What's In A Bed?: Planting Scheme for 15ft x 18ft Bed

We get told this a lot: I don't have the room to grow. We have even been invited around to see the gardens that simply can't fit any growing in. Our favourite visit was with a couple, no names, no places, no swinging, who took us out doors to their garden which was roughly half an acre of lawn. The husband moaned about having to mow it half the year. We told him to get rid then. The wife complained there was no space to grow anything. We told her to get rid of the husband. The simple truth is anyone can grow and in any space. We didn't start with a quarter of an acre. We started in a tiny front garden, then an allotment and then in community gardens, on projects, and finally here. Much of what we have learnt has been off television, in books and on courses. That's the beauty of gardening, there is always something new to learn and something that goes wrong. So, we're showing you what we are planting in this bed this year. This bed is only roughly 15ft (4.5m) x 18ft (5.5m).

gardening, growing, feed your family for free

We have in this bed, the size of many modern gardens a row of Sarpo Mira potatoes (blight resistant) - and rather than earthing up we're going to use straw to exclude light and save space.We'll show you how to do this in a few weeks. A row of gladioli to bring in pollinators, a clump of campions (lychnis) which you can see in the photo above, an A frame for runner beans (the A frame is only 14 poles, 7 aside and this will give you plenty of beans throughout the summer). A block of Amethyst dwarf beans nestled between the runner beans and the winter cabbage - the beans will be cropped and gone by the time the cabbage is swelling away. Finally, by the path we have Chard Bright Lights - tasty, beautiful and sculptural to look at. We may even cram in some cut and come again lettuce. All this in a relatively small space, we have taste, we have colour and as crops come and go they can be replaced with leeks, with more lettuce. Here comes the yell of: I don't have this much space. A pot by the front door. Three pots by the front door. Here sow lettuce, sow chard, sow beans or peas, you could even have a few spuds in a pot. You don't have to have massive yields. Let's face facts we try to grow for yields at Pig Row but some years just don't play ball and we end up with little in comparison to other years. We have become more and more reliant on fruit through the years blending it in with a cottage garden style. This companion planting has benefited crops and means beans and peas become ornamental in a mixed border, out go the sweet peas, in comes fennel and other herbs, out goes hostas in comes rhubarb (though some hostas are edible as shoots). This means that pests can't find our food some year.


Yet, the act of growing food isn't about just feeding yourself. It's an act of defiance. Even a salad is a start of a rebellion against processed food. The act of working the soil, adding mulches, sowing seed and eating our own has been proven to help mental health. So, be defiant, improve your mental health and reach for something to grow in or on, that windowsill is begging for a tomato plant.


  1. The biggest of my three veg patches is approx 16 x 6 foot and it currently houses climbing peas, garlic, swede, turnip, onions, Charlotte spuds and beetroot plus two empty spaces which may be for some more cabbage and lettuces.I am so excited about this year's harvest as I have grown so much more than last year. We really are aiming to cut down our food shopping bills. I am missing being outside due to this very wet weather we are having just now but at least it is improving the growth of everything.