Only grow what you’ll eat

bolted-lettuce
My tray of ‘mixed oriental’ salad leaves bolted. My first mistake was planting too many seeds in the tray. My second was not using the leaves quickly as they came up.

I have a feeling it’s going to take me a few growing seasons to figure out what to grow, but also how and when to eat what I grow.

Already I’m looking at the flourishing spinach and chard patch, and the kale that’s taking off under the cold frame, and wondering whether I’ll actually eat most of these crops.

I’ve planted far too much lettuce, and am inundated with ‘cut and come again’ heads which seem to replenish and multiply whenever I turn my back on them.

So much so that I neglected the beautiful mixed oriental leaves (mustards, rockets etc) that were the first to be available for eating, and which bolted and flowered early last month, producing pretty yellow and white flowers.

I’m confident that the tomatoes, carrots, beetroots, broccoli, shallots and garlic will all be gratefully devoured when ready. As well as the coriander and parsley plants which are currently starting to thrive in this rainy but warm May/June weather.

But, as for those hardy leafy greens – I’m not so sure.

If I don’t think we’ll eat them all – I’ll have to ensure I cut them in time to give away to worthier homes.

I’m having a similar experience with some the herbs I’ve planted: oregano, sage, thyme and mint. I’ve barely used them and the latter looks like it’s bolting already.

In the short term I think I’ll dry out some of the herbs for later use.

So, lots of learning already for next season: fewer leafy greens, only herbs I use regularly, and lots more of my favourite veggies, and others I was a little shy about trying this year: courgette, cauliflower and possibly pumpkin or squash.

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