As September draws on, I thought that I would have a quick look back at some of our gardening projects, and see what worked and what didn’t. We have been trying to keep up recording our experiences in the garden diary, but that has been a rather patchy affair. I’ve just had a peek and discovered that the last entry was in July (thankfully it was at least July 2014 so it’s not as bad as it might have been). I felt compelled to scribble a brief note for yesterday’s date so honour was reasonably satisfied.
Now for the 2014 season garden round up chez nous:
Firstly, I will get the ‘non shows’ out of the way. We bought an aubergine and a pepper plant from Homebase and potted them up for the front garden. I know that this is crazily optimistic without a heated green house, but we have had some modest success in the past. Sadly, not this year; we didn’t grow even the tiniest pepper or aubergine. Well, a couple did begin to develop but fell prey to some strange munching creature. The same creature munched many of the Livingstone Daisies and the cowslip seeds failed to germinate. Overall however, this year was much better than last year, as early in the season a rogue wind blew over the mini greenhouse, scattering and damaging the contents of several seed trays.
Without doubt, our best success this summer has been our two pots of runner bean plants from which we have picked several portions. Last year we did well with broad beans, so there’s a compelling argument for going almost completely over to bean production. I wouldn’t say that we have produced a gargantuan crop, but we have had plenty of beans to add to our cooking. The red flowering plants are also an attractive feature in the spring. They do need some firm tying up however and you have to watch the pots in windy weather when they get top heavy. We also sowed mange tout later in the season after reading an article in (I think) the Irish Times gardening pages. We only made up one pot but have been picking pea pods until today and still should have more to come.
Our potato variety this year as I have mentioned before was Blue Danube, bought from a very nice garden centre in Blessington. The resulting potatoes look more purple skinned than blue, but very appealing; the flesh inside is very white. In the last couple of years, we have planted potatoes in bags rather than in the border. We had three bags made up and have one left to harvest. I never feel that we do as well as we could with potatoes, but despite this, I like to grow them. We have had a go at some different varieties and we enjoy trying something new each year. Maybe next year we will manage to harvest a bumper crop.
In troughs and pots, we have grown spinach, baby carrots and leeks. We’ve been using carrots thinnings and picking spinach leaves during the summer. The leeks are still too small to pick. We grew them in a trough, aiming for a baby leek crop but there is still a way to go yet. A couple of years ago we decided to move from standard tomatoes to the cherry varieties, and this has worked well. We had two baskets of tumbler tomatoes hung on the frame of the swing and most of them have ripened. Thankfully, I won’t need my green tomato chutney recipe this year. I did find this year that it was harder to keep the baskets moist, so I think I need to improve the linings for next year. I have previously mentioned the strawberry plants that we have had for several years. We are finally going to bite the bullet and dig up and divide them ready for next year as it’s about time that job was done. Some of the plants are looking quite tired and I can see offshoots that will pot up nicely. One of the many jobs that needs to be done before the winter!
I think that covers most of the vegetables and I hope to talk a little about our herb growing experiments another time. We’ll let you know what we‘re planning to grow in the garden next year as soon as we’ve made some plans.
How has your garden grown this year? Do tell us…