I drew up a plan for this year as we were beginning to tidy up last year. I don't stick to these plans rigidly, but it helps to get straight what you need to do. I knew where to add the horse manure and where not to (some things don't like manured ground). In the event we didn't get as much manure as we wanted so this year I'll get it early before the riding school has spread it on the surrounding fields. The plan still looks a good place to start.
I've been going through the list of seeds we need for the new season. It's not just the plant, it's the variety. I think the variety is a very important part of getting the best tasting vegetables, but we are still working out what is best for our soil, the local climate and what we prefer.
Last year we grew White Gem parsnips and I think they were better than the Patriot variety we grew the year before. They tasted a bit better, they grew bigger and there was less rot and canker. Last year we grew two sorts of courgettes, with the Green Bush being by far the best cropper and a wonderful flavour and texture. We have grown Musselburgh leeks now for two years and they are superb, big, crisp, tasty, not woody and resistant to bolting. Sturon white onions were dependable, not too strong-tasting and kept well. The red onions have been a disappointment for two years so we will not grow them. Runner beans have also not passed the taste test. They are easy to grow, but a bit bland, so we will try peas instead. Our own broad beans from saved seeds will be there too. Last year we grew mange-touts for the first time Sugar Bon (snap). They were tasty, but not strong growing so we might try something else for experience.
In addition we will grow early potatoes (Pentland Javelin), broccoli (Early Purple), sweetcorn and peas for the first time. There will be some wall flowers that were surplus to the garden pots and some sweet peas for a bit of colour and we might even plant a few marigolds to divert the pests. There are the fruit bushes and the asparagus too. We have to see what the harvest turns out like this year.