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Well, definitely things you eat very fresh, probably raw, first of all. In other words, not much sense in doing potatoes (or just a bit for summer new potato pleasure).

You can probably grow different salads all year round. I had an article on this somewhere, I remember trying it for a year and it worked (ie no need to buy salads at all for a year). The drawback was having to have a bunch of different seeds, and the right ones at the right time. Roughly, you can grow different types of lettuce in spring, summer, autumn, then endives (or chicory, I can never get these names right between British, French, and American usage), including the red Italian kinds that heart in January.

A nice catch crop is corn salad, there are autumn varieties and frost-resisting varieties for later in the year. Rocket should be easy to grow in your climate, spring and autumn. Sorrel is a bit acid, but can go into mixed leaf salads (and also be cooked like spinach, accompanies fish well). Red cabbage is good raw, sliced thin, and easy to grow.

Spinach would be good, too, and chards which you've already mentioned. Beetroot you could have over a fairly long season. Spring carrots and onions would be nice, even if you chose to buy in for the rest of the year rather than take up too much space.

It might not be done where you are, but I'd want to sow peas and broad beans late in the year to get them out of the way a bit earlier the following summer. Cabbages, Brussels (Euro)sprouts -- I don't know, they take up space and the growing season is long.

Tomatoes -- we grow "heirloom" varieties and have done some testing of these with our nurserypeople neighbours. Here we get a long season, so we've tended to select and keep (seed from year to year) of long-season varieties. But there are Siberian (!) short-season varieties we've tried, and they're good. I'll have a word with the neighbours and see what they suggest.

One variety I'd definitely recommend is Bloody Butcher -- the fruit is small to medium sized and bright red, very tasty, and it starts early and will go on till the season is over.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 03:40:37 PM EST
My intention this year is to cheat by keeping the greenhouse frost-free and growing winter lettuce and corn salad in there. My chicory got devoured by something, strangely enough - the strong tasting stuff normally gets left alone.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 05:00:31 AM EST
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I joined the Irish Seed Savers Association recently, who do a job preserving and propagating the heirloom varieties of vegetables, which should be better adapted to local conditions than the commercially sold ones - and should certainly be more interesting!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 05:08:50 AM EST
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Looking at the Seed Savers' tomato list, they have mostly Eastern short-season varieties (Siberian, Latvian, etc), so it looks like a good place to shop.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 09:07:47 AM EST
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Now, now, you can't shop there: that would be illegal - not EU approved varieties, all of them. Members are allowed some seeds.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 09:29:39 AM EST
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The EU is a fucking dictatorship. Er, liberate the seeds!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 03:41:00 PM EST
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