This is the fourth draft of my guide to growing an abundance of vegetables all year round, especially in the so called Hungry Gap. The "jobs for the month" sections have been expanded in this version.
I'd love a bit of feedback on how useful it is, but also on any improvements, corrections or other changes.
If you want to see information on what I personally sowed and planted in each month, along with progress videos, then you can find those in the reference information section of the book.
There are some alternative guides out there that I highly recommend. Charles Dowding has a very useful one that covers a few more varieties than mine, his is distilled from a very humbling (for me) 36 years of experience! The Garden Focused web site allows you to build a bare bones guide completely customised to your needs, which is really fantastic.
- When I say module sow I almost always mean into modules, normally 40 cell trays
- If I say pot sow I mean sow many seeds in a single pot to prick out into, normally 12 cell modules a few weeks later
- When I say plant I mean planting modules into the ground
- When I say direct sow I mean planting seeds in the ground
- I almost always germinate indoors at home or in the polytunnel. If at home ideally in a south facing sunny spot. After germination I quickly move to a cool greenhouse/polytunnel. In summer I normally germinate in a cooler bedroom (it can be too hot on a window sill) and move onto a bench outside, because I don’t have any space in the greenhouse or polytunnel for seedlings
- Light is almost always more important than heat, once plants have germinated!
- This document describes what I do, it’s not intended to be a prescriptive guide for others, although it might be very useful as a start point.
- We grow in the North West of England, on the coast, it’s windy, but not that cold. Our first frosts are in Mid October and our last are in Early May, temperatures rarely get below -5c and in winter we have many days above freezing, it doesn’t snow much.
For more information about what, where and how we grow please read our Frequently Asked Questions document and/or watch the video.
- Observe your plants, keep on the lookout for greenfly, whitefly and other pests. Look for plants doing well or suffering and try to figure out why. Walk around allotment sites and look for anything that's growing well at this time of year, maybe consider growing it too.
- Research things that you observe, try understand what you are seeing and why.
- Experiment with different varieties, different timings, different amendments, keep learning
- Diversify your plantings, don't just plant a single variety in one bed at the same time. It's much more resilient to sow several batches of different varieties and plant in different places, it helps with successional harvests too
- Relax, if you read gardening books they can be over-whelming, listing hundreds of pests and diseases. You could go a little crazy trying to protect against them all and most of it would be unecessary. Instead take basic precautions like a good quality net and try and grow healthy plants with minimum amendments (just 1-2" of compost). Then observe, research and experiment to solve the particular problems that YOU have in your environment.