Successes and Failures. 13th Sept 2019

It’s been a strange year for growing and as usual never ceases to surprise us with its ups and downs. The weather has been a main contributor to both successes and failures with it’s extremes of hot and cold, wet and dry.

Early in the season we couldn’t understand why the rhubarb was looking so poorly until we realised that it was lacking water after a very dry spring. Once we started to give it what it needed it recovered and produced a good crop. Strawberries were amazing as conditions must have been just right for them and I was putting so many down in the freezer that I didn’t think that I would have room for anything else. The raspberries however made up for the strawberry glut with poor pickings. Again I think they suffered from lack of water at a crucial stage and many of the stems look quite withered though hopefully still alive.

Potatoes did well but mainly I think because my husband covered the seed potatoes with straw and then soil. The straw held in moisture which in turn helped the tubers to swell. Beetroot did well but as usual we didn’t manage our succession planting so had big gaps with non available. The same with radish – a good start then gaps. Must try harder next year!

Courgettes have been poor for most of the summer with a late flurry to try and make up. My husband as usual over planted, but this year I was glad that he had as we rarely had as many as I would have liked. I’ve never known courgettes take so long to grow. Normally you turn your back for a minute and they have become marrows but not this year

The beans have suffered in a similar way to the courgettes. Very little happening then a late flurry. Again we had too many plants and I had visions of trying to distribute produce like last year, when having exhausted all our friends and neighbours I resorted to giving them to strangers in the street on my walk home from the allotment. No such luck. Our meagre pickings have often not even been enough for a serving.

Our first chard was a disaster as it went to seed but we replanted and hopefully will have a crop to carry us through the winter. Onions, leeks and celery have all done well. The onions have been grown on our new part of the plot so we are hoping that they will not suffer from root rot which is a problem in the soil of our old plot.

We gave up with the swede as the butterflies got to it even though it was netted. The caterpillars stripped the leaves and without the greenery the swedes couldn’t develop. They went on the compost heap as did the celeriac which were too small to make use of.

We have been growing vegetables for over 45 years but this year we have learnt more than ever and it never stops being a learning game. We have however saved ourselves a fortune and eaten some amazing organic produce.