Michael Kelly from GIY Ireland shares his tips for the coming month, and points us towards his amazing new cookbook, GROW, COOK, EAT available to buy from the GIY website and good bookstores nationwide.
There’s always a moment in every GIYer’s year when things pivot from a focus on the current year to preparing for the next. It always amazes me how suddenly it happens (and how early – I mean we’re still in peak produce mode from this year’s growing). I was clearing a bed the other day in which I grew squashes, pumpkins, sweetcorn and beans this year – harvesting the last of the produce, getting the dead/dying plants on to the compost heap, and turning over the soil with a fork to clean up the beds.
As I worked, I started to think about what would be growing in the bed next year. In the potting shed I have a notebook in which I plan my crop rotation – that sounds more organized than it really is. My ‘planning’ involves no more than a basic sketch of the veg patch so I can map out a five-year rotation with the patch divided in to five areas, one for each major veg family (based on the easy-to-remember mnemonic ‘People Love Bunches Of Roses’ for Potatoes, Legumes, Brassicas, Onions, Roots). So everything simply moves around for 2015 with the brassicas going where the legumes were this year and so on. It’s a pretty straightforward way to keep the veg patch fertile and reduce the prevalence of pests and disease (the essence of a productive, organic plot).
Anyway, having worked out broadly what’s going to go where next year, I found myself standing in the veg patch imagining what will be in each location, and thinking about the soil requirements and the work to be done on each area over the winter. As you can imagine, I had long since lost sight of the job I was there to do. The focus has moved on again and another year of growing suddenly beckons.
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