Friday, 12 July 2013

so far it's a good year for...

well, just about everything in the garden. I'd forgotten what a difference a good summer can make to plant growth. Almost every crop is bigger and better than it's been for many years which creates a problem in that I have to keep on top of harvesting and then find something to do with it all.

These five radishes tipped the scales at 171g after topping and tailing. They were just freebie seeds of perfectly ordinary varieties: Scarlet Globe and French Breakfast but if they were any bigger I'd be inclined to say they were turnips, and all achieved with no digging and no chemicals.

The last few years have been very difficult for most growers, regardless of their methods. No matter what you do, if the weather is against you there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Organic/non-organic becomes almost irrelevant when we are all struggling to get something to put on the table. So this year could be a test. What's going to come out on top, compost or chemicals?

I know where my sympathies lie but I don't have to feed the world. 

Tipped out a tub of Belle de Fontenay potatoes today. Not a huge yield but that's not why we grow those kinds of spuds. These are supposed to be one of those 'gourmet' varieties but the flavour was nothing outstanding. It was good but then so are many others. I suppose if you've never eaten anything but generic supermarket varieties and you paid ten quid for a plateful in a restaurant you might be impressed but I haven't and I wasn't.

This year's strawberry crop is shaping up to be exceptional as well, with some huge fruit. I've frozen a kilo in the last few days in readiness for jam making later in the year. The blackcurrants are also performing ahead of expectations and will be ready in the next few weeks.

I have four bushes which are laden with fruit which is good as I have a particular liking for blackcurrant jam and a neighbour who I swap with is an expert pie maker. I give her the fruit, she gives me a pie. Seems fair to me.

The one down-side for me so far this year has been the peas. I was trying a new variety 'Meteor' which is early but rather tasteless. Isn't the whole point of growing your own peas to have that fresh from the pod taste as you wander down the garden. If you just want something green on your dinner plate it's much easier just to go to Iceland. I had some seed of Early Onward but for some reason they just failed to germinate so I'm stuck with a load of peas which are fit for nothing but cooking. 

This is a well-camouflaged frog hiding among the polypots where my main potato crop is growing. I do hope he or she is on slug patrol!

I'd like to think that what I write in this blog is some vindication of the gardening methods I use up here at Solway Towers (it's really just a three bedroom semi but I've always been a dreamer). I don't dig, I don't use chemicals and I have healthy respect for everything else that shares this living space with me. And I can grow good fruit and veg.

1 comment:

  1. You are right about it turning into a good year - at last - after the last few years I had begun to wonder why I have bothered - sunshine makes all the difference. Now thinking about what late crops to sow. I have only grown Charlotte potatoes this year as they are good 'doers' the florists buckets are yielding a couple of meals each - not bad. Just had a haul of lovely broc heads and cabbage as well. My peas have done well Feltham First Early and Hurst Greenshaft pods filling nicely as we speak.