Yearly Archives: 2007

End Of Year 1

So, that’s the end of 2007 – not the most successful growing year I’ve ever had, largely thanks to a terrible summer when it never seemed to stop raining and failed to get nice and sunny when my crops needed it. I know it’s a pretty typical English stereotype to complain about the weather, but it really did mess things up this year!

Things weren’t all bad though; the first half of the year managed to produce some decent crops (the potatoes were fantastic!) but things like the sweetcorn were an almost total write-off.

Adding things up, this is roughly what we got out of the ground this year:

Potatoes

The big success story of this year really; from a small packet of seed potatoes, we got something like 8kg of very tasty potatoes. They kept fairly well – we don’t eat potatoes at a huge rate so this lot lasted me a month or so and made some very tasty roasties!

Savoy Cabbage

We managed to eat maybe a half dozen of our summer Savoys before a combination of holidays, crappy weather and greedy wildlife brought an end to our fun. The winter Savoys were even more of a disaster, being eaten before they got a chance to grow.

Courgettes

Another mixed bag; something was eating the young plants as quickly as I put them in, so only one plant survived to adulthood – and then something was eating the fruit more often than I was getting to harvest it! That said, we had maybe 10 or so fantastic round yellow courgettes which were delicious, and loved every last bit.

Sweetcorn

As mentioned before, pretty much a disaster. We got a single corn before a short holiday followed by a total absence of the sun for what seemed like months meant that the rest of the crop never really formed up. The squirrels ate well – we didn’t.

Tomatoes

The plants all had a dreadful start (largely because I messed up, didn’t replace the soil in the containers very well and failed miserably to feed them) but once they got up and running they produced a small but steady supply of delicious juicy tomatoes.

And the rest…

The spinach, the carrots and even the lettuce all vanished without a trace; the wet second half of summer generated an incredible slug harvest, unfortunately, which did very well out of all my hard work.

The red onions were productive but (as the were from seed) small in size; at least nothing ate them and we had some nice fresh red onions during Autumn!

Overall then, not a great year. It’s not all doom and gloom though; the potato crop alone more than covered all the costs this year, and we did get to eat some very tasty veg (the courgettes were definitely the stars!). In addition, the ground is much clearer than before (growing crops is an excellent way to reclaim an overgrown garden!) and, well, it kept me entertained.

Next year, with any luck, will be less of a washout!

Bad Timings…

Well, most of the crops are now out of the ground, one way or the other. We managed to eat the majority of the cabbage, but unfortunately the sweetcorn took much longer than I expected to ripen this year – something which I guess is down to the cool, wet summer we had when the sweetcorn just wanted lots of nice sunshine.

The practical upshot of this is that I managed to harvest a single corn (which, by all reports, was delicious) before we went away on holiday to France and, by the time we returned, the corns were fairly well past their best and starting to dry up. So the rest (well, what hasn’t since been enjoyed by our local squirrels) will end up on the compost heap.

The return from France wasn’t a total disaster, however – against all odds there were still some tomatoes hanging on, and even a courgette that had got quite big without being eaten by the wildlife.

This isn’t quite my end of year summing up though; the onions are still in the ground and I’ve even pulled a couple of them up to eat – they’re pretty tasty, and aside from the long growing time I’ve enjoyed that crop. And to think that everyone says you can’t grow onion from seed!

Also still in the ground (I think) is the one surviving carrot from my late sowing experiment. They were mostly gobbled up as seedlings, but my oh-so-cunning approach of not bothering to weed anything has, I suspect, allowed this solo carrot to go un-noticed by the crop-eating birds and rodents that view my garden as their personal larder.

Still, autumn is now very much upon us and it’s getting to that garden clearing and tidying time of the year. Soon I’ll pull the last remaining crops, and then I’ll be able to draw up a final list of everything we got to eat this year – it won’t make very impressive reading, but at least it will give me something nice and easy to beat in 2008!

Tomatoes Are Go!


Well, after previously worrying about the lack of ripening, a few tomatoes are finally coming ready. The picture shows one of each variety we’ve grown this year – the small yellow one is Sun Baby, the largest is Diplom and the other is Shirley.

They all have fantastic (and distinct) flavours; I think my personal favourite is probably the Diplom, although to be honest they’re all very good. We’re not getting nearly the volume of tomatoes that we did last year (probably down to their much harder life this time around) but the few we do get really are excellent.

Around the rest of the garden, the sweetcorn is starting to swell and the ‘early’ cabbages remaining in the ground are still doing well, although they (along with everything else) are beginning to suffer from a real explosion of slugs. That, plus an incredible volume of weeds that have grown up while we were away, is making the whole garden look pretty untidy but hopefully I’ll get some time to sort it out a little over the weekend…

Green Tomato Blues

Our tomato plants this year have been a bit of a disaster. In my defence, I never really wanted to grow them, but having been persuaded we put them into pots on the patio and crossed fingers.

As I’ve mentioned before, they had a terrible start until I started feeding them – something I really didn’t want to do, but the soil I used must have been pretty badly drained of nutrients as they were dying until they got that feed. After that, though, the plants perked up quite a lot and even started producing flowers and, after that, little green tomatoes.

And there’s the trouble. All three plants are now quite well covered in green tomatoes, all of which refuse to ripen. I know I haven’t exactly been growing tomatoes for years but I have never known fruit so reluctant to ripen. I’m sure it’s down to the lack of sunshine, or maybe their bad start, but it’s really getting frustrating – especially as we’re off on holiday next week, at which stage no doubt they’ll ripen and get eaten by passing squirrels before we return!

On the subject of things being eaten, some beastie in our garden has a real taste for courgettes. Although we’ve had a few (very, very tasty) courgettes, more often than not I will spot one almost ready to eat only to find that when I go to harvest it the next day it’s vanished. It’s starting to get a little frustrating because I’ve seen so many flowers and small courgettes, only to never get to eat the damn things.

Honestly, the idea of a greenhouse is starting to look increasingly appealing not because I need the heat but just to keep the squirrels / birds / cats / whatever it is from eating all my crops!