It’s at this time of year that we review the growing year and decide if we want to make any changes for next year, and we usually do. Firstly we have decided to grow more seed straight into the ground rather than in seed trays. We will grow them in a seed bed rather than in their final positions than plant them out when ready. Growing in trays involves keeping a careful eye on the seedlings as they quickly become too dry or too wet whereas in the ground they are more able to look after themselves.
My husband did an experiment with leeks this year, some sewn in a little row in the ground and some sown in a seed tray. Those sown in the ground were definitely the best leeks. The beetroot we grew this way were also good. It won’t work with every plant as the slugs, rabbits and mice love little shoots but if we choose our crops and use some protection it will make life easier.
The beans have had an amazing year, so much so that we didn’t really use many runners as we had so many French and French are my favourite. We gave the runners to friends and neighbours but we will always grow both as dependent on the weather sometimes the French can be a bit patchy.
The strawberries cropped well, just a pity that they were early this year and we missed the first week or so when we were on holiday. The broad beans were a success and we have lots of courgette and broad bean soup in the freezer for winter (the recipe is in my book Easy Tasty Healthy). The kale which we planted late last year and overwintered under glass grew well in spring and we have picked regularly for months. As well as using it in meals I have juiced some and made lots of kale crisps.
The failures have been few, the most outstanding being the Welsh onions which we bought from a garden centre. Welsh onions are a little like spring onions to eat and are very useful to grow. You plant one onion and within a short time you have a bunch which you can pick. One of these is then placed back in the ground to regrow into a bunch. Well I’m not sure what we bought or what they are. They have stayed as single onions but grown into massive ones?
The landcress which we also bought has not been a real success. I have only had one major picking though I have used a few leaves in salads. I decided to make some soup but it took an age to separate the good leaves from the weeds so this is one crop which may have to go.
All in all a good years which is what you need to inspire you to put in the hard work clearing the patch and preparing for next year.