Yesterday, I was talking to the manager of our local park, and he reckons everything is about a month behind this year. This chimed with me, as I’ve been getting worried about the slow progress of my veg. Everything feels well adrift from where it should be.
Normally I’m panicking about getting everything out by the beginning of June, but not this year. My tomatoes are still only a few inches high and the squashes and courgettes are still small. I did put some French beans went out this week, and boy are they sulking about it. Times are tough.
Well, at least I think they are…
Looking Back to 2012
I decided to have a look back at a previous couple of years to find out how 2013 compares, and rather than compound my misery, I was pleasantly surprised at my findings.
Almost to the day last year, I wrote a post entitled ‘Cold, Wet and Well Behind’, bemoaning frosts, chilly soil, and temperatures colder than Christmas Day. I’m told this year has been unseasonably cold so far this year, but somehow last season’s similar conditions have been erased from my memory.
Beets, Broad Beans, Peas and Perpetual Spinach
In the post, I also grumbled about the non-germination of my beetroot and perpetual spinach, two reliable veg that I described as ‘…gimmes of the vegetable world’. I said the soil was still cold, and this was why they hadn’t shown. This year’s April beets have germinated, and by sowing perpetual spinach undercover and planting out seedlings, I’ve got 2-inch plants in the ground. So, despite my concerns, I’m ahead on beets and perpetual spinach compared to last year.
The same can be said of my broad beans. Having cocked up and planted these out days before a dump of snow, I’ve been really worried about not only the health of my broadies, but the speed in which they were growing. Yet, last year I only had a few flowers on them in mid-May and this year’s vintage already has lots of flowers on every plant.
The peas were bugging me in 2012 too. In Cold, Wet, and Well Behind, I was anxious that they were only a foot high. I ended up with a good crop despite this, but even more reassuring is that this year’s mangetout and peas are several feet high. The Essex Star (pictured) are doing particularly well.
Back in 2011, it was the dry weather causing concern. My rhubarb had flopped, things were getting leggy and growing way too fast. According to my Money Saving Spreadsheet, I was harvesting sage, mint, chives, rhubarb, and salad leaves from the new season’s sowings – all things I’ve picked this May too.
I haven’t been blessed with any strawbs or potatoes this month like I was in May 2011, but I was late getting my potatoes in, and the strawberries all have flowers on them, so they’re coming. I didn’t harvest a broad bean until well into June either.
That’s my Real Men Sow pep talk. After a few weeks of worry, it turns out that things aren’t anywhere near as bad as I thought. It’s funny, I always talk about a ‘bad year’ or a ‘tough year’ and sometimes even a ‘good year’, when maybe most are just ‘a year’.
Everything grows eventually, but some years are slower than others. I must remember that. I just wish my tomatoes would get a wriggle on