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Reflections on the season, 2014

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default Reflections on the season, 2014

Post by Chilli-head on 11th September 2014, 8:22 pm

It is a bit early perhaps, but I feel that autumn is in the air, and I dug the maincrop potatoes yesterday. But mostly I'm prompted by Ploshkin's question about how my tomatoes did with their scant watering.

First off, I should say it was an odd season for me; a family holiday to Florida at Easter, right in the middle of planting season, meant a lot of things didin't quite happen as normal.

Tomatoes went in a bit early, so they would be in their final positions before we went away. And initially at least, the weather played ball and I got the earliest start to cropping I've ever had. Then nighttime temperatures dropped, and two trusses on each plant set hardly any fruit. Terrible overall yield.

Peppers and chillies followed a similar pattern, little fruit. The long pointed peppers - especially Lipstick from the seed swap, gave a good result. Mulato did well too.

So what did well ? Need I say courgettes Verde d'Italia, and the greenhouse cucumbers. Pumpkins did well, but not many butternuts. Don't understand that.

Fruit of most kinds did well. Plenty of apples, which I should have thinned more. Quite a few strawberries and raspberries. Also a few grapes, which the birds enjoyed before I got to Crying or Very sad

Final thing to note - I have really good results from potatoes and carrots. Normally they are both badly hit by slugs, but this year I had very few damaged tubers. I am convinced now that Nemaslug, from BASF (they recently bought Becker Underwood) does indeed work as advertised - two applications seem to have really helped. It did take three sowings of carrots to get them established though - the first two mysteriously disappeared. So I went overboard with the number I sowed the third time - now I will be eating carrot soup for some time to come !

So what did well and not so well for you ?
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default Re: Reflections on the season, 2014

Post by Dandelion on 12th September 2014, 12:08 pm

Later brassicas had a lot of trouble from cabbage white, despite being covered with enviromesh. (The cauliflowers were very tall, and I think the mesh must have got pulled off the ground thus leaving a gap for the little blighters to get in.) French climbing beans were good, but my runners (Painted lady) are only just producing the beginnings of a reasonable crop at the moment. Hopefully we'll have a couple of frost-free weeks, and we should be eating the beans.
I had the same problem as most other people who grew outdoor tomatoes this year - probably because of the colder August the tomatoes just wouldn't go red. I'm ripening them in the kitchen by the bowl of bananas, and that's fine, but Amish salad are a bit on the woolly side, and the Italian pear shaped tomatoes (?) just won't ripen wherever I put them! I don't ever seem to have much success with any tomato with 'Amish' in its name - it's probably just not plain enough in our garden!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Reflections on the season, 2014

Post by Ploshkin on 12th September 2014, 3:01 pm

Dandelion, if the mesh was touching the leaves the butterflies will have laid the eggs through the mesh.  I found that to my cost last year so have used a 4' high cage with butterfly netting this year - but haven't seen any butterflies.

My own season -
Excellent cherry tomatoes & for the first time ever Sungold has been out performed - 2 varieties, Black Cherry & Fence Row have been amazing & will be repeated.  Cucumbers did well after feeding  advice from CH.  Had a Kilner jar full of gherkins from the greenhouse but nothing from outside.  A fantastic supply of courgettes from 3 varieties.  Squashes are ok but very few fruits.  Carrots, like CH took 3 attempts to get going but are now really good, parsnips a complete no show.  All peas/beans desperately slow to form pods but Mr Fearn's Purple (not) Podded are the stars & I will definitely be saving some seed.  Brussel  sprouts & winter cabbages are looking good but calabrese & pak choi have been a bit rubbish.
It's been a brilliant year for soft fruit but not so for tree fruit except for plums.  I've got a small damson crop for the first time yet to pick.
I've had 140lbs of honey too (& the bees stole back another 60 lbs while I was away for a couple of days
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default Re: Reflections on the season, 2014

Post by freebird on 12th September 2014, 4:35 pm

Not much to report here, as I've paid scant attention to the few vegetables that I did grow. Runner beans in dribs and drabs, courgettes fairly good. Garlic very small and disappointing. In the greenhouse, moderate crop of tomatoes and chillies, but the peppers which started off well have failed to thrive - mainly my own fault there.

Few apples this year, but a nice crop of Victoria plums, and our first ever asparagus crop in the spring.

I'm really having to rethink the veg, as I think the plots are quite tired. Big problems with spreading grasses, so I'm going to keep them covered and more or less start again with them in a couple of years. The last couple of years have been one long round of pests and diseases, which suggests to me that I haven't got things working right. I'll probably do some reading in the meantime, and continue working on the rest of the garden.
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default Re: Reflections on the season, 2014

Post by Dandelion on 12th September 2014, 8:01 pm

Ploshkin wrote:Dandelion, if the mesh was touching the leaves the butterflies will have laid the eggs through the mesh.  I found that to my cost last year so have used a 4' high cage with butterfly netting this year - but haven't seen any butterflies.


That would make sense. We have a canopy over the washing line which has mesh curtains which hang down to keep the clothes dry - I noticed that a hopeful butterfly had carefully laid eggs in the tiny diamonds of the mesh.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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