18th Nov 2016. It’s at this time of year that we tend to look back over the growing season to assess what worked well this year and what we might grow next year.
All in all it has been quite a productive year and I haven’t ordered a veg box all summer – sorry Riverford. Nor have we spent much at the supermarket on vegetables, so we have saved a substantial sum and had excess to give away to friends and family.
Successes that stand out include the lettuce, which have kept us going all year. Successional planting of various varieties has meant that I could pick masses of leaves for our daily salads. It’s been so good to eat fresh just picked leaves knowing that they haven’t been sprayed.
The raspberries have been amazing especially as this was only their second year. I picked a bowl full every other day from mid-August to mid-October. What a treat.
I’ve enjoyed our fresh herbs this year and eventually got my act together and remembered to pick mint and lemon balm regularly from the allotment so that we always had some standing in water in the kitchen ready to make fresh herb tea or to put in salads. Coriander as usual went to seed and may well be something we drop for next year.
Other failures include our first chard which went to seed, probably because we didn’t water sufficient in a dry spell. Our second crop is now producing well and will continue until the cold weather stops it in its tracks. It will make a short comeback in spring before the new plants take its place.
Our first runner beans didn’t set, again probably due to lack of water and we failed with our successional planting of beetroot so had big gaps in the season. The courgettes which were held back by the shade of the sweetcorn made a late recovery and are still cropping.
Life on the allotment is different every year and we learn something new with every season. It’s been good to spend time outdoors, to eat amazingly fresh food and to exercise without too much effort. We are already looking forward to planning our next year.