Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Just For The Record




Before autumn’s cobwebs well and truly descend time for a recap of what has been happening or not at the allotment. The weather has been challenging to say the least. The long cold winter meant that it was late in the day before any serious seed sowing began but some benign spring weather kick started everything off quite fortuitously.

I think that I have finally got my head round the art of what distance to leave between various crops when I plant them at the lottie. It has only taken five years! I now know that I can fit five French beans in across the raised beds whilst six shallots will rub along nicely head and shoulders together. Tasks that used to be a matter of serious measuring on the whole can now be accomplished by eye.

The year’s successes? Without a doubt it has to be the strawberries. The plants were given to me as runners by my lottie neighbours in the late summer of 2008. I potted them up in a hurry, before we went on holiday that year and planted them in the ground in late spring of 2009. This year they produced more than enough strawberries for us. Throughout June we dined on strawberries most evenings as well as passing them on to neighbours and friends. I almost got to the stage when I never wanted to look another strawberry in the face again and was almost gleefully pleased to turn my back on what was left of them when we went on holiday in July.

The other satisfying crop was the shallots -bought from Wilkos but annoyingly I  have forgotten to record the variety. From less than half a raised bed we now have over a couple of hundred shallots to enhance winter stews, casseroles and soups. I will save some of the smallest ones to plant in the spring. Other successes this year included courgettes - ‘Romanesco’ fared better than ‘Green Bush’, French beans flourished including the new to me dwarf 'Stanley’ and my tomatoes did so much better than last year’s dismal showing. Note to self ~ grow ‘Czech’s Excellent Yellow’ and ‘Ferline’ again but not’ Japanese Black Trifele’.

In the iffy category - garlic - some absolute monsters but also some diminutive heads - quite puzzling as all planted in the same area and no pattern to their final size.

There were of course disappointments - peas and potatoes did not flourish. I have never grown potatoes in the ground before only in containers. Whether it was the dry spring and early summer that did not agree with them I don’t know but the yield was poor. I will try again next year. The other challenge I set myself this year was to master successional cropping but have to admit failure as far as this objective is concerned. Life has been a bit topsy- turvy since May, so sometimes there has been unplanned physical distance between myself, greenhouse and the allotment. Still there’s always next year. In the meantime I will soon be setting down to some serious reading of the new catalogues, as well as a couple of new books which look as if they might be influential and inspirational when it comes to making my plans for a new season.






8 comments:

  1. That was the year, that was.

    Next year's weather will through up new, err, challenges.

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  2. I'm afraid my disappointments category is quite a bit larger than my successes. I did manage to find one zucchini, but after a freeze or two, so it's a bit...uh, bendy.

    I still haven't discovered the proper spacing in the veggie plot, so I'll just keep stuffing them so close the slugs can keep cozy, I suppose.

    Christine in Alaska, lots of slugs

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  3. Potatoes.

    For me, potatoes only come from the genius that is called 'store'.

    Kudos to you for trying!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Potatoes.

    For me, potatoes only come from the genius that is called 'store'.

    Kudos to you for trying!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm with you on the strawberries, my biggest success this year too. I've decided that next year I'm going to grow my first and second early potatoes in containers which will free up more space at the allotment for the maincrop so that I can grow more to store for winter. The seed catalogues have started arriving here, something to read through at the weekend.

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  6. Dear Anna, I have always thought, and this posting convinces me further, that vegetable and fruit growing on an allotment is extremely hard work. However, the benefit of your own fresh produce is, I agree, a wonderful thing to have. I am sure that it tastes much better and, of course, one knows exactly what has [or more importantly has not] gone into their production.
    Do not dwell on the failures, your successes more than make up for them!

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  7. Biggest disappointment was tomatoes in the greenhouse. I was late sowing seed and it all went down hill from there. Broad beans got black fly while we were on holiday and never recovered. Successes were French beans, Courgettes and Sweetcorn. Every year is different, not helped by our changeable weather!

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  8. It's one of those mysteries - how some plants flourish and others don't when they are living in the same soil.

    Lucy

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.