A few honest questions

It’s March and I’m late!

However, like many growing enthusiasts, I am armed with my graph paper, a ruler, a pen, some coloured pencils, a multitude of seed packets and I’m drawing out this year’s crop plans with gusto!

For me this is one of the best bits. All my hopes and dreams, on paper,  liberated from slugs, black fly, white fly, squirrels, pigeons and any other critter that regularly devour my beloved crops throughout the year.

Before I commit pen to paper this year though, I’ve decided to ask myself a few honest questions;

  1. What worked well last year and why?
  2. What didn’t work well last year and why?
  3. What did we eat?
  4. What went to waste or the compost bin?
  5. What do we actually like to eat?
  6. What do we need to grow more of?
  7. What is expensive to buy that we can easily grow?
  8. What just tastes better home grown?

So what worked well….

  • Pumpkins
  • Raspberries
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Spring onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Sunflowers
  • Apples
  • Black currents
  • Alpine strawberries
  • Herbs
  • Rhubarb
  • Growing my own flowers
  • Making my own willow obelisk

The 2016 Awards for “What didn’t go so well?”

The Style Over Substance Award

  • The winner is the very pretty but tasteless Patty Pan. There are much better yellow squash, courgettes out there

The Woodiest Vegetable Award

  • The winner is the Beetroot. Sadly I think I sowed too late in the year and they never developed

The School Girl Error Award

  • The Leeks won easily, I totally forgot to net them at the end of the year and the allium leek minors had a field day

The Right Veg, Wrong Place Award

  • Is awarded to the lettuce. Too sunny, too shady, too hot, too cold, too dry, you name it they suffered it!

The Natural Disaster Award

We have five contenders here which all deserve this award although my personal disappointment were the Czar beans as I was growing them for my hubbie!

  • The International Kidney potatoes succumbed to blight in a BIG way
  • Broad beans provided a tasty treat for the first black fly of the season. Plague proportions descended on plot 27 and there was no turning back after that
  • Brussels and PSB, succumbed to another plague of white fly and mealy bugs. NOTHING stopped them and the incinerator is where they ended up
  • Czar beans, my poor beans. All I’m saying is when I popped the dried beans in the jar in preparation for my winter soups and stews they looked fab and a couple of weeks later the jar was filled with black beetles
  • Chillies decimated by slugs. Who knew slugs love a habanero!

What were the near misses?

  • Parsnips were great but I was not strict with my thinning out and I had way too many small tiddlers
  • My late sowings of carrots were annihilated by squirrels
  • Cucumbers yielded little during a cold June and then I discovered I’d planted them in the shade of the climbing pumpkins
  • French beans, those pesky slugs gobbled my beans by slithering up and across from the over langing potatoes plants. It took me WEEKS to work this out. These are slugs with intelligence, beware!

What went to waste or the compost bin?

  • Patty Pan squash
  • Spindly parsnips that were too small to scrub!
  • Woody beetroot

What do we actually like to eat?

  • We learnt how to make tomato bravas sauce and now have it all the time
  • We got into juicing and now have one everyday
  • Potatoes are still my favourite!

What do we want to grow more of?

  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Beetroot
  • Yellow courgettes
  • Soft fruit
  • What is expensive to buy that we can easily grow?
  • Pumpkins
  • Kale
  • PSB
  • Purple carrots
  • Soft fruit

What just tastes better home grown?

For me it’s potatoes, tomatoes, sweetcorn, strawberries, raspberries cucumbers…. this list may take a while so I’ll stop!

Now that I have my list of questions, I’ve started using them elsewhere in the kitchen!

I’ve also decide to make more humus, make a freeze potato bravas sauce and pumpkin curry. I’ve stopped buying large jars of curry paste and leaving half empty jars in the back of the fridge never to be seen again and I’ve bought some stay fresh bags!

More on my plot plan to come!



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