Sunday, 27 September 2009

This gardening lark is harder than it looks

If it was 1942 and we were reliant on the produce from our garden to get through the lean rationing years, then I think we'd starve. This has been a far from successful year for my gardening. I'm not sure what I did wrong, although I'll make some guesses. Feel free to contribute.

The onions and the garlic

At the start of March, I bought a bag of 100 onion sets. I planted out 50 in April, which was a bit late but it was the first weekend when it wasn't raining. By mid August, the "flags" (the onion leaves) had fallen over and died off, so I unearthed them. Out of 50, less than half survived. Of those that survived, the majority were smaller than a golf ball. I really don't know what I did wrong - they were watered every night that it didn't rain.

The garlic were cursed from the start. I bought three starter-bulbs (what do you call them?) at the same time as I bought the onion sets. I had to bin most of the cloves before I planting out - they were covered in mould. Instead, I planted out some sprouting garlic that I had in the veggie basket. From 12 cloves, I have just unearthed 5 marble sized bulbs of garlic.

Did I plant the onions and garlic out too late? Was that the problem? Or didn't they get enough water, even though they got 2-3 watering cans worth every night?

Broad Beans

I know I planted the broad beans out too late. From the first batch of seeds in April, I got one seedling. The seeds were old. So in early May, I started again and planted them out 3 weeks later. In early June, we got the big invasion of black fly - at the first sign, I got online and ordered ladybird larvae.

The larvae arrived over a week later. From the look of things, most were dead before they got here. We carefully decanted them onto the broad beans, but the damage had been done. We got maybe a dozen beans from the crop. (Two years ago, I planted out the same number of bean plants and got a couple of pounds of beans.)

I'm going to try potting up some broad bean seeds now and over-wintering them covered in fleece. Maybe that will work and beat the black fly?

The courgettes

I mentioned earlier in the year that only one courgette survived (the other was snipped off at ground level by some nasty bug). For a long time, I thought the plant wouldn't survive. It just sat there for weeks with two or three small leaves and didn't get any bigger. Finally, it came good but unlike the first time I grew courgettes when they started cropping in June, this one didn't commence cropping until the start of August!

The sweetcorn

Eight corn survived planting out and grew. Six of them formed cobs. I managed to harvest three. I caught a fox eating the rest!

The potatoes

I had high hopes for these. We finished earthing up at the end of June and they had a healthy crop of leaves growing until a couple of weeks ago, when they started dying back. Tonight, DH and I unearthed our crop. Twenty potatoes. None larger than the palm of my hand and most of them smaller than a golf ball. What did I do wrong?

Fennel and pumpkin

I thought I got the timing for the fennel spot on, since I planted it out the day after they told me to on Gardeners' World. From two 18-inch drills of seeds, I got two seedlings and, nearly three months later, neither is more than three inches high.

The pumpkin is even worse, so doesn't deserve a section on its own. [sigh]

- Pam (So what did I do wrong?)


amy said...

I wish I knew! I planted much less, and didn't fare much better. I've simply reinforced what I already knew: I don't like gardening. I'd rather do almost anything else, and then go to the farmer's market. And I've decided that's fine, because someone needs to support the local small farms! In the spring I have an urge to dig, but throughout the summer it was just drudgery, for very little gain. So perhaps next spring I'll just dig a big hole with the boys--they like to dig too!

Mother of Chaos said...

Oh no! That's just not fair!

I mean, I know Nature doesn't really "do" fair, but STILL!

(My verification is 'obodder,' which seems pretty appropriate, actually...)