Soo – it looks like the last time I posted something about my little patch was 24th of July…hopeful for much still to come and just recovering from a brief stint away down South.
What’s happened since then? Let me see if I can tell you in 5 photos!
Just like Cathy, I have been diligently weighing all my produce to submit my results to the Grow@Home survey at the end of October. As of today, my harvest comes to almost 10.5 kg! My results are significantly less impressive than Cathy’s – but I was still pleasantly surprised at how much I have managed to harvest since last spring (considering the poor showing by mid-summer about which I wrote in my last blog). The weightiest vegetable was, surprise, surprise, the gluttonous courgette. The greatest disappointment – my tatties. As I predicted based on the first bag harvest in July, each of the varieties harvested since produced a mere handful of tubers. Almost enough to make me rethink doing them again…there so much soil carting and shifting involved for such a meager and fickle reward…
The vegetable I was most proud of is my outdoors cucumber which managed to squeeze out two lovely fruit for me, despite a lack of shelter and continuing snailaggedon (it’s sister sadly did succumb to the snails). I devoured many more of this variety and others grown in the Community Garden’s polytunnel where they did really well (and some from Cathy’s garden too). They all tasted so deliciously different from your run-of-the-mill, plastic-sheethed telegraphs you get at the shops around here. Although the local telegraphs from the Forgan roundabout strawberry shack are not half bad…
My mid-summer salad sowings worked really well. The cut-and-come-agains are still going strong on the balcony, and I am giving my 5 raddiccios a couple more weeks to fill in before tucking into them. The real winners though – on taste, slug resistance and productivity – are still the pea shoots. The supermarket-bought marrow peas I got from Cathy turned out to be particularly juicy and lush! Radish sprouts and nasturtium flowers come as close seconds. The marigolds started looking a bit manky shortly after bursting into flower so I have removed them now. Unsure that I will repeat at them the same scale next year as I also never ended up eating the flowers.
To my delight, where last year there were only slugs and snails I started finding lots of other ‘wildlife’ under my pots in the drying green. I was particularly pleased with the large number of earthworms and the swarms of garden beetles. Earthworms are fabulously good for the soil and the beetles, those infamous garden tigers, should be able to take care of the pesky garden snails for me from now on! I think it means that the soil is recovering from being herbicided to death over the years. Pleasingly, there have been also loads of bumblebees (and an odd butterfly – wasn’t it a strange year for them?) on the nasturtiums and the poppies. One negative – the blackbirds from the nearby towering hedge which are in the process of ripping up a lawn. In search of letherjackets, I presume. Do you think feeding them would stop the destruction?
I don’t want to stop growing for winter – and the insanely warm weather a couple of weeks ago made it easy to germinate and establish things before it cools down for good (sorry, climate change, but I like this bit)!
Yet again, I was inspired by the Vertical Veg’s suggestions for winter container crops. That’s it – I was set on having some of those winter salads and kales! I rummaged through my seed collection, but I soon realised I *really*needed to go shopping;) Real Seeds seemed a natural choice – and they did not disappoint with their interesting selection of oriental greens and winter salads. So now I have some established cavolo nero and silver beet from old seed I’d sown a couple of months ago, along with the rocket from the seed I collected at the Cafe Garden last year. I added a couple of mizunas, three types of mustard, claytonia, corn salad, tatsoi and purple sprouting greens in a sowing a week or so ago. A good use for my tattie soil, supplemented with a little of slow release organic fertiliser. They’d all managed to germinate before the cold snap…I now probably should think of reviving my little polytunnel to keep them cozy during those nasty cold nights!
That’s me for now – I will report back in a couple of months! In the meantime I would love to hear any Tayport winter growing stories from you:)