Friday, October 13, 2006

Seasons End

I've been meaning to write an end of season update for several weeks now but never seem to have the time. I've published the draft I wrote in July without changes, purely because I've forgotten what else I wanted to say.
For me this entry is really a what went right what went wrong memory jogger for next year. I think I'll start on the subject of beans. Its not been a good year and in the end mine turned out better than my mother-in-laws and went on producing well into September. Looking back I don't think the early start benifitted them and starting them three weeks later next year shouldn't do any harm.
Whilst we had some peas, we didn't have many. Judging by this years planting, not necessarily a good thing to do starting them in root trainers and planting out may be the way to go next year.
Picking up on the July update the one thing that went right this year were my potatoes. Other than the Red Duke of York everything went well, an I'm really impressed with the Charlotte so I shal be definately planting these next year. I had wanted to plant these as a second crop, but D.T.Browns had run out and sent Nicola instead. I can't specifically tell but the germination of these seems bad and I guess I've lost about 50% whilst I think I only lost one of the Carlingford. The problem I now have is blight I've lost two bins and a couple of plants in the rows in the garden. Last time I checked on the ones in the allotment - a couple of weeks ago - several of these were also suffering. They've all been earthed up now for about 4 weeks so I shall see what sort of crop I end up with.
The other successes of the year have been the milk carton carrots and the courgettes - if I ignore the Orelia. The carrots, all varieties have cropped faily well, and unlike the ground sown ones did actully germinate. Whilst the carton carrots have now all been harvested we still have the wheel barrow to harvest and the additional tub carrots.
Based on this years performance if anybody is thinking of growing courgettes I would recommend defender, they are still flowering and producing both in the garden and on the allotment. The allotment ones did go through a bad patch with mildrew about 4 weeks ago but a concerted hack with the knife and the removal of most of the affected leaves seems to have spurred them back into life.
Things have not all been rosy though. The lettuce has been something of a hit and miss, and the cabbage whites/moths did for most of my winter cabbage, sprouting broccoli, and turnips (again). I suspect they also did for 90% of my spring cabbage seedlings.
The dry weather and my soil have again stunted my leeks and produced a feeble sweetcorn crop, certainly compared to last year. The ones in my garden did considerably better than the ones on the allotment where we managed 6 decent cobs from 18 plants.
The other success from the garden plot has been the celery - my judicous application of water and the rains arrived at the right time to give me a viable crop. As this is the first year I've tried celery I'm more than happy with the results.
Things in the green house have been rather mixed. The tomatoe crop has been rather poor given the size of the plants, and about 70% of the tomatoes have split, this despite providing a gallon of water per day per growbag. I'm beginning to suspect that the splitting has more to do with temperature and humidity fluctuation than water provision.
The Cucumbers suffered badly in the hot spell in August, two of them nearly succumbing to wilt (I think). They recovered briefly, but have faded badly in the last few days - I suspect they are also being affected by something else but can't determine what.
The other greenhouse crop, hasn't been a crop that is. Having initially had a disaster with germination, the peppers have done nothing except grow leaves. The one's I gave my mother-in-law that she stuck in the border flowered in early September and produced a few pitiful fruits. The ones in the greenhouse have until the last week refused to flower at all. Yes they are now flowering but I suspect its too late for any sort of crop, let alone ripening one.
The other failure in the greenhouse, to date, has been anything sown in the raised beds. I haven't worked out why. Even the late lettuce, all-year-round, has refused to grow and yet its doing ok in the cold-frame. If I can get a load of leaf mould I'll try adding that to get some moisture retention and see if it help any. I'm also going to add a heavy dose of lime and see if I can lift the ph closer to 7.
Think thats about it for now. The tomatoes are going out the greenhouse this weekend, and possibly whats left of the cucumbers. I shall also have to think about bringing the cacti indoors and moving the potatoe bins into the greenhouse, just so I can ensure their survival to provide my christmas new potatoe crop.