How does The Garden Grow ….
…..Well Not Brilliantly Actually.
In truth, and looking right across the season, 2019 has not been one of the better ones in comparison to 2017 or 2018. I know we are not alone in this part of Kent with gardening problems and especially along the coast as we are. We have ‘sea winds’ race and rage across the grounds where we are carrying an awful amount of salt in the air, equally as much as we simply haven’t had the amount of rain that other counties have experienced. We have had to use a lot of water from the tap, as our butts ran dry in July, and we had nor received no natural replenishment from the skies. In addition to that like many other vegetable gardeners and not just in the UK, but internationally, we have a very odd Spring and Summer season.
Many of our harvested yields were affected by some kind of weather blight, a hiccup in the season’s thinking. Much of our crop would be young one moment and or ripening ready for the picking and then in the space of almost 72 hours [3 days], it was old and wilted on the stem? Like several weeks had stepped inside some kind of time portal of 72 hours? More than 60% of our fruit tree stock was affected by this and the overall effect was damaged crops, dying crops or rather annoying unedible crops. Worse than that our fruit tree crops are also all diseased, much of the fruit rotten inside before fully ripened.
This year we have had during the summer months more aggressive dry winds than previous years and a lot of poled stock was seriously damaged by this, therefore ruining even more crops.
Our Spring crops fared much better overall than any of the other potential harvests. We had a bumper crop of strawberries, some courgettes, although more overnight went from courgettes to what l nicknamed mourgettes in so far as they resembled marrows over courgettes. Meanwhile our marrow crops were much reduced in size and weight. Our runner beans were suddenly old before their time, outside cucumbers simply didn’t grow. French beans refused to grow, radishes floundered RADISHES?? They grow under most conditions. Salad mixtures went to seed and bolted before they should have. Pepper crops were much smaller than normal and are still colouring, albeit somewhat later in the year than say this time last year. Even our potatoes which normally offer up an excellent bounty were sorely depleted.
Our potential for a good season’s yield was very sadly disappointing and horrifically expensive, taking the joy out of crop anyway, and so much so, that for 2020 Suze and l have decided to trial a completely different vegetable gardening system. This being square foot gardening 3×3 rows equalling 9 times twice. So only running 18 pots. We will not run with the actual beds next year. We will purely use pots and bags for the potatoes.
I tried to examine this deeper, l mean it is all well and good blaming just the weather, but were there other environmental situations to blame? I do wonder if the compost we used was the right consistency? I mean we used compost from a heap that hadn’t been worked for a year, due to my shoulder injury, the heap sat for almost 14 months doing nothing, was turned slightly and then sieved. Maybe this contributed to a much poorer quality of compost? I do hope that l can get some kind of exercise for my arm this week, and if so l will have to enquire whether turning a bit of compost once a week will help or hinder my recovery.
The truly happy species of our garden this year have been the pigeons Percy and Penelope who were as regular as clockwork when it came to telling me, they were ready for the seed dishes to be refilled. These are done now almost three times a week, and so docile are these lovely guys, that these shots were only taken literally three feet away.
Images below from earlier today.
Greenhouse peppers, much, much slower to ripen than they did in 2018. Yielded six veg so far to last years 30 at the same time of year.
The avocado plant is now nearly 5 feet tall – credo – expect nothing l will give you everything and more!
The plums look great at a distance, but when you go in closer, much of the crop is already old before its time and rotten inside. We have four main plum trees here, Victoria, Damson and Mirabelles and Gages and all are suffering from odd season and a blight to the trees caused by the sea salt. We havemanaged to so far pull off 6LB of Damsons, but many of those were rotten inside, which was also very disappointing. We want to have the trees either treated, taken down [sadly] or really cut back, but as we rent the landlord ‘basically says they are trees and they look nice’ … no reasoning here in truth.
Pictured Victoria and Damson.
We do have a pear here, but like the apricot it too is blighted by the sea salt pictured here alongside the Mirabelles.
Our tomato plants are only now just startin g to respond to the feeder. We have had some very heavy crops come off, but bright green, that had to be removed due to the weight of the crops to be forced to ripen.
The tomatillos are doing pretty well, but had to be moved due to the aggressive winds down to the gate. I managed to get to the main plant after it had just been swept over and suffered an injured branch and managed to fix it and secure it and it seems just in time as no serious deterioration is visible.
You can see the courgettes now at the end of their cycle with their terribly aged leaves, awaiting to be dug out. The heaviness of the water here in Kent with its chalk content and the sea salt takes its toll on broader leaved plants, especially the vegetables.
The horseradish has confirmed that it received the memo that it will be dug up this year and it WILL be made into a sauce, that ha ha ha neither Suze and l can eat!!
So there we have it folks, another episode of Doin’ The Dirt from the garden that is just one big learning curve sent to trial us!
Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …