Real Men Sow

High Summer: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Part 3: Ugly


‘Yes Lewis.’
‘Do you know why you haven’t got many tomatoes in your greenhouse?’
‘No Lewis.’
`‘Because you haven’t been sideshooting them.’
‘Have you been talking to granny?’

5 year olds eh. Think they know everything.

The photo is of my rather embarrassing greenhouse. I’m so embarrassed by the contents of this greenhouse that when we go on holiday in a couple of weeks time, I’m not even going to ask the neighbours to return the favour and water the plants inside.

I’m sure I did sideshoot the tomatoes. I certainly sideshooted some, but clearly not enough if you listen to Lewis and my mum. The result is a jungle of out of shape tomato plants taking over but not actually producing many fruits.

Too Much in the Greenhouse!
I planted 2 bush tomatoes and 2 normal plants, but with hindsight this is too much in the space, especially if like me you also decided to plant an aubergine, 2 cucumbers, 2 basil, a chilli and a butternut squash. Yes, you read that right – I thought it a good idea to plant a butternut squash in my greenhouse.

The squash plant did fruit, and I found the fruit hanging over the back of one of the maincrop tomatoes, subsequently snapping the top of the stem in half.

Inconsistent Watering
What’s more, I don’t think I’ve watered well enough. The problem with my garden is that it is on a hill. There is a steep set of steps to get up there, and then once you’re on the lawn, an incline all the way to the back where the greenhouse is. I also have no outside tap, so I have to fill the watering cans from the kitchen and lug them from there.

After a day at work, I have to confess that I’ve been lazy and watering has definitely not been consistent. That’s a slap on the wrist and a must do better for next year.

The lack of watering has certainly affected the cucumbers. Whilst I’ve had a crop, the plants finished way earlier than they should have done and this has been due to lack of water.

Listen To My Own Advice!
So clearly the greenhouse is this Summer’s Ugly. Very ugly in fact, and particularly galling when I refer back to my current most popular post of all time, 8 Beginner’s Tips for Greenhouse Growing, where tip number 4 proudly says:

Keep the greenhouse neat and tidy

I’m passing on this tip because I’m rubbish at doing it. I wish I was tidier, I really do. Trouble is, I put things down and think ‘I’ll move that later’. I do this in the house too. Typical man.

Take it from me, keeping the greenhouse tidy is important as you’ll want as much room as possible when seed sowing really kicks off. You’ll want space on the potting bench to manoeuvre compost and pots, and you’ll need somewhere to put the pots when you’ve sown seeds in them.

After a season of not having a greenhouse, I now also remember that I’ll want as much room as possible for planting out as well as seed sowing.

It Doesn’t Take Much For Things To Go Wrong
It’s a funny old thing, growing your own veg. You think you’ve got everything nailed, with a solid blueprint in place for consistent, year-on-year growing but it doesn’t take much to knock everything well out of sync: forgetting to do something, a slight lack of commitment, unexpected weather – it could be anything. Let something slip right at the beginning though, and it’s often very tricky to turn things around.

Especially if you don’t sideshoot your tomatoes, but then I guess it is one good way of managing a glut!


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  1. @cavershamjjAugust 20, 2018 at 6:35 pmReply

    Excellent glut prevention! This has been a very odd year weather wise hasn’t it? I also have a disappo8nting tomato crop. I got lazy with the sideshooting and also the feeding. The rest of the plot is very mixed as well, a cold spring and then a hot dry summer has made it very hard to manage. A tough year all round. Your tale of woe has made me feel a little less inadequate about mine! Cheers, There’s always next year…

  2. Jono

    JonoAugust 20, 2018 at 7:31 pmReplyAuthor

    Glad I’m not the only one! Agree on the weather – I’ve had other excellent crops, such as beets and mangetout, but toms not so great.

    The beauty of blogging, wallowing in our woe together! :)

    • @cavershamjjAugust 20, 2018 at 7:53 pmReply

      Bit worried now that I might have blight on the tomato plants. not sure. Cpuld just be malnutrition. Hope so. If blight i shant be doing tomatoes again,waste of time. Till next year…

  3. @cavershamjjAugust 20, 2018 at 7:54 pmReply

    Bit worried now that I might have blight on the tomato plants. not sure. Cpuld just be malnutrition. Hope so. If blight i shant be doing tomatoes again,waste of time. Till next year…

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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