It’s been a very mixed year on the plot. But then it usually is. I’ve learn’t that every year is different, and what is successful one year, won’t necessarily be so the next year, and the same goes for failures. So if something does badly for you, give it another go, as a different set of weather conditions, a different position/environment or just better luck, can make a difference. There are only a few crops I have fully given up on, after several years of getting nowhere, which include brussell sprouts and maincrop peas. Otherwise, I persevere and hope for the best.
The year started fairly typical, snow by mid February, then once it dried out it was very dry, got hotter, and temperatures were bordering on tropical by the end of March. Then in April it started raining. And it rained, and rained, and didn’t really stop raining until August. But that was good news for some fruit and vegetables.
So, what has been good and what has been hopeless this year?
On the good list …
Broad beans – Super Aquadulce. Despite a shaky start, they came good in the end, and we ate lots of broad bean hummus this year.
Climbing beans – Birds Egg, Kew Blue, Czar, a mixture of borlotti, french and runner beans. Again, slow to start with, but they all picked up with speed.
Potatoes – Kestrel. One of the crops that benefitted from all the extra rain in early summer. Still working my way through 2 sacks of these.
Parsnips – Gladiator. A very good year for these, unless you like your parsnips on the small side.
Sweetcorn – Sweet Nugget. Another crop that benefitted from the rain. Nice plump kernels, very sweet.
Raspberries – unknown variety, autumn fruiting. Never had so many huge fat raspberries before.
Butternut squash – Waltham. Very successful this year, a good crop.
Also, grown at home but very successful, were chilli and bell peppers. I’ve grown these with mixed success before, but this was the best year ever for both.
And the losers with a capital L were…
Tomatoes, due to blight. I lost an entire bed of around 18 plants. I made green tomato chutney, but not much else.
Broccoli (calabrese) which was looking good for a while, and then bolted virtually overnight. The bees enjoyed the flowers though!
The garlic has to go on this list I think. I did harvest a fair amount, but due to onion/garlic rust the heads were really small. This is an ongoing problem, that seems to be getting worse each year. Any advice on tackling this disease is welcome. Planting in a new spot each year makes no odds, it spreads like wildfire across several plots.
Carrots (the row in front here). Germination failure – twice. And then over-shadowed by the gigantic parsnip neighbours.
And finally (I don’t have photo’s – they were that bad) are dwarf beans and lettuce. Both were scoffed by a booming population of monster, rain-loving slugs before they even had a chance to get going. And there were no apples or plums at all. I had blossom on the apple tree which looked promising, but then nothing. I think a late frost must have been the culprit.
So, I make that 9 crops on the good list, and 8 on the bad. So in balance it wasn’t that bad. Hope you had more luck. Here’s to 2013. Merry Christmas!