The Big Fight: Beetroot vs Pumpkin

IMG_20150115_150922So which would you grow more of? My first batch of seed orders this season has arrived (YIPPEE!!!!) which is so exciting, I want to go and sow them all right now. However, looking at the coooold weather forecast fir the next week, I can’t see even my most optimistic scheduled sowings under cover coming to much any time soon (I’m looking at you, rocket & radish seeds; you’re going in by the end of the month whether you like it or not). However, looking at the enticing crisp clean packets, I’m now wondering whether I should order some more of certain crops. 100g of a variety beetroot seed sounds a lot, but once you’ve drilled it in the ground, it doesn’t go very far (not to mention slugs and the rest that fancy nibbling seedlings). One issue is space of course: although I’m planning on taking on more land this year, there will still be a finite amount of ground available – and I still need to bear in mind my rotation, so can’t for example simply grow 10 x more brassicas than last year and nothing else. So it’s a continuing juggling act, working out which crops to sow more of: which will germinate well; grow well despite hot/cold/wet/dry weather; survive pest attacks best; sell best and fetch a good enough price to cover costs? Ah, the million-farmer question. I’ve got a good idea of the brassica section (salads, kale & PSB), umbellifers (parsnips, carrots, fennel, parsely), and legume & allium (broad beans, leeks, spring onions). Stage 4 of my 5-year rotation is the curcubit & beet patch (followed by undersown green manures); so these crops tend to fight it out as to who gets more space. In the end though, I tend to hedge my bets (as do most growers): so maybe I will just grow more of both, and keep my fingers crossed. If something fails terribly, I can always whack in some extra lettuce modules in its space after all…

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2 thoughts on “The Big Fight: Beetroot vs Pumpkin

  1. Pumpkins never seem like value for the space they take up and even as a small child I’ve never been able to stomach beetroot so you’re asking the wrong man here. I’m going for more beans and leeks this year. And buddleia, because I’d rather watch butterflies than dig.

    1. I know what you mean – if you only get 1 or maybe 2 pumkins per vine, that’s a lot of m2 gone for not much return. Squash tend to fetch a slightly higher price per kg though… or maybe I’ll just do more salad + flowers! Buddleia sounds nice

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