Well, it’s been a strange year for crops – a lot of badly timed dry periods, strong winds and general climatic confusion played havoc with things like our outdoor tomatoes, confused our raspberries (which, despite being autumn varieties, managed to produce a small crop in the summer as well!) and generally stopped me being sure from one moment to the next whether it was a good year or a bad one.
Our courgettes went well, as they always do, with a steady supply of delicious yellow balls. Our sweetcorn, on the other hand, was a total disaster – as soon as the corns had formed up, some creature discovered them and proceeded to eat pretty much every single one before I had a chance to put up some protection. The damage didn’t get any worse once I’d put some fencing around it, so next year with any luck I’ll be able to keep the rotten sods off my crop!
This weekend saw the final harvest of all our potatoes; we had varied success this year, with the differences in varieties more pronounced than I’ve ever known. The Home Guards (the first batch of earlies) were nice, if fairly low yielding – however they suffered from some sort of disease that resulted in half of them having brown lesions well inside the flesh. I’ve struggled to find a definite cause for this, but Google suggests it may have been a nutrient deficiency of some sort. The upshot is that on cooking you end up throwing half the tubers away, which is hardly ideal.
The other early variety, Red Duke of York, got left in the ground much longer and as a result are big, full size potatoes – however, they (along with the maincrops) appear to have escaped the lesions that afflicted the Home Guard. The yield has been a reasonable 6kg or so – not remarkable, but better than it could have been.
Both the main crops – Rooster and Pentland Dell – yielded better (around 10kg each) and are delicious. Interestingly, the yields varied significantly from plant to plant – they were in rows of four, and the outer two plants were consistently better yielding. This suggests that I’ve been planting them too close, so next year I’ll be giving them some more room to breath (more on that later!)
Leeks and broccoli are our remaining crops now, and should see us into the new year.