Sunday, July 31

End of July report

So we're at the end of July and on the plot we have had some winners and losers!

To get the bad news over with first. As I've mentioned previously our garlic has been pathetic. It was started off in pots in our cold greenhouse and was full of promise when planted out but from then things went downhill and the result is just a few small bulbs. 

Our pea crop has been disappointing - it is one crop that really has suffered in the dry weather and thrip attacks

We are also preparing ourselves for a disappointment in relation to our carrots;  they just don't appear to be growing at all well. This is a major blow as we usually have a fantastic crop.

Rhubarb too has suffered in the dry conditions - we haven't harvested many sticks this year - we'll have to hope that the roots recover once it gets a good downpour or two.

Then we have the OK but could do better crops. We did manage a crop of cherries but didn't gather as many as last year - such a shame as the cherries are delicious. 

Following on are the making progress but too early to make a final assessment: 
The sweetcorn isn't as far on as it was at this stage last year but the first lot of plants are beginning to flower so it's fingers crossed. 

Runner beans are also flowering well but will they produce lots of beans. Our early planted 

French beans haven't produced much of a crop yet but we do have more plants in the wings ready to plant out.

Potatoes have to go into this category - the tops just don't seem to have grown at all well so we were prepared for nothing to have developed below ground. The first potatoes to be lifted have been a surprise as the crop has equalled in weight what we managed last year although we have gathered fewer potatoes they have been larger. Time will tell whether the other varieties still to dig have been as successful.

Plums and gages are loaded with fruit although the individual fruits seem smaller this year - we have started picking our yellow - Oullins Gage - plums  but I'm saying nothing more until more fruit ripens and is safely gathered in.

Apples and pears look promising at the moment but there is still time for things to go (pardon the pun) pear-shaped!

Tomatoes are beginning to turn red but many flowers still have to set fruit - will they won't they? Then there is always the chance that blight will hit us.

Our new Marshmello strawberry plants which at the moment are giving us a supply of huge juicy fruits. 

Squash are beginning to set fruits but how big will they manage to grow. 

Brassicas are growing well at the moment but we have been here before. Hopefully the cabbages will be fine but the big question is will the sprouts continue to grow this year?

Then we have the successes. I don't really like to count chickens but at the moment it certainly looks as though our star performers will be the onions and shallots - they seem to have revelled in the conditions. The tops are just beginning to go over so now we need to hope nothing comes along to spoil things!

Our faithful old redcurrants have been loaded and now the blackbirds are benefiting from the removal of the netting. We have had what we want and given lots away so it's only fair that the birds should have their share. The blackcurrants that have fruited for the first time this year, alpine strawberries, tayberries, gooseberries, jostaberries and raspberries have provided us with plenty of soft fruit.

Early cabbages are doing well - we have already harvested a few.

Broad beans have also done well with more still to pick

My full July diary is also available here

We went to Clumber Park on Friday and visited their walled garden where it was comforting to note that the professionals are having trouble keeping things growing this year too. Things were far different when we visited in 2009

If you're interested in viewing the video we took at Clumber Park during our visit click here


  1. Some great photos and your photo slides are really super. I was reading about your courgettes, which look fab. My courgettes seem to be rotting at the flower end, never had that before. Your courgette burgers or 'courgette savoury cakes' a few posts back look really delicious.

  2. Sue, the one thing you can be certain of is the fact that nothing is certain in the gardening world! We may do "the same thing" year on year, but the results are always different. There are just too many variables.
    Star performer of 2011 for me so far has been Broad Beans, and the Runners are starting off well too. My spuds have been great, and so has the lettuce. Very bad year for cucurbits, and for peas.

  3. Intriguing - some things the same - and some different. Generally your plants look healthier than mine (and you are growing a wider range). After a dry start summer has seen torrential downpours at interval in Edinburgh. The stars have been broad beans and peas Oregon Sugarpod and petit pois Waverex far exceeded last years results although early sown Kelvdon Wonder dissapointed. Thanks for the Marshmello update. After a great start all my new strawbs died a slushy death helped by the slugs - apart from one everbearer still to produce. The Marshmello would be ideal if they cropped now! (Awaiting delivery).

    Spuds same tale as you. How are your main croppers faring? My last rows are three or four foot high it was the earlies that suffered.

    On tenterhooks about the beans that the slugs didn't get. The pods are just starting to develop.
    Courgettes good but started small and with end rot. Situation improving.

  4. It's certainly been a challenging year for keeping things going in all this dry weather - I've given up on some of my hanging baskets this year as theyve just needed too much water. But like you, so far my onions are coming on okay so I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of us. August could be the onion and courgette month at this rate!

  5. Courgettes usually get blossom end rot due to cool weather meaning the flowers aren't pollinated correctly Kelli. Have you seen many insects on the flowers?

    Our cucurbits so far are doing OK, Mark, but peas have been rubbish.

    Your weather seems to have been very different too, Mal. The only main crop potatoes we grow are early maincrop Nicola and the tops are the same. The best tops are on Nadine and International Kidney. IK can be used as a maincrop though.

    So we are both going to smelling of onions FRG

  6. It's been a strange and diffficult for everyone. I know that you have had a lot of disappointments. But, you are doing much much better then a lot of gardeners here in the states. Great photos and I really like your harvesting list!

  7. It has been a strange one Robin and us gardeners are never satisfied are we?

  8. A mixed bag for me too Sue. Good - mangetout, carrots, parsnips, brassicas, broad and french beans, onions and shallots. OK - spuds, bad - tomatoes, cucumber, sweetcorn, most squash and runner beans (so far). I've managed the watering as most is in the garden so have gotten away with the dry spring luckily. If results were predictable it would take the fun out of it......wouldn't it?

  9. I suppose so Damo. The trouble is we have had a very dry summer to follow on from the dry spring. We almost seem to live in a tiny bit of England that has been a no go area for rain! WE don't usually need to water the garden but have had to this year as for the plot we just haven't been able to water enough to combat the lack of rain.

  10. You had a good crop of gooseberries this year didn't you Sue. Although your carrots seems not doing much above the soil, may be it is growing big roots for you. So I hope they grow big like the unexpected surprise from your spuds.

  11. It would be good to think so, Diana but so far the ones we have dug have very small roots!

  12. Sue, you have no idea how reassuring it is to read that even experienced plotters like you have some failures. I am sorry to hear about your carrots. Mine have been rubbish so far, but I was putting some of this down to old seed. We had the same problems as you with potatoes. Your fruit looks wonderful, something I really would like to have the space for. Lots of it. Really interesting reading.

  13. I guess anyone who says nothing fails in the garden or on the plot isn't really telling the whole truth - every year we have had winners and losers. It's one reason we like to grow a mixture of varieties.

  14. I'm curious what the difference between a plum and a gage is. I think Americans just call everything a plum.

  15. Well Lisa or Robb I'll give you my version of the difference. To make matters more complicated our Oullins Gage tree is really a plum!

    We have plums which are oval(sort of egg shaped)and ripen to yellow, reddish or a purple plum colour. The fruits usually grow larger than a gage (although this year they are quite small.

    Then gage or greengage to give it it's full name. The fruits are rounder (more spherical - ball shaped). These ripen to green or a yellowish green. NO doubt someone will have a different explanation but that is mine!

  16. I was impressed with my garlic this year but had no peas at all.....I am very envious of your cabbages...mine just never seem to heart up very well....I have a lack of brassicas this year...mainly due to running out of time and I am wondering if it's now too late to sow some to put out ready for spring??

  17. IT may be too late but nothing is lost having a go Tanya, or pop to your local garden centres and see whether they still are selling any young plants.


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