It's seed annual time!

{This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for 7 weeks... thought I might as well put it up and move on as half of these seeds are now quietly germinating in coir pots in my living room window}

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It's that time of year again when you can momentarily pretend that it isn't freezing cold outside and that spring is juuuuusssssttttt around the corner (even if it is actually months away)... it's seed annual time!

I imagine that every gardener has a favourite vege seed source that they are fiercely loyal to - mine is Diggers. For our cooler climate, I feel that Diggers provide much better seeds with a greater germination rate than their more northern competitors. And so, as my Diggers seed annual arrived last week, it was the only reading material I bothered to open all weekend. I circled and tagged with abandoned, and got stupidly excited and ambitious and placed my order. A big, middle-of-winter, clearly-forgotten-the-parameters-of-time-and-space kind of order. So now I have to figure out how to make it all fit into our 8 raised garden beds and random assortment of pots and discarded vessels in The Coopermarket (our kitchen garden), and/or how many new ground beds I need to construct.

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We work our raised beds on a crop rotation so that we don't deplete any bed too much or develop any diseases in them. So far this has worked really well for us, even though we tend to follow the "rules" of crop rotation quite loosely.

The raised beds will be filled in loose plant groups, one further round the rotation than last year:

1. Brassica/dark leafy greens - this year we are growing silverbeet, spinach, pak choy, broccoli, mini cabbage, radish and even though they are not a favourite food in this house, some brussel sprouts (I am hopeful that homegrown might convince us of their merits?)

2. Legumes - greenfeast, sugar snap and snow peas, and broad beans

3 & 4. Solanum - tomatoes (two full beds and many many individual plants in pots this year)

5. This is our old asparagus bed, and we have some really productive 4 year old crowns in here. We will leave the crowns in until the new ground asparagus bed has had a few years to establish, but we will also plant the other solanum in here - chillis, eggplant and capsicum. I'm not sure how this bed will fare with that combination....

6. Asterace - lettuce, but we will also grow our rocket and mustard in this bed (as I said, we don't have a perfect crop rotation system in The Coopermarket)

7. Allium & root crops - leeks, onions, shallots, beetroot and carrots

8. Cucurbits - cucumber and zucchini

We also have a few ground beds that are just a bunch of bricks backfilled with dirt and enriched annually with compost. We grow all of our berries in these beds - strawberries, blueberries and a long row bed for other berries (raspberries, tayberries, loganberries and thornless blackberries). I constructed another two brick beds last year but never got around to filling them - this year I am hoping to use them as a dedicated herb bed and a corn and pumpkin patch.

Things that I haven't worked out spots for are: rhubarb and chard, which are perennials (or semi-perrenial) so it won't work in the raised beds... perhaps we will build a new ground bed, or we might incorporate it into the gardens around the house; and watermelon, which we are going to attempt to grow for the first time!

There's heaps more room in The Coopermarket to one day add some more beds or other planting solutions, but so far this amount keeps us very busy and well fed all spring and summer.