Welcome to a year in the life of an Organic Vegetable Garden. Our garden is not big or on a massive plot but it still provides us with Fresh vegetables for our table and it a great benefit to our family. Growing Vegetables needn’t be hard, in fact, it can be fun for all the family. Kids love to grow vegetables and you will be surprised how they want to eat things once they grow them. So if you have a vegetable hater this might be the perfect way to get them into Vegetables. Below is my Yearly growing guide so jump in and start your own vegetable growing experience.
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A year in life of an Organic Vegetable Garden
The Organic Vegetable Garden season starts back in March, as it is with all plants it started with the seeds. Here is the link to my first gardening post so full of optimism and plans. Gardening One seed at a time.
My plot might be little but it is amazing what you can produce in a small space and with basic tools.
MARCH – in an Organic Vegetable Garden
- Prepare your growing beds with Manure and compost
- Plant your seedlings indoors
- Plan your Vegetable garden with a Garden planner
- Dig over the bed after the frosts have passed.
- Chit your potatoes
- Order your vegetable seeds from a reputable source
Hard to believe that these little plants would grow into 5ft monster tomato plants in a few months. I set out with my shovel, a few seeds, and a plan.
The plan changed a few times, I can tell you this was the first draft.
We made seed pot up for the seedlings to get bigger in, all while the weather was a bit too cold to be outside. My kitchen windowsill was turning into a seedling nursery, luckily it is a big window
APRIL – in an Organic Vegetable Garden
- Dig in a layer of compost, well-rotted manure or green waste into your beds to prepare for the growing season.
- Plant your chitted potatoes outside in the ground or in potato grow bags.
- For quick and easy pea supports push some twiggy sticks around your pea plants now.
- Thin your carrot seedlings to achieve good-sized carrots – do this in the evening when fewer carrot flies are around.
- Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Cover prepared the soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for planting.
- Many crops can be direct sown into the ground now including parsnips, cabbages, and radishes
April in our Garden
I grew new plants from scraps with varying degrees of success. Scallions again were the champions and I highly recommend re-growing them. It worked every time I haven’t brought scallions in a long time! Also, the pineapple I planted has new growth and I am very surprised and happy about that.
For Earth Day I shared how to give your tomatoes a great start with organic and recycling methods and it must have worked because we had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year, I still have some in the fridge as I type.
MAY in an Organic Vegetable Garden
- Protect your seedlings again pests.
- Continue succession sowings of hardy vegetables.
- Sow more tender vegetables
- Set out tender vegetables started indoors.
- Sow or set out tender herbs after the last frost.
- Water as necessary.Collect rainwater in a Water butt
May was the start of SLUG WARS, which due to the mild weather, was a long battle.
Some methods worked better than others. Slugs in my garden seem to mock my attempts especially the egg shells.They would glide over them like they didn’t exist.
By the end of May, the vegetable garden was beginning to take shape and things were beginning to be ready I even managed to save a lettuce or two from the evil slugs.
JUNE in an Organic Vegetable Garden
In the greenhouse / indoors
- Sow cucumber and gherkin seeds in individual pots or modules.
- Sow runner beans and french beans either under cover, sowing individually into module trays, or directly outside where they are to grow.
- Start off winter cabbage seeds now as they require a long growing season. Start them off in a greenhouse or cold frame.
Direct sow outdoors
- Sow beetroot thinly, directly into the ground
- Sow fast-growing herbs such as coriander, dill, and parsley directly into the ground or in containers indoors.
- Try direct sowing Lamb’s Lettuce for summer and winter salads
- Sow courgette and squash seeds in pots or directly outside now.
- Think ahead to winter cropping and start kale seeds in pots
- Sow peas directly into the ground or start them off in modules if mice or birds are a problem.
- Sow radishes directly into the soil for quick and easy home-grown salads.
- Salad leaves are one of the fastest and most productive crops you can grow – sow seeds in under glass for transplanting in the garden later. Alternatively sow directly outside and thin out the seedlings. Sow every 3 or 4 weeks for continuous harvesting.
- Direct sow spinach seeds in soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Try growing Spinach ‘Perpetual’ if you have very dry soil.
- Sow spring onion seeds in lines outdoors for a quick crop to add to salads and stir fries.
- Sow swede seeds outdoors in a rich fertile soil for autumn and winter crops.
- Plant out your tomato plants in a warm and sunny location for the best crops.
With the season in full swing, I needed some food for my hungry plants. What better way to feed them than with your own home-grown compost.
I also never knew there were so many Garden Suspicions either but I love learning about old wives tales and folklore.This year even made my own bunting in June to brighten up my raised -beds, it is tucked away safely inside until next year after one of the storms we had recently nearly took it away.
We even learned in June that bunnies can be good for your garden and Bees need a hand occasionally especially as their numbers seem to be declining something we should all be worried about.
And my favourite bit about June? Finally, crops could start to be picked there is nothing nicer than making up a plate of food that you grew yourself. The strawberries were nearly ready, Garlic scapes make great garlic butter and courgette flowers were gorgeous in tempura batter. RECIPE HERE.
JULY in an Organic Garden
- Sow some basil in pots to keep on your patio and to bring indoors for the winter.
- Tie up any plants that need support like peas and runner beans
- Make your last direct sowings of beetroot now so they mature in time for autumn.
- There is still time to direct sow fast-maturing carrots
- Make more sowings of Runner beans if space allows – this will extend your cropping season well into the autumn. Direct sow or start them off in small pots. Expect to start harvesting in late August.
- For something more unusual try growing kohlrabi – direct sow it now and it will be ready in as little as 8 weeks.
- Direct sow lettuce seeds every three weeks to ensure a continuous supply.
- Make your last sowings of peas outdoors now so that they develop before the frosts.
- Perpetual Spinach can be direct sown in for autumn and winter cropping.
- Direct sow salad leaves regularly throughout the summer. Pick the leaves when small and remove any spent plants. Expect to start harvesting in three weeks.
- Spring cabbages should be started in pots.
- Continue to sow spring onions in drills outdoors for a quick crop to add to salads and stir fries.
- Add some colour to your plot by direct sowing Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’. This will over-winter to give a bumper crop in the spring.
We had a proper Summer in Ireland, it is such a rarity that the weather is consistently good over here and it was beautiful. Best of all the veggies loved it and we had bumper crops this year.
The first crop was the strawberries and they didn’t let us down, those gorgeous red berries just kept on coming and what else to make on a warm summer’s day than Strawberry Ice-cream and we also made Healthy Breakfast Smoothies with strawberries and baby leaf spinach from the garden.
AUGUST in an Organic Vegetable Garden
- Water your vegetable plants and fruit plants daily in warm weather.
- Apply an organic fertilizer such as tomato food once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumber, and sweet corn.
- Continue to feed tomato plants with an organic tomato fertilizer. Remove leaves lower down on the plant to help with air circulation and prevent disease.
- Pinch out the top of tomato plants to concentrate the growth into the fruit that has already formed.
- Cut back herbs now to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves that you can harvest before the frost. Dry or freeze your herbs to use in the kitchen later on.
- Pinch out the tips of your runner bean plants once they reach the top of their support. This encourages side-shooting and more beans at a manageable height for picking
- Spring-sown carrots and beetroot will be ready to harvest now although they can be left in the ground to keep growing.
- Continue to harvest second early potatoes now – perfect for salads!
- Start harvesting your main crop potatoes as the leaves yellow and die back. Try storing your potatoes in hessian sacks.
- Lift and dry onions, shallots and garlic once the foliage has flopped over and yellowed. Store them in onion bags to prevent molds developing.
- Harvest French and runner beans little and often to prevent them from setting seed.
- Keep harvesting courgettes before they become too big!
- Established clumps of chives can be divided now.
- Keep an eye out for potato and tomato blight and remove and destroy any affected plants immediately to prevent its spread. Read this ‘How to stop blight’ guide for more information
- Check for cabbage white butterfly eggs under brassica leaves and squash any that you find. Alternatively, use nematodes to kill the caterpillars.
- Clear away any diseased old leaves on and around your veg plants to discourage pests and diseases spreading.
- Keep on top of weeds as they compete with your crops for nutrients and water
- Tidy up strawberry plants and remove any old straw from around the plants to reduce the risk of pests and diseases.
- Cut back the fruited canes of your summer raspberries, leaving the new green canes for next year’s crop. Tie in next year’s raspberry canes to support wires or fencing.
Finally, in August my garlic was ready to pull and by that time I had found out the best time to plant garlic is well now – in fact I planted some the other day between rain showers.
Luckily a garden can learn from their mistakes and that is what I did.If you plan on growing your own garlic the post is here and you can plant them now for next year.
Another thing you can do this week is starting to save seeds. I was saving pepper and tomato seeds as they started to ripen. In my post SAVING SEEDS have a printable seed packet to save your pumpkin seed in and give to friends.
The garden was in full production I was picking every day.
SEPTEMBER in an Organic Vegetable Garden
- Keep harvesting crops. If you have a glut of fruit and veg try freezing, drying, pickling, and storing so that you can benefit from them later. Take a look at my recipes page for ideas on what to make with your produce!
- Spread newly dug potatoes out to dry for a few hours before storing them in in a cool dark place. Store them in paper or hessian sacks as this will allow the crop to breathe while it is in storage. Only store undamaged, disease free tubers – one rotten potato can ruin your whole crop!
- • Help your pumpkins ripen in time for Halloween by removing any leaves shadowing the fruits.
- You can place pumpkins and squashes on a piece of slate or wood to raise them off the wet soil and prevent rotting.
- Keep feeding and watering French and runner beans to make the most of them. Continue harvesting little and often to prevent them setting seed.
- Start the autumn cleanup. Remove any old crops that have finished and clear away weeds to leave your plot clean and tidy for the winter.
- Plant winter seedlings after giving the bed a feed of organic fertiliser.
September in our Garden
September started with storms and the sun, it has been the oddest weather here. My poor garden took a bit of a battering but the weather was so mild that things were still producing long after I thought they would be finished.
Also, the crab apple tree out the front was ready for picking.They look so tasty although they would give you a nasty stomach ache if you ate them raw, crab apple jelly is the only way to go.
We also had a new arrival in the form of a garden digging puppy. She is great if you require a large hole dug or if she could tell the difference between weeds and seedlings. I could put her to use but instead, we looked at ways of Puppy Proofing the Garden.
OCTOBER in an Organic Vegetable Garden
- If you plan to grow beans next year, start preparing the site by digging trenches and filling with manure or kitchen waste.
- Harvest squashes and pumpkins before the first frosts. They will quickly turn mushy if left outside.
- When you harvest your cabbages, leave the root in the ground and make a cut across the stem to encourage a flush of smaller leaves.
- Any plants with green tomatoes or peppers remaining can be hung upside down indoors to ripen
- Protect autumn cauliflower heads from frost by wrapping the outer leaves around them and securing with string. Alternatively, use a cloche or fleece.
- Continue to plant autumn garlic bulbs now for a bumper crop next summer.
- Plant autumn onion sets cropping next summer
October was about cleaning out the old plants before disease kicked in and preparing the garden for winter.
We picked and stored the herbs which had grown so well considering Aldi was throwing them out when I rescued them. It is so great to pull out herbs that taste fresh from the freezer.
The summer season finally ended, we were definitely spoilt this year.
And of course last week I shared how to grow pumpkins for next year, which is where saving those pumpkin seeds comes in handy.
Summary of A year in the life an Organic Vegetable Garden
I have made you an easy Printable guide to a year in the life an Organic Vegetable Garden you can download here
So we this summer grew
- three types of lettuce
- two types of chard
- harvested 42 courgettes
- two types of tomatoes
- sweet peppers
- lots of herbs.
Wow, that is a lot of Vegetables!
I hope that my posts can inspire someone to have a go at growing their own.I am not a gardening expert, I am just a bumbling mum of two with a trowel and I managed to produce some lovely things this year from a very small space. And if you need to find anything gardening related just click here to find all my gardening posts and it will take you where you need to go.
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