At this time of year we start to review what has grown well this year and what we might change next year. Every year has it’s good and bad crops depending mainly on the weather, but there are also individual successes and failures. For instance our leeks which we grew under enviromesh to protect the plants from flea beetle suddenly developed rust. Because of lockdown we were not able to grow our usual rust free variety so the leeks which should have stayed in the ground most of the winter are now gradually being put down in the freezer before the rust takes over.
French beans had a disastrous year. Earlier in the year I was cursing my husband who always grows too many plants as I had visions of standing on street corners trying to give beans away. In the end I was glad that he grew extra as the yield was very poor and the beans, again not our usual variety, were dry and disappointing.
Exceptionally good this year were things like strawberries, butternut squash, potatoes and carrots. We have never picked as many strawberries as we did this year though I’m not sure why. Having eaten as many as we wanted the rest are down in the freezer to add to stewed apples and smoothies this winter. The one butternut squash plant that we grew produced seven full sized squashes. Normally we end up with half a dozen baby ones if we are lucky. They are now on a shelf in the garage and will hopefully keep for a few months.
Potatoes – our usual kestral variety – produced an exceptional crop which will last us well into next year. They are a really tasty slightly waxy variety which I love. Carrots this year have been a revelation. We grew a Thompson and Morgan variety which you buy as seeds already spaced on a tissue paper strip. By not having to thin the plants carrot root fly is less of a problem and we have grown our best carrots ever.
All in all the allotment has served us well this year. It kept us sane during lockdown and as well as being a positive focus it has produced a massive ammount of food which we, and our friends and neighbours have enjoyed.