This was my first full year of growing stuff. Despite the drought, we didn’t do too badly. Some things didn’t work at all…
- I cannot, cannot, cannot get carrots to grow. I don’t know why. Old seeds, soil’s not right, drought, who knows. They just won’t. FAIL.
- The salsify didn’t shoot. Next time, I’m starting it in pots. FAIL.
- The cauliflowers are all leaf and no head and have kind of bolted but not. FAIL.
Some things were splendiferous:
- The tomatoes – although I’m not spending on Suncherry red any more. The Gardener’s Delight were just as good. From Alicante to Roma, we had pounds and pounds of gorgeous tomatoes, and now I have a freezer full of them. We’ve had a couple of tomato soups, and mostly the tomatoes are packed ready for spaghetti, curry, soup, sweet and sour, stews, casseroles, cottage pie… is there anything they don’t enhance?! How did we live without tomatoes?!
- The courgettes – pounds and pounds of them.
- The leeks – from tiny, pencil-thin ones to huge, fat ones, the leeks have done us proud, and kept lots of nasty insects off other things
- The parsnips – gorgeous – some waiting in the ground for Christmas
- The turnips. I know, not a glamorous vegetable, until you’ve had my sweet-and-sour turnip soup.
- The chillis – amazing – loads of them, and really easy to grow
- The red cabbages that survived the drought. Tight, heavy heads of purple loveliness
- The two savoy cabbages that survived the drought
- Gherkins – fat, skinny, prickly – not McDonalds green, but lovely anyway
- Thyme – really taken to the polytunnel – and suppressing the dreaded convolvulus.
- Basil – plenty for those tomatoes
- Radishes – loads of all different types
- Lettuces – 29 c from Lidl and I had a poly tunnel full!
Other things need a bit of sorting out for next year
- We didn’t have enough peas. I need several rows of these to feed my pea fetish. And then I can’t think if it’s worthwhile or not because petits pois are so cheap frozen.
- The same with the broad beans. Good, just not enough
- The same with the borlotti beans. We need a bigger bean patch!
- Same for the peppers. Three gorgeous peppers from three plants. Not quite enough to feed my desire for lovely peppers!
- The sweetcorn – what we got – was lovely – but the birds absolutely savaged it! Needs going under nets next year!
- The melons were small, but gorgeous! More melons next year!
- Beetroot – gorgeous – need more!
- The potatoes got hit hard by the drought. They’re thirsty things! Plus, they need all kinds of digging out.
I’ve already bought most of my seeds for next year, and I’ve got a couple of things that are new to try out. Some things we grew the year before.
- aubergine (I’ve been excited by Roy’s aubergines, because he had loads
- Romanesco broccoli
- Super marmande tomatoes
And what else will I be doing?
- planting fewer potatoes – a desert-dry piece of dust isn’t conducive to good growth – but planting a wider variety
- planting as many tomatoes, but adding super marmande to the mix instead of suncherry red
- planting a wider range of courgettes, but only one of each type – far too many courgettes for human consumption, though the chickens went mental for them
- not bothering with carrots again
- going back to some pak choi and thinning out the lettuces
- not bothering planting tomatoes in the polytunnel
I’m also going flower-mad next year. I’ve also bought some tree seeds, harvested hundreds of seeds and got some cuttings. I’ve even grown a lemon tree from a pip. That’s how green I am. It’s got thorns on it though. Do lemon trees have thorns??!
I’ve bought all my seeds from England as French companies sell them in ridiculously large packets for ridiculously large amounts. That means loads get wasted and you end up paying triple. They don’t really ‘get’ flowers, either, from what I can see in the garden centres. I’ve yet to find a really good garden centre, like Newbank or Lady Green, and they just don’t get perennials. Ironically, Lidl’s zinnias and marigolds were amazing for 29c a pack – and some for next year.
I love my inner gardener geek. There’s nothing better than picking your own fruit and veg.