Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Now and Then - Slow Progress in the Veg Patch

Because of the bad weather we have been having - cold and constant rain - I checked back on last years' photographs for the same time just to see what a difference the growing conditions have made to my crops.

The biggest surprise was when I checked out my greenhouse tomatoes
This was taken on 29th April 2011 - tomatoes already planted out in the permanent positions.

This  was taken on the 29th April of this year.  The plants are still waiting to be planted out, and are at least a third of the size smaller than last year - even though the seed was sown at exactly the same time.

The potatoes under fleece are through and about a foot high last year - this year they are not even showing yet.

The dwarf french beans had been planted out - this year they are still in pots in the mini-greenhouse

The broad beans were in flower  - this year they are half the size, no flowers yet.

All the containers had been planted up and were thriving - this year I haven't even considered sowing in containers yet.

The brassicas had all been planted out - there were even french marigolds in flower.  This year my brassicas are still under cover for fear of being washed out.  At the back of this bed the peas were over a foot high - this year they are only 3 or 4 inches.

The potatoes in sacks were reaching over the top - this year they are only just pushing through.

The weather was obviously much warmer at the end of April/beginning of May last year as there is considerably more growth on all the veggies and in the flower garden there were plants flowering then which are nowhere near flowering now.   I do realise that every year is different - but when the plants don't seem to be making any progress - I find it very frustrating.

When and if we get any warmer weather - it is going to be a big rush to get those things planted out which have been put on hold.  Meanwhile, I am just going to have to pot everything on into larger pots until the time is right to plant.

I think this is where a polytunnel would come in useful.  How is your veggie growing year progressing?


  1. A bit slow up here too. Sounds like you guys are at about the same stage as we are in Scotland!! Just started to plant some cabbages and sprouts out yesterday, along with a few shop-bought herbs and a few marigolds I have grown. Must blog my progress (?) xx

  2. Here on the Isle of Wight everything is on hold too. I've lots of plants waiting patiently in the greenhouse and the cold frame, and I'm running out of room. I've had to pot everything up, my courgettes have flowered and have tiny courgettes growing! I've never had that happen before they were planted on the allotment. The brassicas don't look at all well. Like you I'm finding it all very frustrating. Yesterday was a beautful spring May Day, but today is back to being overcast and its cool again! I'm sure it will all catch up eventually!

  3. I think it's the same for everyone this year. I'm even finding that some seeds are having a hard time germinating because of the cold weather. We certainly need some sunshine and a rise in temperature.

  4. It is so interesting to see a visual comparison with last year!

    It's slow here too. The only crop which seems to love all this rain is the bright yellow rape I see when I'm driving around.

    This is my first year without a greenhouse, so I will be trying to grow tomatoes outside. I'm not holding my breath!

  5. Things are very slow here Elaine - slower than your plants. We do tend to hold back on our sowings though. No French beans in yet for example.

  6. I'm going to check up on my seedlings when I get back this weekend, but my friends have been looking after them and watering the and they get the impression that they have done very little growing over the last 4 weeks. I'm sure the grass has done plenty of growing though!

  7. We all need a Poly Tunnel, with its own micro-climate.

  8. My greenhouse is packed to the rafters now with plants that I dare not put outside yet. The broad beans in there are coming into flower but the tomatoes are way, way behind in their growth. Outside though the overwintered chard and spinach are doing well as are the shallots and garlic which are actually better than this time last year!

  9. Yes, this year everything is very late, but last year was the opposite due to the warm April. I just looked through last year's photos and our apple tree was covered in blossom on 18th April but still not much so far. Lets hope we have a warm Autumn to make up for it!

  10. I enjoyed your post, really interesting. I sowed seeds later this year than last year (from laziness really) so I haven't a comparison that way. In Northern Ireland I always plant outside from 1st June because we can get frost until the end of May. England seems to be getting quite bad weather conditions this year.

  11. This was a depressing blog :) om the good side....perhaps we will have a real summer as last year we had summer in April then a hiatus then a little more warmth at the end.....high hopes!

  12. Last year I didn't trust the good weather would last and it changed just as I planted out my beans and corn. They died. This year I've been more cautious and have only just sown beans, peas, etc. Possibly a bit late but then the UK weather is so different we have to throw the rule book out.

  13. I've had a fairly similar experience. Wish I had a real greenhouse though.
    Maybe we will find that since the growing season started later it will also go on later into the Autumn. (Wishful thinking here...)

  14. Hi Elaine,

    Your veggie plot is a credit to you. Well organised also very beautiful.
    This Spring has been difficult to say the have done well.

    I am not planting veggies this year....I always struggle, as rabbits are a regular feature in the garden. A hosepipe ban would give me more work than I care to for this year it is just flowers, fruit trees and perhaps some tomatoes....well we have to grow those don't we??

  15. It certainly is slower than last year. Your plants look in really good condition though. Frost is forecast for this coming weekend, if so, your plants maybe better off undercover. Although I got lots planted out early this year the recent flooding here has slowed things right down.

  16. Elaine, I sympathise with you. On the one hand the garden is looking green and lush with plants growing like mad, but without sunshine and these low temps I have zero chance of some of my veg and flower seeds germinating at all! This time last year my runner beans, peas and annuals were showing lots of growth. This year nothing, apart from the stalwart salad and rocket! I really hope the weather begins to improve soon.


  17. It is frustrating. I'm not having a great time with peas so far, for one reason or another. I haven't started sowing beans or squash yet. Fingers crossed for a change in the weather.

    Beautiful plot, Elaine.

  18. Hi Elaine,
    That's such a nice assortment you have ready to go. Look forward to seeing the crop develop. Sorry to hear the weather has been so unseasonably cold and rainy. Wishing you sunshine soon. :-)

  19. Hello there. New reader here. I'm encouraged to see that it is the same all over. It seems like a return to a traditional British April. Hopefully that bodes well?
    Your tomatoes are about 3 times the size of mine. I sowed them in March as it was still only just above freezing in my conservatory. They have been very slow, but are still a lot larger than ones I had in from a seed company. I've only put out onions and garlic so far. Local farmers are not sowing at the moment as it is so cold and wet, with standing water.
    In Lincolnshire (I read) they would take off their trousers and sit upon the earth to make the decision as to whether to sow the barley. I'm certainly not sitting down here!

  20. Your post shos just how useful a blog is for comparing from year to year. I find that planting too early in the north just means veg get a check and tend to bolt. This year i've been much later which given the weather may be a blessing in disguise!

    1. Patience has definitely been a virtue this year very frustrating though.


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