We are now a couple of months into our learning experience with high density successive vegetable growing. Quite a success so far and perhaps this is a good time to publish an update for those who have been asking questions.

In May we started with the installation of three raised vegetable beds – the wood is 2in thick hemlock planking and the growing medium is equal parts of peat, coir fibre and worm compost. The idea is to divide the growing area into one-foot squares, plant early crops such as salad greens and under-plant with later developing summer crops that will come through and replace the earlier vegetables that, in theory you have by then eaten or which have bolted in hot weather. This has worked almost too well.

Things grew like billy-o. We have enjoyed salads for almost every meal since May other than breakfast it seems and we have found some amazingly tasty varieties – several lettuces, of course, but also two forms of roquette, mustard greens, mizuna, bunching onions and the like. The sole failure, entirely predictable, were radishes which in 50 years of gardening I have yet to master. All top and no bottom.

As well as the salad crops we have discovered tatsoi, an asian substitute for spinach, and two exceptionally tasty varieties of kale. The roquettes and lettuces are now bolting and being supplanted by several varieties of aubergines and peppers while peas and tomatoes scramble up netting screens. There are carrots and bush beans coming along, albeit the dense plantings made the beans get a bit “leggy” when they first germinated though they are firming up now. All highly nutritious and we can barely keep up eating it all. One of the pepper varieties is a chili called Ho Chi Minh that will turn yellow in late summer. Hot peppers are rated for their heat according to the Scoville scale which runs from zero (sweet bell peppers) up to somewhere in the stratosphere – this variety rates 30,000 which is hot enough that it seems doubtful we will actually be brave enough to eat them. Gifts for the unwary perhaps 🙂

Last night there was heavy rain – here are some pictures of the crops in the garden.

One of the raised vegetable gardens a couple of weeks after it was first planted back in May

The three “gardens” after the rain – the yellow flowers are the bolting salad crops that yesterday were removed to be eaten or composted.

Kale, aubergines, peas, peppers

Aubergine just starting to grow

Ho Chi Minh hot peppers – beware

Aubergine flower in front of Jaune flammée tomatoes

Deers tongue lettuce just starting to bolt