Tuesday 19 June 2012

The Frustrated Gardener

I am sure many of you will sympathize with that title.  Gardening here seems to be one long BATTLE.  The unusual weather patterns this spring have caused initial problems. I'd just got started digging and hoiking the grass out of the veg. plot when we had that sunny  - indeed, HOT - week  in March, when it came on to rain and grew cooler.  The odd day of warmer weather soon retarded to cold Easterly or Northerly winds.  The seeds I had optimistically started in March rotted in their trays, despite being in my little plastic greenhouse.  I started them again - and they still didn't appear, but the seed trays grew a good crop of Algae on the surface.  It was late May before I got to start my third lot of runner beans, and they finally grew in June and got planted.  It took two tries for the Courgettes to germinate.  I have planted them out in the past 10 days, and am now down to ONE plant -the others have been slugged.  So the spare plants I had grown (to sell - HAH!) are now being planted in buckets at the front of the house in the hope that the concrete paths and lack of hiding places will deter predators.

My friend Ann sent me a packet of Tomato seeds which were supposed to be blight-proof.  They didn't germinate.  I bought another packet, and neither did they.  I just put the trays on the side and left them, although they did get watered as I moved the watering can to the germinated trays of seeds either side.  FINALLY IN JUNE, with the hot spell of weather, they began to germinate . . .  So now I have a dozen or so plants which are potted on but way behind in the growing stakes.  I am going to keep them inside the greenhouse and hope that they will reward me.

The cool weather has done for the Blackurrants this year and we have a poor crop.  It was just too cool and wet when they had flowers out and not enough insects about to pollinate them.  However, the Gooseberries have done really well, and I have a brilliant crop to pick soon.  Ditto the Raspberries, Loganberries and young Boysenberry, and for once I have a decent showing on my one lonely Blueberry.  The Rhubarb has been sulking though, and I have had just two pickings from 5 plants.

Ah well.  Perhaps next year will be a better year . . .  Meanwhile, at least my French Beans have just broken through the soil.  Hope they don't make a lunch for the slugs when I plant them. . .

So, how does your garden grow this year?


  1. Not unlike yours BB. The supposedly blight free tomatoes are looking spindly in the greenhouse and will need more sunshine if they are to produce good fruit. Several courgette plants snapped off in the high winds and small slugs are making inroads into the strawberries, just before they ripen. We have had several home grown green salads though, so that`s a start! Hopefully we will soon have raspberries to pick.

    It makes me realise just how vulnerable the subsistence peasant farmers of the past used to be ( and still are in many areas of the world). At least we can top up our food supplies from markets and shops. In the Middle Ages, that was not such an easy thing to do. Hence the very real years of famine that they endured.

  2. I only have one runner bean plant left too and, because of our dry rot debacle, I didn't get round to planing any substitutes. I clapped my hands in glee as I saw my salad seedlings come up, only to be crushes when they'd all been eaten the next day. Everything else went by the wayside due to the upheaval so I'm in danger of having no crops whatsoever. They're even having a try at the rocket.

    Agree with DW - it must have been unbelievably difficult to survive in the past. I wonder what anti slug methods they employed?

  3. Tanya (Lovely Greens) sent me some bean seeds to try. Hers, in the Isle of Man, are doing well - mine have never come up. On digging down with my finger in the pot I find they have rotted off.
    The whold gardening thing has gone pear shaped.
    Incidentally, i love your rose header. What is its name? I have a very similar one from David Austin, called Alexander Girault. It is not out yet but then you are much further south.

  4. Hi BB

    Hope you are well. I too am pretty frustrated as I usually have lots of seeds on the go by this time.

    Been too much rain. If you would like to pop along to my blog there is something there for you to collect if you want to take part. I of course understand if you do not. The picture might help cheer you up it did me.

    Take care