I will start by saying that I have four garden beds to plant up and I will be using an intensive planting spacing and intercropping to make the most of the garden. As long as the soil is rich and well watered you can grow things quite close together and they will still thrive. Anything that I can’t fit will grow in pots or be given away.
The way to make the most of your space is to think in 2 directions – horizontal along the soil and vertically up into the air. All the vines will be grown up upon trellis and fast growing plants will be spaced in with the slow-growing (see Intercropping)
I have six kinds of tomato; two that are new to me from Heritage Seed List (HSL) a small yellow tomato called ‘Baby Gazzi’ and a currant tomato called ‘Broad Ripple’. Currant tomatoes are a slightly different species and are close to the original tiny wild tomato before it was domesticated.
The three are from the seeds I collected from last year include ‘Matt’s wild cherry’ (red tomato), a big red (which is either ‘Money Maker’ or ‘Blizzard’) and a yellow cherry (which is either ‘Clou’ or ‘Sungold’) (see Experiments in Tomato).
The last one, I have on the way a seed swap of HSL fruit called ‘Fox Cherry’ a golf ball sized red cherry fruit.
I have three kinds of cucumber and a cucumber ‘cousin’ Achocha (fat baby); the cousin is from the same family as cucumbers (Cucurbitaceae) but a completely different genus (Cyclanthera) I have not grown the Achocha before but it seems to be easier (more cold tolerant) than a cucumber and fruits more easily. It’s reported to taste cross between a cucumber and a green pepper so I will update when I have tasted for myself.
The cucumber ‘La Diva’ F1 hybrid that is supposed to be cold tolerant, ironically it died in the heat wave last year. The other two are new seeds, I bought from Real Seed Catalogue (RSC) and HSL respectively; ‘miniature white’ (grows 2-4″ fruit) and ‘Izjastsnoi’ an Estonian pickling cucumber.
There’s actually not any difference between salad and pickling cucumbers – it’s usually that pickling cucumbers stay crunchy when pickled and salad cucumbers are soft. Pickling cucumbers are usually better when picked small (pickle sized) where salad cucumbers are ok if they are left to grow a little more.
I also bought a melon from RSC called ‘Minnesota Midget’ that grows mini cantaloupe-type fruit (about 3-4″ diameter); it has a very short growing season (65 days to get ripe fruit) and takes a small amount of garden compared with normal melons. I am interested to see if this does better than regular melons that might not grow well due to cold weather. (Have also bought Melon ‘Orange Sherbert’ – not sure how it will go as it has a long growing season)
I have chosen some dwarf or mini vegetables like the melon and cucumber above that are able to grow in smaller spaces. Some grow small fruit or are just small plants; the courgette ‘One Ball F1’ is a small round yellow courgette that grows on a compact plant rather than the regular courgette which often needs up to a meter squared of space. I also have dwarf pea ‘Douce Provence’ that grows a small bush only 2′ high. Brussel sprouts ‘Seven Hills’ is a short Brassica compared to regular so will need less space – it grows normal numbers of sprouts, they are just jammed closer together. A mini pumpkin called ‘jack be little’ that grows tiny pumpkins which can be used for stuffing (or tiny, tiny jack o’lanterns)
I also went for some interesting coloured vegetables such as ‘Carruther’s Purple Podded’ which is a full size pea plant (6′) that grows dark purple pea pods. A celery that is bright pink called ‘Solid Pink’ that keeps its colour even when cooked should be more interesting that the regular green type. (Also bought a white carrot called ‘White Satin’). Also, red cabbage and kohlrabi (which are really purple) ‘Kalibos’ and ‘Bauer Speck’ respectively.
Others of lesser note, broccoli (‘Stromboli’ F1); kale (‘Asparagus’); spinach (‘Virginia’); Swiss chard (‘White Silver’); corn (‘Incredible’ F1); beetroot (‘bolthardy’ ironically bolted last year in heat wave)and golden beets; Parsnip (‘Hollow crown’); carrot and radish (Victoriana year round blend); ‘little gem’ lettuce; Leeks ‘Porbella’;
I will also pop some sunflowers (‘Autumn Beauty’) and sweet pea (‘old spice blend’) in the mix to help attract pollinators. Some herbs to grow such as Thai Basil and regular basil; mint; lemon verbena and rosemary – probably in pots.
I have a couple of packets of seeds on order from Rare Seeds, where I don’t know whether I will have the time or space to sow; they may end up being for next year. ‘Fisher’s Earlist’ corn; ‘Sugar Baby Bush’ watermelon; ‘Winter Luxury Pie’ pumpkin and ‘Amarylla’ tomatillo.
I will try my hand at collecting the seeds from all the fruit that I grow this season so that I can sow them for next years crop. The peas and the tomatoes are the only two that are self-pollinating so the rest of any fruit I collect will have to have been protected from cross-pollination so that I end up with pure seeds.
P.S. I also have a few kinds of potatoes; some Jerusalem artichokes and some chillies (maybe close to too many but I will never admit it)