10 vegetables to plant now

by Jane on May 12, 2014

It’s the height of the vegetable-growing season and I am very happy to have my greenhouse back (long story) and in full use.  In the Midlands, I tend to hold back on planting quite a few veg. until now so they don’t go out until after the frosts end at the mid-end of May.  This is what I am sowing in the greenhouse:

1. Courgette ‘Best of British’ – haven’t tried this before, usually have ‘Defender’ or ‘Black Beauty Dark Fog’ but this ‘fruits early and copes well in variable weather’ which is what I need.  Obtainable from Mr Fothergill’s or Thompson and Morgan (T&M).
2. Courgette ‘Rugosa Friulina’ – a yellow warty one, see link – Organic Gardening Catalogue (OGC) says it is ‘one of the tastiest’ and firmer than most varieties when cooked.  It’s a Venetian courgette.

3. Courgette ‘Tromba d’Albenga’ Squash Tromba d'Albenga

This was a wonderfully prolific squash last year, rampaging over neighbouring bushes and vines to produce long curved pale green and apricot squash, nice sliced thinly in stews and risottos.  Doesn’t have to be peeled though flesh again is a bit firmer than most courgettes.  From Franchi Sementi.
4. Parsley ‘Big Mountain’ – a curly parsley that keeps clear of the ground, can be cropped over a long period as it is robust – it withstands winter conditions as well as summer.  I am using rather an old packet – Thompson & Morgan have replaced this with ‘Lisette’ which also has long stems and doesn’t yellow or bolt.  Indoors, it will produce leaves all year round.
5. Lettuce ‘Paris Island Cos’ – one I have found reliable – a ‘Little Gem’ type of lettuce, from OGC.  I’ve already planted some out and am sowing more at intervals – the ideal is every 2-3 weeks until midsummer, when ‘winter-hardy’ lettuces and other salads take over.

Tomatoes – I usually don’t sow these until April in the greenhouse, however to get an earlier crop I have sown them in my heated propagator indoors and now have some plants almost ready to put in the greenhouse bed.  I find planting them inside only helps keep blight at bay.  My favourites till now have been Sungold’  – expensive as it’s a hybrid so you can’t save the seed, but very tasty prolific little yellow tomatoes, and ‘Gardener’s Delight’: also a cherry tomato, but non-hybrid, with prolific sweet red fruits.  This year I am keeping the choice down to two:
6. Tomato ‘Sungella’ – a cross between the stripey ‘Tigerella’ and ‘Sungold’, harvested from a sowing last year (or so!) of Thompson & Morgan seed.  It’s orange and golfball-sized and has a mellow taste.
7. Tomato ‘Golden Sunrise’ – from my Cottage Garden Society seed swap.  T&M and Suttons sell it.  It has an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS.  ‘Medium sized, golden yellow, early maturing, sweet and distinctive fruity flavour’.  This sounds promising – I’ll keep you updated..
8. Climbing French bean ‘Mr Fearns’ – I still have some left – they last a long time – and I like this bean’s taste and abundance!  Its’ a green pod – I’d like to try some purple ones too.  From the CGS seed swap initially – I keep some every year.  This too is a heritage vegetable so you can ‘adopt’ it – see the link above.
9. Runner Bean ‘Lady Di’ – ‘completely stringless and delicious flavour’ with red flowers, with an AGM from the RHS.  From the Organic Gardening Catalogue.
I also may sow some multi-coloured sweetcorn from the seed swap, though I’m not sure where to put it that has enough sun.  I have, however, ventured into the area of biennial vegetables this year, with some 10.Asparagus kale.  This unusual vegetable has two harvests: the first year, you eat the leaves; the second year, you harvest the new stems like asparagus.  I will keep you posted on how it goes!  It likes full sun and is up against my greenhouse among the sweet pea wigwams. Click the ‘Asparagus kale’ link to find out all about it.  You can also adopt this vegetable in order to conserve it via the Heritage Seed Library.

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