My imperfect plot

slug eaten swede

Anyone who grows their own food, or indeed gardens at all, will know that it’s a roller coaster of a ride. Sometimes all is going great and you’re on the up and other times you’re plummeting downwards wondering why on earth you bother doing this. Okay, maybe not quite to that extreme, but most of the time its an odd mixture of the two at the same time, little moments of ‘yay’ and then in the next breath ‘oh no, what happened to that?’.

I read a blog posting somewhere – or maybe it was an instagram comment, I forget – by somebody complaining that slugs had completely demolished something they’d been growing since March, and how disheartening it is. I feel their pain, but I do hope that it doesn’t put them off. I think experiences like this, put off a lot of people who have attempted to grow their own for the first time, and it’s a huge shame. Those of us who have been doing it for a while are a little (and I mean a smidgen) more hardened to it. I think, like any small set backs or failures in life, you have to accept it, learn from it, and then carry on regardless. Even Monty Don had blight on his box hedging and had to take out the whole lot, and I’m sure, nay certain, that he’s lost plants to slugs before now. It’s all part and parcel of growing and working with mother nature who can be very cruel at times.

So, I was thinking about this when I popped down to my plot yesterday afternoon and discovered that the slugs have been having a big old shindig in all the rain we’ve had recently, (I would use the word beanfeast, but that’s about the only thing they’ve left untouched).

I had a whole row of tiny lettuce seedlings that inevitably have now dissappeared, the tops of my mange-tout peas have been nibbled down to the ground, they’ve attacked the spinach and even the leaves on the swedes (pictured above).

strawberries ripening

Also, just as the strawberries are beginning to ripen, they’re getting eaten too. Strange how I never manage to catch one in the act though, so I do wonder whether mice are managing to squeeze through the chicken wire, and have a taste for fresh strawberries. Who could blame them.

top end - May

My allotment plot is never going to be perfect, I don’t do perfect because I’m not competitive or ambitious enough, but thats fine with me. I have a neighbour who blasts his plot with toxic weedkiller (as you can see from the state of my grass path), and by contrast a neighbour on the other side who is rarely there and lets the weeds grow and self seed merrily. But I don’t get fussed over either. I have weeds galore, I have some pathetic looking broad beans that I bought cheap and hoped would recover and bulk up (they never have and never will) and I have a whole assortment of bugs, some good, some a little bit annoying. Such is life.

potatoes - May onion bed

sweet williams - may

On the flip side, when things grow well and you get a good harvest, it is so much more joyous than if it had all just been a walk in the park!

12 comments

  1. I am far from a perfect gardener. I need to weed my garden really bad. We have had so much rain, and weeds are starting to take over…We have rabbits, turtles, squirrels, etc. that seem to like my garden this time of year 🙂

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    • Hi, I know how you feel, the weeds have gone completely bonkers on my plot since the rain, I’ll be down there tomorrow hacking my way through them! At least I don’t have a problem with rabbits, and certainly not turtles!

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  2. It’s nice to know other people have the same problems. Sometimes it is difficult not to get disheartened. This year a lot of seeds that I sowed have failed to germinate for some reason and when i went down to the allotment yesterday, I discovered that the broad beans and lettuce had all been nibbled! Ah well – ‘sigh’ !

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  3. Hi annjenny, I had problems getting some seeds to germinate this year too, more than usual. Nothing from the sweetcorn, no courgettes (which were new seed too), and I sowed a second batch of mangetout peas at home a few weeks ago, and so far nothing. I store my seed in a sealed tin, so I know it hasn’t got damp, but maybe some of it was getting old. Oh well, there’s always next year!

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    • Thanks! It’s not looking that bad, so long as you don’t look to closely at the nibbled leaves and gaps in the rows. I’ve heard other people complain about their plots which look more than perfect to me, I guess we’re all too self-critical. I think my point was that we shouldn’t be really, it’s all part of the fun!

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      • I think people expect their veg to look like the stuff in the supermarkets- freakishly big and not a funny shape. But you can’t beat the taste of fresh veg, it tastes all the sweeter knowing you grew it yourself as well.

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      • I know, people do expect too much. My first 4 strawberries were all slightly nibbled, and nobody would have bought them in a shop, but they still tasted fantastic!

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  4. I agree totally. It is so disheartening when your hard work and effort just seems to be for the benefit of the pests. I have had my entire March sown onion crop desimated by the dreaded onion fly. Still, there’s always next year.

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    • Hi Debb, sorry to hear that. I’ve not had trouble with onion fly (yet). I think it’s good to share the failures as well as the successes in life, it makes us all feel a bit better. I’ve completely given up on broad beans and sweetcorn for this year, but I’ll appreciate them all the more next year, when of course they’ll be a roaring success!

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