Gardening Is A Continual Process, I Don’t Believe In Gardening Years, Like Nature We Should Just Move From Season To Season. But That Doesn’t Mean We Should Reflect & Plan for The Following Seasons. Here Are My Garden Plans For 2023.

Having suffered high temperatures and drought it’s time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next one. Here are my thoughts and Veg Garden Plans For 2023.

2022 started well with an abundance of leafy crops in my unheated greenhouse. The main greenhouse is very small, just 8×6. But it still produces huge volumes of crops.

Early in 2022 I was able to pick up another greenhouse and tack it onto the end of my existing house. So now I have a 14×6 greenhouse. Compared to my commercial days this is still extremely small, and I know many gardeners with much more space than me. But this is all I have and I’m going to make it work hard for me. The intention has always been to crop it 365 days a year, and it is not difficult to do so normally.

However, June 2022 saw me take a month in France (the food markets are fascinating) so cropping stopped for that time. But on my return I quickly sowed a wide range of seeds and within a very short time we had the first crops being harvested. Pea shoots were first. They were delicious and very productive, being harvested several times in the first 14-21 days after sowing.

Then came the leafy crops. Again yields were good and we lived on salads for weeks .. perhaps too long as Sharon pointed out to me several times!

I’m now preparing for winter cropping. We have cues cropping from a July sowing and there are plentiful pickings of coriander, fenugreek, plantain, lettuce, wasabi rocket and a lot more. But growth is beginning to slow down. But being in East Devon we should be able to harvest all winter. Here’s a link to last winter’s unheated greenhouse cropping. Over the next weeks we’ll be sowing and planting a lot more to eat over winter, both from outside crops and in greenhouses and covered areas. I want a more sustainable garden.

The 2022 Drought Impact

Drought affected many maize crops this year. this impacts my Veg Garden Plans for 2023

The weather this year was extreme. We had extreme heat and then extreme drought. And of course they impacted one another and made things even worse.

I had planned ahead to an extent and had plenty of rain water harvested and stored. It just about lasted through the summer and though we’ve not had a lot of rain yet, the amount in storage is now increasing, even though I’m still using water in the greenhouse.

As can be seen in the image, local grown maize suffered from drought this year. Especially where soil structure was bad.

But what of next year? One noticeable thing was that, though I watered a lot, my plants in containers still suffered from the drought. The containers are large and in theory can hold plenty of water, but in reality they are durable black plastic and  get very warm in direct sunshine. That means they dry out relatively quickly, and once dry can be very difficult to re-wet.

So I’m not going to be using containers so much next year. I’ll use them early in the season but I’ve now moved them to a new spot and am turning the space they were in into a No Dig bed.

I’m also adding a bit more water storage space and have bought new guttering and downpipes for my house. The old guttering wasn’t coping with the heavy rain we now see and I want to be able to harvest more of the water that falls on my roof. I especially want to be able to harvest more of the small amounts that occur during the summer. This is the only way I can see of refilling depleted storage tanks so they last all though the hottest weather. Getting enough water harvested in winter isnt the issue. It’s topping up the storage during a long hot summer.

Sun Shades For Plants Are Included In My Veg Garden Plans

In all my experience I have never shaded a greenhouse. Sun is vital for growth. In their leaves plants convert sunlight into chemical energy. The chemical energy is in the form of sugars and are used to build plant tissues such as leaves and fruit. As they do this they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. The whole process is vital to life on earth.

I’ve never recommended shading greenhouses simply because, in my experience, it’s never been necessary. Not even in 1976, when we had a very hot dry summer. But this year was different. It was excessively hot, for weeks on end. This year I shaded my cues for the firs time ever.

So next year I’m prepared to lightly shade my greenhouse. And I might shade some beds if it becomes excessively hot. But I will be using minimal shade as those plants depend on sunlight to grow.

More Compost Being Produced

Because I’m expanding my No Dig beds I need to source more green organic material for composting. Plus some browns to balance the carbon / nitrogen levels .. though I don’t lose much sleep over this as all organic material eventually rots to form good compost.

Expanding My Vegetable Range

These hot summers have me thinking about the range of crops grown and my Veg Garden Plans for 2023.  As it gets hotter and dryer some will not cope with the conditions like they used to. So I am experimenting with crops that have traditionally grown in warmer climes. That’s partly why I’ve written so many post about unusual veg that can be grown here.

Becoming More Productive in Gardens & Allotments

The lack of labour on British farms plus the climatic issues around the world is making food security uncertain. So I intend to ensure my beds are more productive than ever and also intend to grow more edimentals in my flower beds. And in one small corner of my garden I’ve already started to convert a flower bed into a veg bed. I want a more sustainable garden.

I’m also working with some local people to investigate the possibilities of a community food forest being established in the area. More on that if it takes off.

Join the Facebook Groups Here

To join the How to Dig For Victory Facebook group follow the link.

And here is the link to UK Garden Flowers, Trees, Shrubs & More

#BiteSizedGardening #Gardening #Vegetables #veg #fruitandveg #allotment #biointensive

Tag: Veg Garden Plans

2 thoughts on “Veg Garden Planning For 2023

  1. Tess Bisson says:

    Another interesting article thanks Stefan. How are you planning on sourcing more green material for compost? Asking neighbours to donate? I’m wondering if any supermarkets might be able to give out of date green produce to this cause e.g. for a community compost heap….

    1. Stefan Drew says:

      Hi Tess
      My neighbours contribute their grass mowings to my garden … it saves them having to put them in expensive green bins and it having to one transported miles to a recycling facility.
      Supermarkets are a good idea though they tend to worry about people going behind the scenes to collect stuff (insurance issues). But greengrocers are far more likely to donate out of date products. And of course there are products like coffee grounds from coffee shops.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.