Last year I lovingly marked out all my beds with stakes and string only to have the boundaries completely lost beneath weeds when the growing season kicked off. It's almost impossible to tell now where the beds start and finish, the couch grass I dug out last spring is creeping in from the paths, and I don't want to have to mark everything out afresh each year.
So here's the plan:
I never really intended to have raised beds - their purpose is purely for marking out (and hopefully providing a bit of a barrier for pests and weeds). The wood was going free, though we don't have enough for the whole lot and will end up prying pallets apart to finish the job I think. And it's only plywood so we're painting it all with a friendly outdoor paint (the colour looked a lot more subtle in the shop!), though I expect it still won't last a hugely long time. It's also turning out to be a lot more time consuming than I thought - it'll be many weeks before the whole plot looks like this! Still, well worth it I hope.
This done, I finally got round to planting my onions and shallots. They'll go in a bed with carrots (onions keep the carrot fly away), parsnips and leeks too, and I sowed a row of early carrots for good measure.
I haven't had any luck with carrots so far so I took extra care this time, making the soil nice and wet, making a nice little drill, sprinkling the seeds in carefully and covering them with vermiculite for moisture and insulation, and to mark the row so I know exactly where to weed later (last year everything just got lost - I didn't know where to start!). Then I watered them, and at one end all the vermiculite washed into a slightly deeper bit of drill, probably taking most of the seeds with it. Doh!
I have sown a few more things indoors this weekend too, and my garlic into a trough in the garden so it can get started even though I don't have space on the plot yet. I don't hold out much hope for the peppers or (especially) the aubergines - last year they didn't even flower - but this year at least I have some greenhouse space which might keep a couple going long enough to fruit. The celery is not so much for eating, but as a companion plant for the brassicas (apparently it keeps cabbage butterflies off - I have yet to test this theory!).
4 x Pepper 'Yolo Wonder'
4 x Pepper 'California Wonder'
4 x Pepper 'Golden Bell F1'
4 x Aubergine 'Black Beauty'
8 x Celery 'Loretta'
3 bulbs garlic 'Thermidrome'
96 onions 'Sturon'
48 red onions 'Piroska'
18 shallots 'Red Sun'
21" row carrot 'Autumn King Improved'
21" row carrot 'Chantenay Red Cored'
21" row carrot 'Early Nantes 2'
21" row carrot 'Sirena F1'