In previous years, my garden plan has revolved around what I want to grow. There are a lot of unusual plants that grow, or might grow, in our climate, and I enjoy trying them out. With my experimental impulses mainly focused on the Hydroponicum, I have been thinking about what we would like to eat from the garden.

Every year we find new favourites in the garden. We’ve added more mint and an extra Japanese wineberry. The asparagus is maturing, so we should get a bigger harvest this year. We love homegrown sweetcorn (although it’s not always successful), and we wouldn’t be without some sort of summer squash (although they were disappointing last year). In 2019 the Helda climbing beans were excellent. In 2020 we’re hoping to enjoy our first rhubarb harvest, as the plant has clearly settled into its new home in the front garden.

Watermelon Mini Love F1

I was sent a packet of watermelon seeds to trial, and while there’s no way that variety will fit – it grows to 20 feet! – we like watermelon, and the idea of eating one fresh from the garden is enticing. So I did some research and found a more compact variety (Mini Love F1). Ryan is designing some new garden supports that it and the beans can grow up. Now all I need to do is persuade him to find room for a hammock, and the garden will be perfect!

Last year I couldn’t find space for the Chinese sprouting cauliflower we wanted to try, so it’s on the list for this year. And when I went through the seedbox, I found the (botanically unrelated) Aztec broccoli, Huauzontle, and we’re going to try that too.

In 2019 we had two beds of potatoes; for 2020 I am allocating one. I want to try an earlier Sárpo variety – Shona, Una or Kifli – if I can find them. 

Thinking ahead to 2021 harvests, we’re going to want purple sprouting broccoli and leeks, which need to be sown this spring. I’ll plant onion sets in the autumn, as usual.

The vines I planted to climb over the arbour have not been a success. I am planning to remove them and give their space to climbing squashes this year – the serpentine Tromboncino and a delightful mini pumpkin.

Cylindrical beetroot
Cylindrical beetroot

And, if there’s space, a bed of beetroot. Because we like beetroot. I will squeeze in a couple of parsley plants, and grow my sweet peppers in pots.

We seem to be gradually settling into core crops that grow well for us here and make for good eating, but there will always be space to try something new!

This post was produced in collaboration with HammockGiant.