Is the second week of August mid-summer? Can I call it that?
Anyway, I thought the time right to put together a Patch from Scratch crop update. So far, the patch has been a little hit and miss, but I had to expect that. The soil hadn’t been used for growing in many years, and adapting to a small area was always going to be a challenge after the allotment.
The Good – Beetroot, Celeriac, Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and Squashes
I’ve grown these Cylindra beets for the first time, which have made a nice change from the normal round varieties. At first, I wasn’t sure, but now I rather like the long, spherical, and easy to slice beet.
I started celeriac off in the greenhouse in February, in seed trays. They took weeks to germinate, but they eventually reached a few centimetres high and I planted them out. They’ve asked for a lot of water, but the roots are swelling and I’m really happy with how this crop is looking.
The pink fir apple potatoes have taken up more room than I’d have liked, but once again they appear to be a potato that provides true bang for the buck. I can’t wait to harvest them and see just how many of the beautifully nobbly tatties are hiding in the soil.
I have vertically growing butternut squashes!
I haven’t been able to train all of the plants up my old football net structure, but I have succeeded with some. There are lots of good size squashes forming around the plot, and this is a relief to me. Squashes are one of the most important vegetables I grow, as they save me a lot of money and will keep through the winter months.
Honourable Mentions: Strawberries, lettuces, cucumbers, courgettes, carrots.
The Bad – French Beans, Perpetual Spinach and Spring Onions
Oddly, two of the most reliable crops I grow have given me grief this year. My French beans began to crop, but after a couple of weeks the beans went very floppy and the leaves turned a browny colour. I think these plants went in too early, and although yet to crop, the second sowing is looking much healthier.
My perpetual spinach went to seed really early too. I can only blame the weather here. I pulled the plants up and resowed, and hopefully, the new crop will be ready for the winter.
One day, I will succeed with spring onion. All I want is one. I’m told spring onions are one of the easiest veg to grow, so if anyone out there can shed some light for me, it’d be very much appreciated!
Other Baddies: gooseberries and blackcurrants weren’t as productive as usual, but this is their first year after a move.
The Ugly – Brassicas, Peas and Broad Beans
The pests have been the instigators of my uglies this year. My brassicas – PSB, cavolo nero, sprouts, and beloved curly kale have been absolutely decimated by the cabbage white butterflies. This has really got me down! I was in a genuine grump yesterday, which led my wife to say ‘you’re in a mood because of your veg patch, aren’t you?’.
To cheer myself up, here’s a picture of the kale and cavolo nero, looking beautifully healthy before the butterflies came.
For the first time, I suffered from pea moth. I harvested a couple of kilos of mangetout, and a bowlful of peas before the moths took hold. After this, all my pods were filled with little maggots.
There seemed a lot of blackflies around during spring and early summer as well. They quickly took hold of my broad beans, and I had a running battle to keep the little critters off my courgette and French bean plants too. Hot water mixed with a squirt of washing up liquid helped defeat the small outbreaks.
So, an interesting year to date. I’ve had more good than bad, but somehow those uglies have overshadowed everything!
What is doing well for you? What are your good, bad, and uglies?