Next week marks the changing of the clocks, and for me, the time when I tend to do most of my plot reflecting.
I got ahead of myself today, however, whilst harvested my butternut squashes and digging over the bed and began pondering the summer that’s just been.
And do you know what? I think it’s been a tough year on the plot.
Nothing has really clicked this summer. Things started positively with an acceptable strawberry harvest and a few chunky rhubarb stems, but since then, lots of my fruit and veg has been a challenge.
Blackfly on the Broadies and Runners, Low Squash Numbers
The broad beans quickly developed blackfly, despite being overwintered plants and therefore supposedly less susceptible to the sticky pest. Blackfly soon spread to the nearby runners, and although I beat them, the plants definitely seemed less productive than usual.
The squashes only provided 5 from 4 plants, which again is disappointing compared to previous years. Normally I look for at least 2 fruits per plant.
The (not so) Reliables
Even the regular reliables, such as leeks, haven’t played ball this year. I followed my normal leek planting method, but the leeks have grown spindly (pictured) and the fat ones are few and far between. This may have been to do with being crowded out by one of my few successes this summer – the pink fir apple potato row which provided a smashing harvest for the little space it took.
French beans, another dependable, were poor too. I cannot fathom why the harvests on these plants were below par, as they are normally so productive that I end up freezing bags and bags of the beans. The only thing I did differently was plant in a block rather than a row, but I can’t see how that could have had such an effect on the yield.
And my favourite beetroot variety, the lovely and uniform Cylindra, hasn’t been great either. They’ve grown very slowly and I’ve only harvested a fistful so far, although I’m hoping that if I pop a cloche over the remaining beets they’ll grow some more before winter really arrives.
Better Luck Next Year…
I have no idea why the veg has struggled, and it’s not just me, either. Chatting to plot holders at the allotments, and other people on Twitter and this year has not lived up to their expectations either. The weather has been up and down, but maybe I should just take the Buddhist approach and accept that’s just the way it went this year. We can put the plot to bed for a few months, and try again come 2016.
How have you found 2015? Has the allotment proved tricky or you this year, or has it been a roaring success?