new favourite beetroot variety

My Veggie Growing Highs and Lows of 2013, Part Two

highs and lows of 2013

In July, something amazing happened. I cancelled my veg box delivery.

Since last year, I’d been relying on the super Sarah Green’s Organics to keep me in vegetables, but from July I had enough produce of my own. This might not sound much, but to finally be harvesting in earnest from my own veg patch made me very proud. I’d gone from overgrown mess to productive kitchen garden in under a year.

My July harvest included rhubarb, radish, salad, carrots, beets, broad beans, strawberries, gooseberries, mangetout, courgette, potatoes, cucumbers, chard, and peas.

The Moth Trap Diaries
I borrowed my dad’s moth trap in July to try and gauge the local population, and maybe pick up a few of the more intriguing night-flying moths. I was surprised at the beautiful species that frequented my town garden but became most excited by a Garden Tiger Moth (pictured).

These moths are rather nostalgic for me, as they are responsible for my moth bothering tendencies. When me and my brother were kids, dad used to set a trap and we’d excitedly rush to check it before school. One morning we had 9 of these, and I’ve loved moths ever since.

The Brassica Massacre
August was a disaster, with the influx of cabbage white butterflies and the ensuing Brassica Massacre. The less said the best, but always listen to your wife. Especially when she says ‘you really need to net your brassicas, the cabbage white is all over them’. Repeatedly. I lost all my sprouts, PSB, cavolo nero, and kale, which were all looking beautifully healthy before the butterflies arrived.

I Grew a Melon!
As summer faded, I ticked off another veg from my Must Grow list. I harvested a melon, and boy was I happy about it. Little old me, grew something as tropical and worldly as a melon!

highs and lows

Melons were my experiment this year. I try to grow something different every summer, and this year my new greenhouse offered the chance to grow some heat-loving plants.

Cylindra Beetroot
Growing new veg and discovering fresh varieties is always exciting, and in October I harvested Cylindra beetroot. They were a bargain buy from the allotment shop at 85p, and being a lovely, elongated tubular shape, these beets were a joy to slice and use. As well as the unique shape, the skin is shiny and smooth and the colour deep and red making them a really attractive vegetable.

growing highs and lows

Returning to the Allotments
2013 had largely been about working out how much time I could commit to veg growing now I have a family. With my mum moving nearby, we decided to take on an allotment together again. I reckon sharing allotment duties with mum, whilst keeping some veg in the garden will allow me the time to do both.

Plot 150B is overgrown, weedy, and is going to take some hard graft to turn it around, but I’m over the moon. I never knew I could get so excited about a big block of weeds.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the allotments. Having veg in my garden is so convenient and wandering out the back door to tinker is wonderful, but I have missed the allotment. I’ve missed comparing crops, the camaraderie, and that buzz as you walk through the gate.

The grand plan is to grow crops that need regular attention in my garden and keep low maintenance stuff like potatoes and fruit on the new allotment. During November and December, I set about putting raised beds in my garden, and clearing the new allotment in time to implement my low maintenance plot plan…

growing highs and lows of 2013

2013 has been a year of experimentation in many ways like I’ve been working out what I can and can’t do. 2014 stands to be an exciting one, especially now I’m back on the allotment with my mum.

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and following Real Men Sow. It’s an awesome feeling to share growing gossip and chat with other gardeners out there.

Happy New Year everyone, and may all 2014 your soil be fertile.

Jono.

3 thoughts on “My Veggie Growing Highs and Lows of 2013, Part Two”

  1. Congrats on being able to cancel your veg box- a big achievement. I’m hoping I might be able to do the same in 2014.

    That Cylindra beetroot looks really good, and maybe an easier one to cut up when cooking?

    Sorry to hear about the Brassica Massacre, though it did make me laugh… I found in the past that I had to net my brassica’s from the moment they germinated if I wanted to get any. Don’t know if Sheffield will be different to Oxford, but I don’t think I’ll take the risk and avoid my own massacre.

    Good luck for 2014 – may the growing force be with you

  2. Good luck with the allotment for next year; how lovely to have your mother to share it. I have a greenhouse now and look forward to using it: already have a tray of broad beans there – what’s next? Btw, do the cylindra beetroot have a decent flavour? Happy new year to you and all those gardeners out there.

  3. Thanks Sparrowgrass!

    The cylindra do have a decent flavour – I found that they didn’t get earthy like the more conventional varieties. Well worth a try. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.