Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Errant Veg Grower Returns

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.


Greenhouse tomatoes


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! 


  1. Your chard looks like the snails and slugs have had a field day. Yes, my tomatoes last summer were dismal too. I'm hopeful this year will be better though.

  2. Luckily i have had a good season this year with most of my produce. The only problem i had was with my green house cucumbers, they grew well at first, but then decide to curl up and die. I don't think it was the seed as i grew two types. With the many years growing fruit and veg i have found it does depend on the weather conditions, this year we have had lots of sun and rain which is ideal for me with heavy clay soil ,but not so good for other soils who attract the slugs and snails. It would be lovely to think you would pop over to see my posts on my blog .......xx

  3. Glad to see you back here, Elaine! Sorry to hear about the problems with the wildlife though. I've had a bit of a mixed result this year - potatoes fab, but tomatoes very poor; Broad Beans good, but Runners sparse...etc. I think it is necessary to write honestly about gardening - too many beginners expect perfect results first time (with minimal effort too!)

  4. Welcome back,Elaine. Sorry about your failures,but it's all in a gardener's life. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts again.

  5. I don't like to sound TOO smug, but I've had an amazing veg year (so far). I was talking to a neighbour yesterday who was complaining about his tomato crop; I told him that I NEVER treat my toms with anything (I never have) and he was amazed that I didn't have the same trouble as him. At the beginning of each growing year (April-ish) I put down 'wildlife friendly' slug pellets; if I didn't my plot would look like yours. Are you sure it isn't slugs?

  6. Welcome back Elaine missed you like your self most of my greens have been nibbled and things seem to be going slow look forward to next months post

  7. Good to see you back here Elaine. Snap - the same here with beans. My climbing French beans were severely munched by molluscs when I planted them. Luckily I had a few plants in reserve so they have eventually got there. However the last planting of dwarf beans has already come to grief :( I'm putting it down to the wet winter which I think has led to a population explosion.Tomatoes have not been that brilliant and spuds are small. However the courgettes have been prolific and pumpkins look promising. Maybe next year it will be the other way round which adds to the challenge and fun of growing vegetables.

  8. Good to see you back on this blog Elaine. Oh the trials of being a gardener! We usually grow lots of beetroot but this year not a one.. as soon as the leaves appeared they were eaten! I blame the sparrows as we have loads in our garden. Beans were doing well until the strong winds appeared and now they are looking sorry for themselves. Have had good and bad.. oh well there is always next year :o)

  9. It's good to you doing a post here even though it's more about growing tribulations than successes. It's certainly been a somewhat trying year for us veg growers, although one way or another we probably say that most years.
    Perhaps next year will be a good, all-round one. Flighty xx

  10. Glad you're keeping this blog going as its always great to see how the edibles are getting on. We seem to have similarities with your veg growing this year. Its not been a great year from me and I had to resow 3 and 4 times - as seedling devoured by pests. Last year I had caterpillars eating my chard. This year they're on the beetroot. I netted this year but still got through.

  11. I was just going through my blog list and deleting the ones that aren't active anymore and I see you started writing on this blog again. I'm glad you did. :)
    This year has really been weird but you still have some beautiful vegetables. Peppers look awesome.

  12. I don't know how I missed your comeback

  13. Glad you have decided to keep blogging! It has been such an unusual year in many respects, and one downside has been the number of pests - particularly slugs ! Thank goodness for courgettes, we will never starve when we grow them...


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