What an miserable summer it’s been. Even September – usually dependably lovely – has let us down this year.
Having said that, the endless rain has given me some astonishing crops. This is just one trugful. I’ve been getting this every week for months.
That’s not to say everything’s been good, of course. Potatoes got blight VERY early and yields suffered accordingly. The corn didn’t like it much, either.
But everything else has gone bananas. I’ve had the best beetroot, onions, courgettes and carrots I can ever remember. The courgettes, in particular, are a menace. I am already a leper to my neighbours – to be avoided at all costs, lest I attempt to foist a courgette upon them.
How did you do this season?
Posted on 11th September 2011
Under: Cucurbits, Roots, Sweetcorn | 6 Comments »
So here’s a small selection of vegetables produced on the ‘unacceptably weedy’ Soilman allotment. And there’s a shit load more where they came from.
Weeds there may be, but I’m getting a bumper harvest. In fact, there’s usually a correlation between the amount of weed and the size of my harvest. In a good growing year, you get a lot of weed. Surprise!
I’m over the warning letter now. Have moved from irritation to resignation. If folks insist upon being cunts, there’s not much I can do about it.
Instead, I’m busy drying my monster onions and preparing for the big potato harvest tomorrow. It’s a month early because we’ve had a major attack of potato blight this year. My maincrop spuds lost the last of their foliage about a fortnight ago – so I’m not expecting a best-ever potato crop.
Still, I’m excited… because a preliminary dig in among the Golden Wonder mounds revealed some monsters. Looks like they’ve done OK, even with blight.
Posted on 20th August 2011
Under: Alliums, Cucurbits, Potatoes, Roots | 11 Comments »
Summer time, and the living is shitty.
So much to do: I spent an hour (well, 54 minutes) after work last night harvesting these onions. They’re flawless and huge – one of my best ever crops – but time is always against me.
I love being at my plot on a warm evening. It’s one of my favourite places to be. But the pleasure is always diluted by the paranoid clock-watching.
I should just give up and get my eyeballs glued permanently to the face of my watch. Then if I have another arm grafted on to my torso, I may be better equipped for the modern world.
Posted on 2nd August 2011
Under: Alliums | 4 Comments »
Now the mad time is starting. I’ve got seedlings stuffed into every nook and cranny of the house. There’s even more under plastic outside. I’m gagging to get them all planted out, but daren’t: it’s not frost safe for another month yet.
It’s already turning into a very peculiar growing year. My cauliflower seedlings have grown more slowly than I’ve ever known – the ones above were sown in early March, but still have only two true leaves. Quite extraordinary.
In other news, my potatoes are also coming through spectacularly slowly. Looks like patience is going to be the watchword for 2010… which is dispiriting news, because I have BUGGER ALL PATIENCE.
Posted on 1st May 2010
Under: Brassicas, Cucurbits | 8 Comments »
Well first the good news: I have more gherkins than I’ve ever had… ever. Tons of the buggers. More than 30 already, and they’re only just getting started. Wife is salting them furiously, but we still can’t keep up.
Now for bad news: I think I’m on course for a 100% crop failure.
It’s the leeks, the ones I put in so confidently a few weeks ago. Not only have they not grown, they’re now dying. Slowly.
Why? Haven’t a clue. It’s not anything obvious – I’ve checked all the major allium diseases. The buggers have just decided to cop it.
Which is depressing the hell out of me. Mostly because I know it’s my fault: if I’d been to the plot more often, I’d probably have caught it earlier – whatever it is – and been able to take remedial action.
But I couldn’t, because I have no time. It’s a refrain of my life. I do everything by schedule, snatching minutes here, seconds there.
Jeez, even in the khazi I’m usually crapping against the clock. Most of the time, I long to scream: “Just give me five minutes, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!”
Posted on 16th July 2009
Under: Alliums, Cucurbits | 12 Comments »
This is the sum total of my gherkin crop for 2008.
It’s deeply, deeply shitty. And wretchedly unfair. I did everything right, but the weather crapped on me.
I’ve just got back from a short trip to Russia, where the sun was shining and the temperature was 25C. Cloudless skies, floating blossom, the lazy buzzing of bees, etc etc.
Then I get back to yet more British floods. I find myself questioning, not for the first time, the sanity of my forebears.
After all, these are the people who rowed across the English Channel in approx 4000 BC and decided to stay.
They must have arrived in July, during the only hot summer of the last seven millennia.
Posted on 8th September 2008
Under: Cucurbits | 7 Comments »