Wednesday, 28 December 2011

how was it for you?

This last year has been a real mixed bag as far as gardening successes go. I know we have some peculiar weather in Britain but 2011 was very peculiar and that made growing your own so much more difficult. There have been high spots to offset the lows and overall soft fruit and vegetable yields have been on a par with previous years. They should have been higher as I actually grew more but I can’t really complain and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

For those of you interested in statistics here's a breakdown of my successes and failures.

Potatoes - lower yields than expected due to very strong winds which damaged the haulms and then a lack of rainfall at critical times.
Onions - excellent crop. I have still have half a sack of good onions to get through.
Leeks - not as good as previous years and quite a few bolted.
Brassicas - cabbage, caulies, swedes and turnips did well. Later plantings of borecole and kale suffered damage from strong winds.
Peas/beans - good crops early on but the autumn winds put paid to later sowings.
Roots - excellent parsnips, mediocre carrots, good beetroot.
Salads - most are grown in containers and I always have a continuous supply of lettuce, spring onions and radishes.
Greenhouse - Not as good as previous due to a lack of summer sunlight although a good October did manage to ripen most of the peppers. One cucumber plant (La Diva) gave me seventeen lovely fruits although I lost several other plants which just seemed to give up the ghost. As for tomatoes, the old favourites Roma and Alicante did better than the new varieties I tried although that's hardly conclusive as I don't think 2011 was a good year for toms.

I do grow other veggies but the above are the staples of our household.

Soft fruits - bumper crops of blackcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries and raspberries so I made lots of jam and gave loads away in return for fresh eggs and the odd fruit pie.

Tree fruits - apples, pears and plums a disaster although the cherry tree gave me over 6kg and I left the rest for the birds.

So, all-in-all, not too bad considering. It seems that if one crop fails another succeeds so the moral is: don't put all your vegetables in one basket!

As for next year, well, I'll just take it as it comes. I will be trying new varieties of most things as well as growing some old favourites. Gardening is one long experiment for me. I'm not interested in growing show-stopping vegetables just high quality food for my family and I can only do this by trying every possible cultivation technique and as many varieties as possible to find what works best.

To gardeners and growers everywhere I wish you all a productive season and may the weather smile on us.....just for once.


  1. I fared much the same although my sheltered plot means I don't have the winds to contend with. Looking forward to next year!

  2. Your year sounds about the same as mine - looking forward to reading more next year and gleaning valuable information as to different ways to tackle veg growing. p.s. It looks like Google has got its act together and I can now comment on your blog.

  3. Much the same as mine,Peas super, Cabbages were v.good, other brassicas not so. Apples excellent, other fruit trees are only 1st/2nd year and didn't make use of my greenhouse. Luckily didn't have trouble with windy weather.
    Main problem was lack of rain right up to the end of October.
    Adding a link to your blog, if you'r not happy about the link let me know?