poor harvest from the garden








After reading http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/ blog from yesterday on potato blight I began to think about our own harvest from the garden.

The weeds keep growing a treat but the veg has been a big disappointment this year, even more so than last year when all the beds were underwater. I have an image in my mind of the pea plants which looked yellow and had puddles around their bases in the middle of last summer.

Action was needed, I thought I would raise the already raised beds even further as our soil is not really soil just clay. The veg bed is hidden from the house so aesthetically I can get away with anything. I decided to try old tyres, this would be a good way to recycle products that are otherwise difficult to dispose of so Wilf went to our local tyre garage and filled the car up several times.

I then got as much of our own compost as I could, all the fire ashes I had been collecting from the multi fuel burners we have in the living and dining rooms, some soil our friend had removed from his garden for some reason and I started to fill the casings.

I soon realised that they would need an awful lot of filling and picked up some mulch from the local council yard to mix in. Still the casings were not filled so I went out and bought a few bags of compost. Now I was starting to see them fill up. I have only managed about twelve filled up enough to plant in. Whatever I add to them just seems to disappear to nothing.

The broad beans loved it in the rich soil. They produced lots of pods and I wish I had planted more. The peas were the same, the support I used for them buckled and they started to climb up the neighbouring broad beans. I thought potatoes would enjoy the rich soil as well and planted up a few casings of those. They have been poor, no blight on my spuds but they are not heavy cropping.

The onions look more like spring onions compared to the ones planted directly into another bed. Although the biggest disapointment has been the summer cabbages, they have just been eaten to death by slugs and ants. A close second to last is the beetroots which look like miniature beetroot but are as tough as old boots.

The carrot seeds and the parsnips didn’t even germinate and my turnip plants that were germinated in the greenhouse a few weeks ago are gradually being cut up and taken away by the ants. Fasinating to watch but there goes our winter veg on their backs!

The other problem with the casings is that they do need to be well mulched in between or it’s a weed festival there. The local tip do let you fill black sacks yourself with mulch they make for £1.50 a bag. This is a bit of a bargain as they do a very fine mulch and a rougher mulch. Great for adding to compost to bulk out. The sacks are the really strong ones and we reuse them for all sorts of things.

The greenhouse has also been a mixed lot. The peppers have done very well and I am going to string some up to dry very soon. The sweet peppers are just about ready as well, although I think they are supposed to turn purple and are very green at the moment I won’t complain too much.

The courgettes are doing well, although the ends keep going brown and the pickling gherkins would be more suited to being preserved in dolls house sized jars at the moment. Not our greatest success. I also seem to have mixed up the cucumber seeds with the gherkin seeds and have greenhouse gherkins which look healthier than the outdoor ones and I think if left would make cucumbers eventually.

The tomatoes are currently still green, I tried a different sort this year and I’m not sure if it’s them or the weather that is the problem so I won’t give out the variety but next year it’s back to Alicante or Moneymaker just to be safe.


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