The End of 2018

A last post from 2018 and a kind of review of the year plus what’s been happening in the garden recently.

Well the year has been ok, though successful in the ‘flower’ part of the garden I feel there were a few less than perfect beds in the vegetable area.

There was a very good show of annuals and perennials in the flower beds, with the cosmos (mostly from seed) and dahlias (that survived the winter) being the stars I guess, the the geraniums were pretty spectacular this year and they lasted well into November as well.

The penstemon bed was reasonable, though I had to plant plenty of new ones in the spring  as many hadn’t survived the winter, even though it was mild. They are still growing well, though not flowering, even now thanks to the mild weather so far this winter. It’s a bit annoying really as they will need to be cut down soon to allow the under-planted daffodils etc. to flower.

In the vegetable area the garlic was a bit disappointing, especially the autumn planted ones. Having said that, around a dozen garlic plants have sprung up in the bed during the autumn from garlic bulbs I must have missed! I have now moved them to the designated bed for garlic this year.  Perhaps just as well since one of the online garden companies I had ordered garlic from for autumn and spring planting recently cancelled the autumn garlic part of the order….

The salad bed was disappointing, although we did have some meals with salad leaves from it some of the rows planted had a poor germination rate. The best was a row of ‘lollo rosso’ bought as seedlings. However, there are still some usable leaves available from a few plants even now.

The strawberry bed produced a good crop for a couple of weeks but the dry summer really had an effect and there were very few berries after the first flush.

Right next to the strawberry bed (towards the greenhouse) was a bed with cucumber, squash and courgette plants. The cucumber produced ok, in fact with all the cucumber plants we had a real glut and gave away more than we ate. The squash was a disappointment though, despite the wonderful summer, On the other had, the courgette plant – a short ‘tubby’ variety – produced well.

Next to that bed, partly, is the part covered bed which I use as a cold frame in the early spring. This had two cucumber plants and a courgette growing in the bed, all of which produced well and of course along with the other courgette and cucumber plants produced a glut. Bear in mind there was one more courgette, in the end of the garlic bed (the ‘spring’ garlic had been harvested) planted into the bed still in a pot.

Next to the salad bed I had mangetout peas, and again they could only be described as poor to moderate, with the early planting producing well and not too much after that. As with other years I grew the peas from seed in the greenhouse before planting out.

The next bed had one lonely squash plant and a few pots with bulbs in compost being kept over the summer. Although like the other squash plant it produced plenty of growth only one usable squash cam from this plant.

Beyond the blackcurrant bushes (now replaced) the next bed had beans, climbing and french/dwarf beans. The climbing beans were from seed but the french.dwarf beans were from a pack of around 20 seedlings. They were planted as a ‘border’ round the bed with the climbing beans in the middle. The dwarf beans did produces quite well, a contrast with other years when they have tended to produce a few beans then stop producing any. The climbing beans, while they did grow ok, weren’t quite as prolific as other years so we haven’t ended up with much in the freezer.

The last bed in  that sequence had potatoes in (??) and these produced as well as expected in a small bed and provided a number of meals worth of potatoes along with those planted in growing sacks kept nearby.

Near the east side of the greenhouse were the brassicas in a bed, some cauliflower and some cabbage. We had two or three cauliflowers and also cabbages, in fact, thanks to the mild autumn, there are still cabbages in the bed and we finished one only yesterday.

Next to the greenhouse was the bed with broad beans – I think I have made the comment earlier that the autumn planted beans didn’t grow or produce any better than those grown for the bean in spring – the bean production was around average I guess.

Inside the greenhouse and outside the tomatoes did quite well and kept us going with tomatoes well into the autumn plus of course the plants outside the kitchen. Another cucumber in the greenhouse also produced well. The peppers were split between the greenhouse and outside. One outside in the garlic bed, plus three in a growing bag perched on the end of the brassicas bed. All produced well and we had a good supply of peppers from late summer into autumn.

Situation Now

Most of the beds are clear and the majority have been forked over and had compost or the contents of one of the growing bags added. Three are covered with old blinds to suppress weeds over the winter. As mentioned above one has the ‘accidental’ garlic plants moved from another bed See pics below:

Worked over bed in foreground with added growing bag compost

Covered raised beds, salad bed in the foreground.

 

Wildlife

Not too much to say. The birds have stepped up their eating from feeders and fewer from  the ground just now, although some seed is eaten from the ground tray. Few squirrels and hedgehogs as autumn has progressed. I haven’t checked out the trail cams for a while but will report in the early New Year.

 

 

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