Posted: 10/11/2012 at 13:47
I've got a big, L-shaped, 80cm deep raised bed I built two years ago in my small back yard, specially to grow vegetables. It has a 2-storey house to the south, and walls all round, so in winter it gets no sun, but in summer is a suntrap, so I also have a wee sit-ootery there - which I haven't used once this year, drattit. I put in loads of daffodil bulbs, deep down so I could grow other things over the top, and strawberries all round the edge; lilies and asparagus against the south-facing wall behind it; and a few Pink Fir Apple and Edsel Blue potatoes tight against the south rim, so they could cascade over the edge. I then planted six bush tomatoes in front of the lilies, and over the top of the daffodils I put onion and shallott setts, and sowed rows of radish, various lettuce, beetroot, spring onion and carrots. I put in a seep hose which I used regularly, fed them all religiously and lovingly, carefully weeded out the lawn of holly seedlings which my neighbour's tree showers on my ground like confetti, and waited.
The daffodils were grand, as were the lilies. The potatoes did well - I just planted them fairly deep and didn't bother earthing them up, and they flourished happily over the wall and gave me young, tasty potatoes in abundance for just me, over about three months - even the 'new' potatoes lasted well if left alone by me and the slugs. The rest was a disaster. Three 5cm carrots snf four radishes; one spike of asparagus - in January, if I remember rightly, I wrote about it here; the garlic and spring onions simply vanished; and everything else went - charged! - to seed. I think out of a kilo of setts I got about five decent onions, and a lovely show of flowers. One strawberry, from two dozen plants. About 20 pea-sized green tomatoes. The compost heap has grown enormously.
This year, the small potatoes I've left in the ground can grow on, among the daffodils and lilies. If they come, they come. I'll fill in the space with chrysanths or something for cut flowers, like the daffies. Vegetables are clearly a waste of time, money and effort.