London (change)
Today 28°C / 17°C
Tomorrow 26°C / 17°C
11 messages
10/11/2012 at 13:47

I've got a big, L-shaped, 80cm deep raised bed I built two years ago in my small back yard, specially to grow vegetables.  It has a 2-storey house to the south, and walls all round, so in winter it gets no sun, but in summer is a suntrap, so I also have a wee sit-ootery there - which I haven't used once this year, drattit.  I put in loads of daffodil bulbs, deep down so I could grow other things over the top, and strawberries all round the edge; lilies and asparagus against the south-facing wall behind it; and a few Pink Fir Apple and Edsel Blue potatoes tight against the south rim, so they could cascade over the edge.  I then planted six bush tomatoes in front of the lilies, and over the top of the daffodils I put onion and shallott setts, and sowed rows of radish, various lettuce, beetroot, spring onion and carrots.  I put in a seep hose which I used regularly, fed them all religiously and lovingly, carefully weeded out the lawn of holly seedlings which my neighbour's tree showers on my ground like confetti, and waited.

The daffodils were grand, as were the lilies.  The potatoes did well - I just planted them fairly deep and didn't bother earthing them up, and they flourished happily over the wall and gave me young, tasty potatoes in abundance for just me, over about three months - even the 'new' potatoes lasted well if left alone by me and the slugs.  The rest was a disaster.  Three 5cm carrots snf four radishes; one spike of asparagus - in January, if I remember rightly, I wrote about it here; the garlic and spring onions simply vanished; and everything else went - charged! - to seed.  I think out of a kilo of setts I got about five decent onions, and a lovely show of flowers.  One strawberry, from two dozen plants. About 20 pea-sized green tomatoes. The compost heap has grown enormously.

This year, the small potatoes I've left in the ground can grow on, among the daffodils and lilies.  If they come, they come.  I'll fill in the space with chrysanths or something for cut flowers, like the daffies.  Vegetables are clearly a waste of time, money and effort.

10/11/2012 at 13:56

Don't give up.It was a bad year all round for some of us and the weather had a lot to do with it.Some years will be bad and others good ,so hopefully next year will be good.

10/11/2012 at 17:25

Yes do give it a go next year? I have similar raised beds so that I can garden out of the clay and water up here in north Cumbria and have always had good crops of selected veg. For the first year ever in over 45 years of gardening I have had Carrots of any size Zero; beetroot of any size Zero Parsnips of any size Zero; etc etc. Like you a good crop of spuds but that is about it. It has been unremittingly wet and windy it seems forever. Conversely I had the most superb avenue of sweet peas ever up the edge of the path using plants I just "put in to get rid of them cluttering up the cold frame" so you can see with gardening there are no certainties. I will still be planting my veg next year as nothing tastes better that a carrot right out of the ground or a pea straight from the pod ;

10/11/2012 at 17:52

dont let the weather beat you, try again next year maybe look for specialised seeds of veg,try keeping away from f1 hybreds etc, i also live in north cumbria,windy silloth, had lots of joy with flowers but veg were very poor, ended up making lots of green tomato chutney, have now sourced seeds that do better up north,not sure if one can put name on here

10/11/2012 at 18:02

Thanms for the encouragement, guys and dolls, but I'm not convinced.   Still, hope, they say, blooms e4ternal.  Unlike my roses...   By the time spring comes round I may have decided to give it another try.  We'll see.

10/11/2012 at 20:04

Lets be honest here, this year was the most awful one for growing veggies for many of us, your experience is not typical of most peoples experience in most years.  Lets just hope the commercial growers, who also had a dreadful year, don't give up as well, or we'll all have a pretty tough time this winter!!

It's always fun to grow veggies, it an be very hard work, and it certainly is not the cheap way to go - but oh, the taste and satisfaction of a plateful of food you produced yourself from seeds int he ground? Nothing, but nothing beats it!  Yes, there were indeed very few of those occasions this year - but the next year will be perfect for all crops.  Next year always is - go on give it a go, don't expect the world, keep it simple, and who knows - it might be a perfect year after all. 

10/11/2012 at 20:10

Hey Haggi, I would be very interested to hear where you have sourced the seeds for Up North? I dont't think there is a problem with posting the source I have seen many others and indeed the web link to such producers on this forum. I come to Silloth once a month and the conditions except for the salt in the air are very similar to mine on a very wet and windy hill on the outskirts of Carlisle.

11/11/2012 at 15:46

good old cumbrian weather frenscian, the real seed company is the source, they are based in pembroke, lots of interesting seeds, hope you find them usefull, nice helpful people, good luck

11/11/2012 at 20:15

Thanks for that haggi; really weird as I have just last year moved home after living in Pembrokeshire for 24yrs. I will look them up tomorrow and see what is on offer. Had our first sunny "all day!!" since it seems like forever today hope you had the same. Good gardening and thanks again.

12/11/2012 at 12:50

Yup !, bad year all round for Veg. I seem to have inadvertently invented several new dwarf varieties this year . Things have just been so wet for so long (plus the fact that sunlight hours were something like 25% behind average), that even the most experienced, (and previously succesfull) gardeners have drawn a blank. Dont give up. The only upside to a summer like we've just had is that next year can only be better (probably) and the rewards of eating your own organic, home grown veg that tastes better than anything you can buy from a supermarket, (I dont care what anybody says), makes all the hard work well worth it. Or you could just roll over, let our sorry summers beat you and admit defeat

12/11/2012 at 18:18

Same for me last year great crops of all I put in, this year total disaster, cabbage eaten by great fat caterpillers, tiny carrots, leeks that have grown only as big as spring onions. My potatoes did great and I had fantastic strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. next year I'm going to try peppers and garlic. So don't give up every year is different, I've only been growing my own veg for 3 years, so it's all trial and error, but I enjoy learning and theres nothing better than seeing a seed grow into something, even if it's tiny and hardley worth the effort

email image
11 messages