After the final harvest of our savoys last week, I thought I’d take the opportunity this week to review what we actually got around to producing through 2006.
I say “got around to producing” because, as usual, I’d come up with a hugely over-ambitious list of things I intended to grow (on the equally excessive assumption that I would manage to clear a lot more of the garden than I eventually did) so I only ended up growing half the things I had on my list!
Anyway, the ones that actually got into the ground where:
I’ve already talked about these; they were a big success in the sense that they took up a big chunk of space, looked very “agricultural” and certainly kept the weeds at bay.
However, they were also hugely successful in attracting a variety of wildlife that enjoyed my crop far more than me and that, combined with a total failure on my part to manage them, thin them out, or do anything to fight the wildlife meant that the actual volume of food we got out of them was pretty poor.
Still, they looked very pretty, covered with all these little white butterflies!
Something of a staple, these were the first things I planted when I started this a few years ago (indeed, 2006’s crop used up the last seeds from that original seed packet) and always very satisfying. They’re big, bold plants that shoot up good an tall, and reliably produce anything up to 3 corns each.
Ok, so in terms of volume not too great (compounded by the fact that I don’t actually like sweetcorn, so my wife has to eat it all) but very, very satisfying to grow and nicely low-impact too.
The other nice thing about sweetcorn is that there doesn’t seem to be any pest issues; almost every corn I pick has an earwig or two, but it doesn’t seem to affect the plant and they don’t seem to actually eat anything.
I think my total lack of knowledge caused the most problems here. I planted the leek seeds, only for nothing to happen for weeks. I assumed that I’d messed up, and gave them up as a lost cause.
A few weeks later, a few tiny thin stalks were putting in an appearance but to be honest I didn’t pay very close attention. Not too long after that they were somewhat hidden by a combination of out-of-control savoys and looming sweetcorn, so they continued to get quite badly neglected.
Come winter, the sweetcorn was gone, the savoys were being pushed back and I realised there were some very normal looking leeks in the ground, which we duly dug up and ate – delicious!
Because I’d ignored them, and hadn’t read much about them, I didn’t do any of the earthing up that would have blanched more of the stalks but it wasn’t a big problem (and it meant there wasn’t loads of dirt in the layers); one to be remembered for next year though.
Swings and roundabouts, this one. I bought 4 little plants from the garden center and rather foolishly just planted them in the ground and let them get on with it.
What I now know is that I should have pinched out their shoots at some point to discourage them from exploding into huge rambling bushes, which is of course exactly what they did. I’ve only grown tomatoes in containers before, so it’s never been such a problem. Still, it’s something I’ve learned.
The second problem was out of my control – the weather. We had a very hot, dry period right up to the point where the fruits were forming. Then we went through a period with lots and lots of rain, the fruit swelled and all the skins split. We probably lost half the (fairly heavy) crop of tomatoes to that, but we still had plenty to eat through.
In fact, we still have a bag of them in the freezer!
Next week, it will be time to draw up the list of 2007’s crop and hopefully stick to it!