Wednesday, December 5

Tried but could do better

Episode 2 of my end of year summary will concentrate on the fruit and vegetables that although not total failures could have done far better.

The most disappointing I am awarding a grade E for extremely poor.

Some of the poor harvests can be blamed on the weather but for one particular group of plants' poor performance can be laid squarely on the shoulders of the grower and in this case that wasn't us. Martyn posted about our disappointment in last year's bought-in winter brassica plug plants. When we contacted one of the suppliers to express our dissatisfaction, they insisted that the plants were fine and would grow and thrive once in the ground. They didn't which is why in future we will raise our own plants from seed as we have done this year. The plants couldn't be classed as complete failures as we did manage to harvest something from them but nothing like we should have.
For some reason over the last few years we have struggled to grow spring onions successfully. They just take so long to develop into a size worth harvesting. In June they looked like this. They grew so slowly that successional sowing was a waste of time. We eventually harvested a few for salads.
We had a very poor crop of jostaberries this year in fact to be honest I'm not sure why I have let this fruit off being branded as a failure. Maybe a handful of berries were picked.

Moving on there were some crops that fared a little better but would still be classified as D for disappointing. Other than the Hyred onions which failed miserably many of the other onion varieties struggled to produce. The bulbs were smaller than usual and it proved difficult to dry off the ones that did grow, The shallots also seemed to have produced a decent crop but again the bulbs didn't dry off well and the stored shallots are  already beginning to rot.
Another allium was a partial disappointment,  I grew garlic in three ways - directly in the ground, in a tub in the greenhouse and in pots to be transplanted outside in spring. Despite a really good start, the ones grown in pots and transplanted didn't appreciate the move at all but fortunately the other methods worked out just fine. I think they actually grew too quickly as by the time they were planted out they were a bit pot bound. Still we would have had far too much garlic had it all performed well.
Although we managed a fairly reasonable crop of sweetcorn, I have placed them in this category as many of the cobs were only partially pollinated meaning that many kernels didn't develop.
The first lot of peas that we planted didn't manage to grow at all but we did manage a crop from later plantings. Again the peas didn't produce as well as expected. We tended to pick in punnet rather than carrier bag amounts.

The story was the same for the mangetout. We grew Carouby de Maussane again which I must admit did better than last year but, as last year was a complete crop failure, that wasn't difficult to achieve.  We planted up two teepees with one producing better than the other. The peas took so long to germinate that we sowed a second lot. In the end the first lot did germinate but again we were picking just a helping or so at a time.

I should also maybe place some of our lettuces in this category - it tended to depend when the plants were set out as to how well they fared. Some did really well and others didn't.

Plums and gages have to be placed in this category but this poor crop was expected. Last year was a bumper year for both these fruits. Our trees tend to crop biennially - they have a bumper year followed by a richly deserved rest. This year we had what amounted to a handful of fruits but they were delicious.

Another disappointment - I can't believe that I'm writing this  - is our peach. The tree set lots of fruit but in the awful weather most fruit just didn't swell or rotted on the tree. In the end we only harvested one or two smallish fruits. Like the plums and gages the few we got to eat were delicious. Who would have thought that I'd class any sort of harvest from the peach tree as a disappointment? Last year I would have called one fruit a resounding success!
Our final fruity disappointment was the grapevine that has lived in our garden greenhouse for years and has consistently produced a bumper crop. Not  a bumper one this year I'm afraid.

In my next post I hope to redress the balance and show not everything proved to be as much of a wash-out as the weather.


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

10 comments:

  1. I'd be highly delighted if my sweet corn turned out like yours. I've had my first taste of corn from the allotment this year after trying every year since we've had the plot, yet it was still much worse than yours. I suppose what we class as a success depends on our norm. What I did get to taste was delicious though, which will make me continue to strive for better.

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    1. Ours tasted good too but it was just the uneven pollination that was a problem - the ones in the photo are the best but if you look at the top cob on the top photo you can see what I mean. Usually the kernels ripen up to the end almost and are even all the way up.

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  2. Its interesting that you didn't have success with growing the garlic on prior to planting as I was planning on trying it that way next season. My dad grows his on first and really rates the method highly. Perhaps its a variety thing.

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    1. This has worked for me in the past Liz but not last year. It could have been too much of a shock to go from the greenhouse to the awful conditions outdoors this year.

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  3. It's a shame your shallots haven't lasted in storage - they look great though. Were they grown from seed or from sets? I planted onion sets in pots with a school group yesterday. We left it too late to do anything else, and the ground was frozen/snow-covered yesterday so hopefully we can plant them out in the ground come springtime.

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    1. They were sets, Jules. I think it was the storage conditions at fault. They usually store OK in the greenhouse but it's been so damp this year.

      By the way have I mentioned my school website - its here I have a section for example gardens and would love if you could contribute something here

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  4. Will you try starting any garlic in pots again next year Sue, or just stick with the methods that worked?

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    1. I'm just sticking with growing in tubs and directly outdoors. I don't hold out much hope for the directly planted ones as the ground is so soggy but if the ones in tubs grow there will be plenty for us.

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  5. Sue, you have very high standards compared to most amateur gardeners! I wouldn't want my English Lit homework marked by you...

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    1. I guess I've slipped back into my teaching days., Mark. My pupils weren't old enough for English Lit though so I've never marked that subject.

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