Its fair to say that the veg patch and indeed my whole garden has been neglected during the past couple of months.
I’ve just realised that my last veg patch post was 29th June and since then a combination of endless rain and working long hours has meant that the garden had to take a back seat. I’ve kept looking at it out of the window and feeling less and less like tackling the jungle that it had become.
However, on Saturday we had some beautiful warm weather and I was in the mood to get the garden neat and tidy and show my veggies the TLC they’d been lacking. It was a good plan and I did quite well until I hurt my back and had to abandon the job part way through. Now the garden is just half messy.
Rain rain go away…
I thought I’d give you an update on the veggies anyway. I’d been feeling really bad because I had quite high hopes for this year, trying lots of new things and hoping to actually get food from the garden to the table but unfortunately it won’t be the success I’d wished for. I’m not going to beat myself up though, this is the first year and we’ve had exceptionally bad weather. So many other (more experienced) gardeners have told me about how they’ve been disappointed with their crops too so I guess I’ll just put it down to experience.
In the greenhouse
The tomatoes have become very tall and most of the flowers and fruit came out at the tops, touching the roof. I’m assuming that this is because of the lack of sunshine and the plants have reached up for the light. There are a few small fruit on each plant but the ones inside the greenhouse are not much better than the ones I tried outside. Here are the biggest tomatoes on one plant and they’re showing now sign of ripening yet.
I find the cucumbers to be really strange plants, they send out tendrils that grab hold of the tomatoes. I’m not entirely sure if I’m growing the cucumbers properly (in large pots, letting the leaves and stalks dangle down) but there are signs of tiny little cucumbers which have really sharp spikes on them.
The sweet peppers are growing tall and now flowering despite being munched on by aphids and the jalepenos’ stalks are becoming stronger and changing colour.
If anyone else is growing similar plants in their greenhouse I’d love to know whether they’re flowering or produced any fruit / veg yet. Last year at this time we were collecting tomatoes by the bowful!
Just to see what would happen I put some old Wilja potatoes in a couple of buckets. They were already just sprouting but it didn’t take long for their tall, leafy stems to shoot right up. I think I can just see a small green potato under the surface of the compost but I’m not sure if and when I will actually get any potatoes from these. They seem pretty hardy though and haven’t been affected much by the rain.
Cannot live by radish alone
I nearly forgot to mention that we did actually get some radish although I know that is no great achievement as children learn to grow these at school. This was our second batch, the first in April were great, really big and peppery but this time I only managed to get 3 worth eating and they had hardly any flavour. The only thing that had been different this time was lack of warmth and sunshine, they’d been fed and watered in exactly the same way. Del, the rabbit, enjoyed eating the leaves anyway.
Embarrassingly my cabbage, spinach, broccoli and onions have all nearly been devoured by slugs, snails and caterpillars. I never did get round to buying biological controls for them and the barriers that I put up were obviously not enough. I’m going to leave what is left in the veg patch and see what happens, then maybe re-think the whole thing next year, plan a little better and prepare for the worst. I want to add carrots, courgettes and peas next year too.
However, one of my favourite things is the sweetcorn. That has been happily getting taller in the greenhouse with very little attention. So, I decided to re-pot them and put them outside to see if they would get even taller and eventually produce some cobs. Again I don’t really know what I’m doing and going for a ‘suck it and see’ approach – can anyone tell me, is it too late for the sweetcorn to produce veg now? I was slightly cautious about moving them outdoors because I thought I might go to them the next day and find they’d disappeared into some creepy crawly’s stomach but they’re still there and I’m sure they’ve got even taller in the past few days.
So, how have your veggies been doing? Get in touch and tell us your veg patch stories.