Sensible, moi? Not usually, but this year I'm going to give it a go. This year, I've got A Plan.
In the first year we pretty much chucked in whatever we thought would grow from August onwards. (There was a lot of clearing to do first.) So that year was what we shall call our Salad Days. Year Two was the Year of the Fox ... and the Aphid ... and the Cat. So although we planted plenty, not much was harvested (okay, beetroot, beans, the odd radish, tomato or strawberry.)
But this year it's going to be better! For a start, I'm growing what I want to eat so I spend less at the veg shops. Kale, broad beans, runner beans - these are all out of the window. Nothing wrong with them, they're just not my favourite veg. Broccoli, spinach, cauliflower are all in. I've tried to be realistic about what I can grow in the time available. (Only time will tell on that one!) Even so, the list is surprisingly long:
I've emptied out my basket of seed packets (no, that's not all of them above - if only!), written down the veg I like, chucked out any out of date seeds, offered the unwanted as freebies, resolved to grow salad and herbs on my balcony where I can pick it when needed and, finally, drawn up a plan of where I can try to fit all this in (not yet in colour, although may get round to it soon!):
(The smaller plan is last year's thoughts on where to put the children's raised beds. This year's is in pencil underneath.)
Amazingly, it's the first time I've done this and it's been a very useful process. I've now got a good grip on what needs to be done (scary but realistic). I actually thought about putting the tall stuff (like sweetcorn, french beans and artichokes) at the Northern end of the plot, so any sun we may have can get to the veg that need it. The beds drawn at the bottom of the plan get early morning sun and the plot is in full sun by about 9.30 a.m. in midsummer. By 2 p.m. the shade is gradually taking over, starting with the beds at the bottom. I'm hoping that the taller plants may act as slight buffers for the wind. There's a lot to consider when you're trying to grow between two long 4-storey blocks of flats!
Last night I managed to dig over one bed, move it to a better position so I can plant bug-lovin' flowers behind it and start sowing. Tomorrow, the same for the next bed, also herbs and strawberries will have to be gently relocated. Here's hoping for continued good weather ... if not, I'll be balcony gardening with this lot: