Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reflections on a growing year

It's always interesting to look back on a year of growing to reflect on what worked well and what didn't in the suburban veg plot. I use this to draw lessons about what I sowed or planted, to decide if a variety didn't grow well because of something I did, or something I didn't do. It helps me decide on the next year's plans - whether I try again with a different technique or cultivation practice or just cut my losses, swap the seeds and use the space for something else.
So, lessons learned in the suburban veg plot in 2011:
  1. Celeriac does not grow well in my garden. It's difficult to germinate, requires lots of tlc during the early stages and then doesn't repay me in kind. Celeriac has no place in the suburban veg plot of 2012.
  2. Leek moth is prevelant in Hertfordshire. However, I'm not being beaten by something that small, so I will keep trimming the affected leeks to the ground and flipping a virtual finger to Acrolepiopsis assectella.
  3. Sugar snap peas do not freeze well. Not unless you actually like soggy pods in your stir-fry. Grow them and cook them; don't try to save them.
  4. Butternut squash is just like those men my mother warned me about. They look impressive when they first show up, promise you the world if you tend to their every need and then leave you with nothing at the end of the day. Oxygen thieves.
  5. You can never grow too many chilli plants. I have yet to find a dish that is not enhanced by the addition of a bit of chilli. Roll on chilli sowing February!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An untypical gardening year

What a strange winter we're having. I've just harvested the last chillies from my Lemon Drop and Bulgarian Carrot plants. They've been inside for only 2 weeks - just to ripen the last few fruits. Prior to that it was still warm enough in the greenhouse for them to thrive.
I've tried overwintering chillies previous years but they do tend to suffer from aphids and don't seem all that far ahead of those grown from seed in Feb.
So, it's into the composter for the last five plants. And only 6 more weeks before I'll be starting to sow new ones!
What unseasonal edibles are you still harvesting?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ember Gate on Etsy - open for business

I haven't posted on my blog for more than 3 weeks. I feel very guilty, but I do have a valid excuse. I've been beavering away in the background on the launch of my garden-related Etsy shop - Ember Gate. And it's finally open! Vintage garden tools and other horticultural and planting wares - I choose only things that I'd buy for myself. Only 7 items listed so far (see thumbnails in the sidebar to the right), but I'll add more over the weekend. I have a dining room full of galvanised watering cans, enamel buckets, sickles, pruning saws, dolly tubs, dock lifters and slashers so I need to get them listed and sold before Christmas otherwise we'll be having Christmas dinner on our knees in front of the tv...