With September now in full swing and the autumnal equinox fast approaching, it's a chance to review our successes and failures during the fruit and vegetable growing season....
Tomatoes - in early March, we'd started these off from seeds in 3" pots on the kitchen windowsill. This meant they missed all of the effects of the very cold April, and the weather had recovered to more seasonal norms before they were planted out in the new greenhouse. We've had literally hundreds of tomatoes from our 14 plants, and there's more still to come. With the amount of headroom we have in this greenhouse, there's fruit on eight or nine trusses on each plant.
|tomato plants in August...|
Strawberries - the prolonged cold spell in April held these back initially but when some decent weather arrived they burst into action, and we had a bumper crop of strawberries this year.
|a few of the strawberries....|
Apples - a similar story to the strawberries, late to blossom but the tree was very heavily laden with fruit this year.
|in full blossom - but this is June !!|
|but an excellent crop of apples.....|
The apples were almost all harvested last week. We bagged 46 kg, and left a few low-hangers on the tree for later. We've made jams and purees, and pulped the rest for wine.
Marrows - we'd never grown marrows before, but from just a few plants we've had five large specimens - the first we cut weighed in at 4.4 kg, and the others are still to be harvested.
Pumpkins - again, a first attempt, but we've four large pumpkins which are still maturing.
|side by side - a pumpkin and a marrow...|
Beetroot - a great year for the beetroots, both early and late sowings did well. We made seven large jars of pickles in August, and we'll do the same again next month. We've also been roasting them, and the wife regularly makes borsch.
Turnips - good again, both early and late sowings produced some excellent vegetables.
Leeks - three rows of great table leeks, all grown from seed. Not sure why the leeks did well from seed but the onions didn't...
|leeks still fattening-up....|
Runner Beans - started in the greenhouse and then planted out in June, we've now a freezer full of beans and the plants are still producing. Also, our 2.4m high wigwam structure has been very decorative for months, creating a large wall of bright red flowers (the variety is Scarlet Emperor).
|the runner beans - still producing...|
Peas - two varieties both made a decent crop, although we didn't really plant enough of them - they were an afterthought to shroud our heating oil tank while we started some flowering climbers from seed in the greenhouse to plant out in this location next year.
|peas - but not enough of them|
Carrots - the first batch suffered badly from root fly attack, and most were inedible. The second batch was better - we'd sown very sparingly to avoid having to thin them out, and these aren't too bad although they're not very big.
Potatoes - small, blighted and many were eaten away by pests.
Melons - were stunted by the cold weather in April, and although they recovered and seemed to be flourishing we didn't get a single female flower on six plants. Next year, we'll start the melon seeds in the house along with the tomatoes.
Aubergines - badly affected by the cold spring weather, and never produced a single flower.
Onions - five rows of only half-decent onions, two grown from seed and three from sets we bought cheaply in late spring because the vast majority of the seeds we'd sown in the greenhouse in March didn't germinate this year.
Sweet Peppers - our initial attempt from seed was blighted by the cold weather, but a second try was more successful. Although we only had a few plants that bore any fruit, those that did cropped very well.
Cauliflower & Broccoli - the seedlings we planted out were badly stunted by the cold weather, and when they did show signs of recovery they were promptly decimated by the pigeons, who stripped around half of them in a very short time. We didn't have this problem last year and so were totally unprepared, but those that could be saved were quickly netted over and we did at least get some produce in the end.
|around half of our entire cauliflower harvest this year....|
Radishes - the first sowing produced great results, but the second lot went to seed almost immediately.
|radishes - excellent for roasting.....|
FOR THE FUTURE....
Asparagus - our row of asparagus crowns will be three years old next year, so we're hoping to get a first crop of spears in the late spring. We'll cut all this year's growth back down to ground level later this autumn.
Grapes - we did get a small bunch from each this year, but both our vines are still becoming established. See our previous post.
Cherries, Plums & Apricots - we planted one young tree of each during our garden landscaping works earlier in the year. Let's hope they can survive the very strong winds we get here.
Soft Fruit - this year, we've started some raspberry and cranberry plants from seed, and also rescued a few blackcurrant canes. In the spring, we'll need to find a permanent location for all these bushes.