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How was the growing season for you?

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default How was the growing season for you?

Post by Dandelion on 9th September 2016, 5:27 pm

It's probably the time to think about what has worked well, and what hasn't really flourished this growing season.

We had a very dry summer in Herefordshire - I know this wasn't the case everywhere. I think it was the lack of rain which has made squashes and courgettes pretty spares this year. I have just one vegetable spaghetti which just won't seem to grow any further - it would probably feed one person at a push! No huge marrows and hardly any courgettes either.

No pears on the little pear tree this year, and two out of my three apple trees are looking bare too. On the positive side, blackberries have been plentiful, as have the autumn fruiting raspberries which I thought I had dug up a few years ago(!) Runners and french beans have done well, as have beetroot and kohl rabi. I haven't dug up any celeriac yet - I would expect that to be suffering from lack of rain, but they all seem to be swelling. The most vulnerable crops were watered from the water butts, but it's never as good as real rain. Tomatoes have done OK both in the greenhouse and in the garden, where they are beginning to ripen in the autumn sunshine. here's hoping we don't get any blight. I also tried some peppers and cucumbers in the greenhouse for the first time, which also did OK.

So how did your garden do?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: How was the growing season for you?

Post by freebird on 10th September 2016, 10:19 am

I haven't grown a huge variety this year, due to having had a couple of years off veg growing and only having one plot available. But....
Asparagus was slow to start, but a moderate crop. Experimented this year with high nitrogen feed once plants growing fully to see if better crop next year.
Courgettes plentiful and still coming thick and fast.
Waiting to harvest sweetcorn - maybe today. Will report back.
Runner beans superb - best for many, many years.
Huge and plentiful autumn raspberries (Polka)
Blackberries - loads but seething with maggots (unusual)
Plums (Victoria) complete disaster. Lost almost entirely crop to fungus.
Apples - so so.
And in the greenhouse.....
Tomatoes (small plum - Lucinda, I think). Bought in plants, cropped very early and the fruits like little flavour bombs.
Tomatoes (large plum -Roma). Difficult to grow, finally starting to fruit and ripen. Wouldn't bother with them again. But no blight in the greenhouse.
Peppers (bought in). Most plentiful crop ever.
Chillies (bought in) jogging along nicely
Cucumber (bought in) best ever success with these (nitrogen rich feeding?). Especially like the Crystal Lemon round yellow variety.
All in all, quite a successful year. Any thing I grow has to be able to adapt to my rather sporadic approach to gardening (circumstances, not choice!)
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default Re: How was the growing season for you?

Post by Ploshkin on 10th September 2016, 9:29 pm

My best ever year, but only because of polytunnel growing  which has been a resounding success.  We have had a very wet summer with only an odd day of sun here and there since the beginning of June.
Outdoor growing has been very variable -  runner beans and beetroot failed totally, carrots are very patchy, peas have struggled and I have just 2 small squashes.  Other beans have cropped well, cabbages are ok and the best thing has been early potatoes and fabulous Victoria plums.
Undercover the stars have been sweetcorn, strawberries and squashes.  Cucumbers, tomatoes peppers and courgettes have done really well and I have had really good early crops of carrots, beans, mange tout and potatoes.
I realise that I probably won't get such a good year again as all the soil was virgin and pests haven't had a chance to take hold but it also made me realise that I have been expecting too much out of my outdoor beds without giving them much attention for the last few years.
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default Re: How was the growing season for you?

Post by FloBear on 12th September 2016, 11:54 am

Lost all tomatoes to blight, had great crops of climbing French beans, some raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
Good point about attention to the soil, Ploshkin. I had some really good crops last year on raised beds which were only a year old and sited on the old chicken run area. Much better than in well-used areas of veg. garden. I didn't grow much this year as I had house-hunting in mind (even though it hasn't happened yet!) and what I did grow suffered badly because I didn't do enough watering. Need to get my a*** in gear to set up the self-watering system in the GH again.
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default Re: How was the growing season for you?

Post by Dandelion on 12th September 2016, 9:55 pm

What kind of self-watering system have you got FloBear?

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: How was the growing season for you?

Post by Chilli-head on 13th September 2016, 1:35 pm

A difficult year here. Very wet when things needed to be sown, then very dry when they needed to be swelling out their fruits !

Best successes were the greenhouse crops; lots of San Marzano tomates in particular. Cayenne chillies are plentiful. Outdoors - beans. I'm just about sick of them ! The freezer is full of Madhur Jaffery style spicy green beans (ingredients plum tomatoes, green beans, cayenne chilli ...)

Pea Terrain has been fabulous. I've already bored you all extolling it, but I have another two rows of them to harvest (sown staggered) and they are brilliant. Great yield, tidy plants, no mildew yet. And all from a 99p trial pack of seed from T&M !

Many other things did OK, but some were disasterous:

Carrots - seed still in the packet ! It was too wet to sow them.
Parsnips - sown, germinated, vanished. Slugs most likely culprit.
White cabbage - also slug ruined. Curiously, they have left the red cabbage Kalibos well alone.
Red oinions - foliage slug eaten, so only small. But they can go whole into a cinghiale stufato (wild boar stew) - Keith Floyd's rather boozy version is excellent.
Raspberries - too dry. The plants themselves look half dead.

The other thing I am finding is what Ploshkin mentions; my yields are dwindling I think due to the soil getting tired. I've had a few trailerloads of manure onto there, maybe a load every couple of years. Between those I've had a load of woodchip for the paths; when it's composted on there it gets shovelled onto the beds. But still the heavy clay could use more improvement I think. Hence the mention of Hugelkultur beds - I'm going to try that for sure, on just one bed initially as an experiment. I've also inherited a water butt that I need to set up on the shed to have more water available, and I fancy trying to make comfrey / nettle feed from the vertical pipe method I've mentioned before. Lots to try next year ! I'll try to keep you posted on how it goes.
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