ailsa craig’ and ‘sweet million’.  I potted these on a day or two ago.  They are catching up with the ‘bajaja’ which were sown about a month earlier.  

Chili peppers – ‘razzmatazz’ and ‘prairie fire’. These haven’t put on much growth in the last two weeks, so I’ve given them a bit of a feed with miracle-gro, hope that gives them a boost. Mind you, I don’t need 50-odd chili plants, the few that are growing on well are probably sufficient for my chili needs…

Carrots ‘jeanette’ –  I’ve planted them out into their luxury accommodation.  I had previously sieved an entire 2′ square so it is stone free and I’ve also now mixed in some sharp sand. I still have a fair bit of seed left, I may sow some more if I have spare space.  

Turnips ‘milan’  – I sowed these 3 weeks ago and they germinated within a few days.  I sowed a few to a module, although I think more so than I intended to.  I want to plant them a few to a station to get more produce from the space.  I think I’ll plant them out as they are and just thin out once in place.  I’ll wait a week to plant these out – they are in the cold frame now, hardening off. They’ll also have rooted a bit more by then, making them easier to turn out of the modules. 

Leek ‘musselburgh’. Both batches have grown on a bit (as they do) since the last update, but not so they’re ready to plant out yet. Next weekend, perhaps.  One batch I’ll plant individually in holes, the other I’ll plant in groups by just transerring the contents of the pot to the ground. 

Planted out

Parsnips – these were in modules, but are now hardened off and in the ground for a week or so.  They seem to be doing ok.  

Courgette. Against my better judgement, I’ve planted out all 4 plants. To prevent them from taking over I’m going to train them vertically up some trellis, which is now installed after I scavenged it and the accompanying posts via freegle. Theres a trick to training and pruning courgette plants vertically, apparently. That might be worth a separate post at some point. 

Broad beans – growing well, flowering profusely, plenty of bee action, so I hope this translates into plenty of bean action.  I notice that there is some yellowing of the lower leaves. This could be related to the mulch the bed got which has a high manure content and is also quite limey. I’ll leave them to it for now, hopefully they won’t object too much.  The three surviving overwintered plants are noticeably more robust and advanced in their growth than those grown this spring, so I’m expecting some early beanage. 

Onions – the autumn sets continue to grow on, the bulbs are swelling nicely. Those grown from seedlings are still looking a little weedy to be honest.  

Cabbages, overwintered.  No sign of heads forming, I’m not convinced these are going to amount to anything.  I’m not quite ready to grub them up.  If you think they are hopeless, or indeed worth hanging on for, let me know in the comments.

Carrots – variety unknown, although I do know they are a ‘golf-ball’ variety. I planted these out late 2016, so they are going pretty well now, plenty of top growth.  I did check one plant to see what was going on under the surface – answer, not a fat lot.  A tiny root. This is doing nothing to improve my carroty confidence.  

Climbing beans, borlotti – these went in the ground last weekend, they seem fine. I am trying something new this year for support.  In the past I have just built a wigwam or a-frame arrangement. This year I have made a bean-bridge between two of the raised beds.  It’s a bit of a bodge, but should do the job.  I can walk under it easily, so it doesn’t get in the way, and most importantly the beans take up much less bed space, so I can get more veg in. 

Runner beans – sown last weekend to grow up the same ‘bean bridge’ support as the climbing beans.  No sign of them yet.

Potatoes – earlies and mains.  All in sacks, all out of the greenhouse now. It’s a job to keep up with the growth at this time of year, I don’t seem to be able to earth them up fast enough. I have found that it is not necessary to use compost/soil to earth up the spuds, which is a good job as I don’t have enough to go around. Anything that covers the stems and prevents the light getting in is good. I use grass clippings and newspaper torn into strips. The spuds grow through this no bother, and by the time they’re ready to harvest, the grass and paper have composted down so the contents can be emptied onto beds as a mulch (once spuds are removed…)  

I’ll be back with another veg update in a couple of weeks, by which time I’ll have got my finger out and sown some of the remaining seeds and planted everything else out.