It has not been a good year for grow-your-own gardeners – rain, rain and more rain disrupted the growing season, and the sunny spells turned up a little too late for most of us. Slugs and snails multiplied, compost went mouldy, and loads of garden pests got out of hand…
Took a bit more work than usual. Drainage needed to be worked on, more plant food was needed after the goodness got washed out of the pots, and lots of seeds needed to be re-sown.
Towards the end of August it started to pick up, and now the garden is producing plenty of tasty food. Some of it’s going into the freezer as we can’t keep up with it, which will be nice to tuck into at intervals throughout the winter.
Here’s what worked really well:
- Summer and autumn cabbage
- Purple Milan turnips
- Tromboncino courgette
- Yellow crookneck squash
- Borlotti beans
- French beans (3rd batch)
- Runner beans
- Curly kale
- Peas and sugarsnaps
- Indoor sweet peppers
- Indoor chillies
I’ve learned a lot about growing sweet peppers this year. They need to be cosseted and kept warm, they need as much light as they can get, and they don’t like being watered in the evening, for starters… I’ll be starting them off earlier next year too, as I hadn’t realised how long a growing season they need, and nipping out the growing points on some of the plants when they reach the 25cm stage to see whether they make more fruit when they grow branched instead of straight. Bit of an experiment.
- Leaf beet (perpetual spinach)
- Tondo courgettes
- Red onion squash (aka ukichi kuri)
- Marketmore cucumbers
- Gartenperle tomatoes
- Most tomatoes (in spite of blight)
- Spring onions
- Greenhouse peppers & chillies
- Broad beans
- Rainbow chard
- Beefsteak tomatoes (Marmande)
I’ve completely given up on broad beans and aubergines – can’t give the little blighters what they need. No garden can grow absolutely everything though, so at least that leaves room to try something new next time around.
Quite a mixed bag over all to be honest, but we did manage to eat pretty well from our ‘harvest’ over the last few weeks. Lots of healthy, fresh, tasty garden grub with enough variety to prevent boredom. We’ve even had enough to give a few spare bits away to friends and neighbours every now and again, which was a bonus.
I took some spare seeds and bulbs along to a gardening swap at the weekend as well, which was brilliant. Got some fresh bird eye chilli seeds and all sorts of other goodies in return, and got to meet some extremely enthusiastic and friendly new people too.
At the moment I’m working on winter plantings, thinking about what to grow in the spring, and learning more about saving seeds and beans. More about all of that in due course!