I particularly enjoyed the post over at The Anxious Gardener all about the mistakes made. I don’t think we could call ourselves gardeners if these sort of things didn’t happen to us. In fact, I think we are one of the groups of people that like to learn by doing and that means mistakes!
I curse the day I planted Vinca Major in a difficult part of the garden. It didn’t stay there and now occupies a large part of the back border, including working its way up a 5ft bank and competing with nettles and brambles.
Or there is the year I used plastic string in the polytunnel to hold my tomatoes up. I had about 50 and the string gave way on all of them on the same day. It looked like a giant had stepped on them.
What about the time I stood on top of my compost heap, got my foot caught in a bramble and fell headfirst down to the bottom of the section that I had dug out.
How about the time I dug some weeds up from inside the fruit cage and speared a mouse on my fork. I did scream a little bit! My allotment backs on to houses and so I have a lot of cats about and they seem to catch the mice and leave them lying around for me nowadays.
There was also the year I mulched the whole plot in fresh manure and everything was eaten by slugs that were hidden in and under the clumps of manure.
And finally, my most expensive error was to not go down and clear the snow off the top of my polytunnel. It buckled and caved in and I spent the next three years bent double inside it until I could afford a new one.
Have you ever made a mistake? Do tell!
You know what it is like. You take your eye off a plant – a helianthemum – for 5 years (!) and it outgrows its allotted space. You have half an hour so you think you will just pop out and give it a quick trim. Ha!
The first thing you find is that the local cats have been using the top of your much loved Helianthemum as a toilet. It is after all quite cold at the moment and who would want to put their little botty near the cold floor when there is a nice, cushion-shaped plant near by. So, you clear that up which is not easy and then continue.
You then decide to put the clippings into the dalek compost bin only to find that rats have taken up residence. It is cold after all. So you tip it over, spread it out and make a lot of shrieking noises just to scare them off and put the clippings on the big, open compost bins. You do however, see some suspicious holes in the big bin.
You then have a good idea! You prune a holly bush and stick the twigs of holly in the helianthemum to keep the delicate little bottys off ! And it has only taken an hour.
One thing I am very pleased with though is my bowl of salad in an unheated greenhouse. I planted the pot up in early November. I don’t keep records (but I might make it my New Year’s Resolution to do just that) so I am not quite sure when, but we have had a picking each week from it throughout December and now into January. I just pick the outer leaves, leaving the growing inner leaves and they seem to have replenished a week later. I will definitely be growing more of these pots next year. I found some old polystyrene boxes in a recent clear out of the garage and they would be fantastic being slightly insulated. In the pot there is Little Gem lettuce, Mustard – which seems to be taking over and needs more frequent picking – Catalogne lettuce (I think!), fennel and coriander. There have been several mornings when I have looked at them and they have been very droopy. It is quite cold after all, but they have all recovered as the greenhouse has warmed up. So, salad with tea tonight.
What have you harvested recently?
I have just finished listing all of the seeds I have for 2018 and am just wondering if I have too many. Of course I do but there is always something new that catches my eye. Here are this year’s new seeds:
Chinese Cabbage Scarlette
I saw this on Our Happy Acres on the posts that list what they harvest every Monday. I have not grown Chinese Cabbage before but what really drew me was the colour! I got the seed from Simply Seeds and I understand that they are best grown in the autumn so something to sow in June. The packets says that they are frost hardy, not that we get a lot of frosts down here on the south coast.
I am not entirely sure how you cook Chinese cabbage. Stir fry? However, good ol’ BBC food has a selection here to get me going.
Lettuce Pigale Pills
I think I might have a bit of a thing for red vegetables this year. This is a Little Gem type of lettuce that is said to be sweet-tasting and has good resistance to bolting, tipburn and mildew – all of which I need. The interweb says that it can be sown from March to July so can be grown over a fairly long time span, the later ones probably better off outside rather than in the polytunnel. We eat a lot of salads in the summer – have you seen the list of lettuce I grow on the page at the side? We eat tons – tons I tell you! This will add colour to the salad bowl.
No this is not a red cabbage – ha! This is a cabbage for early spring to be sown in July or August. I can never grow enough of these so I am going to try this one outside and in the polytunnel to try and stagger the harvest. The thing that attracted me was the description that it grows well in well-drained soil and that is definitely what we have on our plots. Some might call it sand. The 5cm of compost/manure I am adding to each bed every year as part of no-dig growing is starting to ameliorate this but I thought it was worth a try.
I can not lie! I know what I like in tomatoes and it is Black Russian, also known as Noir Crimee, Costoluto, Sungold, Tigerella and St Pierre and I have grown these every year for the last 6 or 7 years. I do also like to throw in Green Zebra every now and then and will do so this year just to give a range of colours. This year I am trying out a couple of new varieties just to see how they taste and crop – taste being the most important thing. This year it is Rosella and Zlatava. Why have I picked them? That is a really good question. I have to admit that it was more stick a pin in the page than a careful, thoughtful choice but she who dares wins as they say. Kings describe Rosella as a deep-pink cherry tomato (nearly red!) with the taste of blackberries, raspberries and other summer fruits. I couldn’t resist but I am a little doubtful. I will of course update you. Zlatava is orange on the outside and guess what colour on the inside? I thought they might be an interesting. Kings do say that they have an excellent flavour. We shall see.
What are you growing that is new to you this year?