You will have to forgive me for taking so long to decide whether to carry on with this blog. It has been eleven months since I posted mainly because I wanted to see if I would have enough to blog about given my reduced circumstances of four small raised beds instead of a much larger plot that I had to give up. So, after much mulling over, cogitating and pondering – I have decided that maybe I could manage a monthly post – to show what I have been growing and its progress – successes and failures both.
Sadly, this growing season seems to have been mainly about failures.
Every living creature seems to have been out to get my crops. I have never actually seen them in action but they have had a good go at ravaging everything and anything edible. I have replanted my brassicas three times now, only for them to disappear – the same with the French beans and the Rainbow Chard – I can’t ever remember a year where the chard has been eaten before – the possible suspects are sparrows and pigeons – but I can’t swear to it because they do it sneakily.
Container grown Rainbow Chard – not a pretty sight.
Perpetual Spinach – not in quite as bad a state as the Chard but not looking very appetising either.
I have also had to sow, re-sow and re-sow again the French beans – slugs and snails are the culprits this time – this is another phenomena that has never occurred before – why this year when it has been much drier – why have they come out of their secret hiding places to attack the beans – it’s a mystery to me. The space allocated to beans has now been given to something else – so the last sowing remain in their pots. French beans are a favourite of mine so it has been a bitter disappointment not to have a crop – may be this last sowing will produce beans before the first frosts – who knows.
Then there are the tomatoes. The worst crop I can remember. The flowers just dropped off before setting. Another disappointment. I only grew five varieties this year Ferline, Cuor di Bue, Gardeners Delight, Sungold and Tigerella. Except for Sungold all the others were grown in the greenhouse and this is where I have had the most problems. Not sure what the problem has been but the crops have been pathetic compared to other years. Sungold is a clear winner once again with much healthier plants full cropping and no disease. Whew.
Sungold grown outdoors – leaves pulled off below the fruits to encourage ripening but left on at the top of the plant.
The carrots which were doing well were all dug up by a badger and eaten – so I don’t even have a picture to show you.
The early brassicas that were planted have all been munched to death by slugs and snails – so I have a final planting of kale, cabbage and purple sprouting broc which I had to buy as plugs, they have been liberally sprinkled with slug pellets and covered with mesh cloches in the hope of keeping them pest free – only time will tell if I will be successful this time.
Sorry that so far it is a catalogue of disasters, if you are new to veg growing, I don’t want it to put you off – but when growing your own food you just have to take the bad with the good I’m afraid.
On the success side there are the runner beans, grown in deep containers and trained over an arch – a plentiful supply has been forthcoming – so much so that I am getting slightly fed up of eating them.
And of course there are the courgettes – thank goodness for courgettes – which have performed beautifully – a constant supply from just two plants.
Sweet peppers and chillies in the greenhouse are slow to ripen but I’m in no hurry.
And lastly Cucumbers – a nice steady supply – better than last year when I didn’t manage to grow any at all.
The early container grown potatoes have all been eaten – Charlotte and Foremost – I grew eight containers, four of each – and they performed well. The only veg that I won’t be able to tell you about are the Parsnips – they germinated successfully and the foliage is abundant – but I won’t be pulling any till later in the autumn, fingers crossed I get nice long fat roots.
So, that has been my veg gardening year so far – it has been a learning curve - I am slowly adapting to less space – when one crop is finished in goes another one – for instance, when the beetroot was pulled I spread fresh compost over the area and re-planted with leeks. Hopefully by next year I will know what is possible and what not to bother with.
‘Til next month – happy veg growing!