Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Review of the year

New Year's Eve and looking back over 2014 there have been highs and lows with our garden:

Highs
  • The greenhouse tomatoes were great. This year I sowed all Alicantes and they gave us consistently delicious tomatoes right through till early November. The green ones ripened on the kitchen windowsill but didn't quite make it till Christmas.
  • Raspberries were pretty good, especially the early ones
  • Beetroots were spectacular - 2 sowings. Plenty of beetroots for salad and soup.
  • The Bramley Apple was loaded with good quality apples. Bramleys are notorious for "one year on one year off" so probably get none in 2015. Have quite a few in store (mice willing) and lots of tubs of cooked apples in the freezer.
  • The little Elstar Apple we planted 5 years ago has just got into its stride. Only about 10 apples - but really delicious and seem to keep well.
Not so good:

We had quite a few failures or problems with vegetables:
  • Potatoes were generally a bit small. But the biggest problem has been when we have come to used them Some of the Colleens and a few Desirees have nasty brown cavities in the middle. No sign of ingress by worms and generally only the larger potatoes are affected. Looked up on Google and identified this as Hollow Heart - not caused by a bug, bacteria or rot but by rapid changes in growing conditions. Indeed this we had see post http://www.froggartscottagegarden.co.uk/2014/07/hot-potatoes.html. So, in future need to be more rigorous about watering during dry spells.
  • Runner Beans sown directly into ground were infested with bean fly so we had to plant a second sowing in pots. These grew well and we had a good crop.
  • Broad Beans grew quickly and we had a good crop. But some of the mature beans had brownish markings on the bean. I usually save beans for next year so have picked them over carefully.
  • Leeks again suffered with allium leaf miner. Managed to get a few early ones for eating 
  • Brussel Sprouts were a disaster. new variety this year and we netted them against butterflies and pigeons, but they didn't thrive and some had big swollen stems with only tiny sproutlets.
  • The blackcurrants were completely stripped by pigeons and blackbirds, presumably to spite us because we netted the redcurrants.
Couch grass was everywhere. The rhubarb patch is completely overrun with couch grass actually boring holes through the roots, However much I dug up it was there again a week later. Bindweed seems to have reduced a bit though.

Looking forward now to planning the sowing and planting for 2015.

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