Monday, December 3

F for Failures.

Now that December is upon us I figured it was time to take stock. This year has been a challenging year to say the least and I was fully expecting a very poor general harvest but when actually sitting down to think things through I concluded that all things considered things haven’t turned out too badly.

I’ve decided to split my evaluation of our plots performance and to get the worst out of the way I’ve decided to focus first on the failures by which I mean things that haven’t produced any harvest at all. Surprisingly there were fewer than you might imagine. There were the things that gave early promise such as the pear and cherry trees. These were loaded with blossom in April and fruit set - but we were then disappointed as all the fruitlets aborted any attempts to grow and fell from the trees leaving us with not a single fruit, Even the conference pear in the garden which is a reliable cropper let us down.
The kiwi - Issai - which we grow in a pot in the garden was another plant that produced plenty of flower and set fruit but failed to deliver. This happened last year, not only do the fruitlets fall but the leaves shrivel and die too. Later the plant recovers and looks healthy. I think I have diagnosed the problem as red spider mite damage and so next year I'll be taking precautions.
As for the larger kiwis planted on the plot - there weren't even any sign of flowers on them this year. The female usually flowers but unfortunately the male is a late developer. As for the female she was doing well in April and then was hit by frost in May to recover later in June. Just the right timing to prevent any chance of flowers. Maybe this year was the year that the male intended to get his act together too!
We have attempted to grow celeriac and celery several times with no success and so this year we decided to follow all the rules. The seeds were planted and germinated successfully. They produced fairly good plants which seemed to grow reasonably well - no worry about lack of water. The problem was that neither produced anything edible. The celery produced short tough stems (it was a self blanching variety) and the celeriac had hardly anything below soil level.
None of the onions did particularly well but the red onions - Hyred - were a totally failure and most just disappeared to nothing.

Aubergines are another crop that has eluded us and this year was no exception, I seem to remember the odd flower late in the season but that was it.  Peppers are also being classed as a failure - we did manage a couple of small pathetic specimens but I don’t consider that enough to spare them being classified as a failure. By the time the fruits had turned red they were wizened unappetising specimens.
Finally there were the non-starters. We have grown Crown Prince squash successfully for a few years now but not this year. Not a single Crown Prince nor Autumn Crown seed managed to germinated at all. It was the same story with some alpine strawberry seeds. We had intended raising some new plants to replace some plants that were looking tatty and weary. So was the germination problem down to poor compost, poor seed or poor weather to blame? - I guess we will never know. All we can do is try again next year.




Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author by S Garrett

20 comments:

  1. Shame about the failures - looking forward to the next post now though, with your successes. I'm about to try growing celeraic - hope mine does better than yours i have to say.

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    1. If your celeriac thrives, Liz I'll want some tips. Next post isn't exactly successess

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  2. I had the same experience with my cherries too, let's hope they do better next year. I've heard that alpine strawberries are easy to grow from seed, but I've had a couple of attempts in the past with no success. I shall try again and hope to do better.

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    1. Alpine strawberries have been easy to grow from seed every other year, Jo they even self seed and produce babies.

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  3. I think that this year has given many people the same type of failures to the crops you have mentioned. My fruit trees were the same as yours with my Onions well down in size compared to last seasons. I normally keep a record, from plant markers, of the dates/times of seed sowing etc. Looking at your photographs, I will add this idea to my records for failures in future too.

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    1. I think this year fits in to the could do better category, John

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  4. Ditto here on the pear front Sue. I think it was down to the timing of blossom and bad weather - no insects were around in the wet, so your fruitlets start forming but then give up because they weren't actually pollinated/fertilised.
    I've tried growing celeriac for 2 years now but have now consigned it to the 'let's not bother again' list in favour of parsnips which seem to be good for me every year. Roll on the new growing season when we can all start afresh!

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    1. I was really disappointed in the pears Jules - it looked like we were in for a bumper harvest

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  5. Hi Sue.
    My own season has been a game of two halves, as they say. Early stuff didn't do well at all, but late produce is excellent. There were large crops of soft fruit, peas, beans, caulis and sprouts. Swiss Chard is feeding us. Potatoes cropped well but suffered blight due to the high rain totals. Tomatoes in the greenhouse also had blight for the first time. Cucurbits were certainly la failure this year. On the school plot we only harvested 3 from about 15 plants, and the Atlantic Giants on our muck heaps were an almost total failure. Late carrots, leeks and onions have been good.
    Re celeriac, keep on trying. It has taken me some years.to get it right and if you want I'll try to tell you what I do; it doesn't seem a lot.

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    1. Any ideas for celeriac will be gratefully accepted John and I am sure there are others who feel the same way. For many of us it is a Achilles heel

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  6. It has been a bad year for somethings and a good year for other things. I had the same problem with my pear, cherry and early apples, but my sweetcorn was wonderful and it's been terrible for the two years previous.

    I tried for years to get my celeriac to be a decent size and I nearly gave up until I put the seeds in homemade newspaper pots and grew them on in my heated greenhouse, earlier than I would plant them in the ground. When they are a decent size and they have been hardened off, I plant them out ,pot and all. It seems to work for me.

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    1. Thanks for the tip, njgf we don't heat our greenhouse - do they need heat?

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  7. I had the same problems as you with the same crops - I think it is pretty universal this year - let's hope for better next year.

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    1. Things can only get better Elaine - can't they? Oh I do wish I hadn't said/wrote that.

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  8. Everyone seems to have had problems with fruit this year - hopefully next year will be better! And I bet your triumphs list is a lot longer than this one...

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    1. As you will hear in future posts not all fruit did poorly, Janet

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  9. It's interesting everyone has successes and some failures. So many factors play a part. I managed some good celery last year but now thinking this may have been beginners luck as this year it didn't grow well.

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  10. Never yet managed good celery, Kelli.

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  11. I didn't try celery again this year but I did give the celeriac another go..never got anything for my efforts though...but no doubt I will try again next year.

    I did really well with my peppers this year though so i was pleased with that. Fruit trees had no fruit at the end of the season...my fruit bushes however cropped well.

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    1. I guess we'll try celeriac again Tanya after all this year was hardly a fair test.

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