Review of 2011

Where do I start? There’s been lots going on at the Two Chances Plot this year as there was in 2010. First of all a recap of the veg growing successes and failures:

Top of the Class
My best ever carrots and parsnips this year.
And it was a cracking year for beetroot, we had barrowfuls of them.
Strawberries and raspberries – not that I saw many of them as the girls picked and ate them as soon as they were ready!

Pretty good effort
Quite a few in this category – all the brassicas, beans, spuds, mangetout, overwintered onions, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, chillies and courgettes.

Could do Better
Sweetcorn, cucumber, aubergines, squash and pumpkins.

Weatherwise it was a strange year again. A really hot, dry spring but with cold nights running through into July. When we left for our annual holiday to France in mid-June it was with some trepidation as the weather had been fantastic – why were we going abroad? Thankfully we did as it chucked it down in Salisbury for 2 weeks and continued to be damp and miserable for the main part of summer only drying up in September and October. No wonder all the veg that need a hot, dry summer did badly. Oh well there’s always next year.

Best Newcomer
…….was celeriac…..only grew a few but they were great and I’ll definitely be growing more next year. Closely followed by mangetout, not many made the steamer as they were great eaten raw.

Never again
Aubergines…..what’s the point? Maybe in 20 years once global warming really makes an impact on the South of England! That said I expect I’ll try again next year.

This year was the first for my shared plot in the next village and it was filled with onions, brassicas, beans, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, spuds, sweetcorn, squash and pumpkins. Next year the Empire expands further to half an allotment in the same village as my shared plot. Can’t wait to get stuck in! And I finally got round to building a much needed proper compost bin which will bear fruit next year.

On the show front it was the last year of entering all the vegetable classes in my local Horticultural Society village Summer Show were I won cups for most points overall veg, root veg and Top Tray. I’ll just stick to the Master Gardener and Top Tray next year with my sights firmly set on the NVS competition at the New Forest and Hampshire Show after seeing Darren pick up his first red card for long carrots. I have 30 pipes to use for my carrots and parsnips and the mix is already shredded and ready for the mixer. Bring on 2012!

So what will I be doing next year? Well more of the same really. Loads of good quality family time, cooking and eating great homegrown food. Producing loads of veg and enjoying the fresh air as much as possible. Raising the bar on my show entries and expanding to the allotment so we can have more veg on the table. The annual trip to France – same place as last year as we loved it so much – and the next leg of the Pennine Way hopefully. As always lots to do!! I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2012!!!

Thanks to everyone who reads and hopefully enjoys this blog. I haven’t been online much in the last couple of months due to working longer hours – the last thing I needed was more time in front of a computer screen! But I have the whole winter to catch up with what you’ve been doing so I’ll see you soon!!

10 responses to “Review of 2011

  1. Nice one Damo! Hope you’ll find time to tell us all about your gardening exploits in the New Year. I’m worried now about what you said about Aubergines, because for the first time in 20 years or so I have just oredered some Aubergine seeds! They may have to occupy some of the mini-greenhouses, I suspect.
    I’m also a bit jealous because you managed to produce Celeriac much better than mine, at your first attempt. I’m going to blame my soil conditions… 😦

    • Hi Mark, I’ll definitely have more time to blog and read blogs in the New Year.

      I have struggled with Aubergines, they’re a true Mediterranean veg that need a lot of sun and heat. Mine were in an unheated greenhouse grown from seed (Bonica F1) – I had four plants and harvested a mighty two small fruits, not even enough for a decent moussaka! Still if we have a hot summer next year they may do well – it’s just a gamble with them and with limited greenhouse space I’d prefer to have more bankers on the go.

      Celeriac was a revelation – I did water well through the dry spring which may have given me a head start. Loved eating them and they are right on-trend at the moment you can’t turn on a TV cookery programme without seeing them. I’ll be growing a lot more next year.

  2. It’s bizarre as we had it far too dry so things that needed moisture suffered. There’s always successes and failures each year though for one reason or another. Gardening is always full of challenges.

    • Absolutely Sue that’s what makes it such an interesting pastime, you’re reliant on the weather to a certain degree which you have no control over.

  3. It took me three years to get an aubergine plant to bear fruit, I don’t bother growing them anymore. Looking forward to hearing all about the allotment in the new year.

  4. I’ll be leaving aubergines well alone. Last year mine turned into blackfly bushes. The only word I can think of to describe them is ‘crap’.

  5. Like you, my gardening empire has expanded to include my elderly Dad’s plot, my son’s huge new garden and a plot in a neighbour’s garden. But now I have space for pumpkins, loads of potatoes and room to try things. Aubergines-well I had some good ones last year so grew six plants this year, all in the greenhouse. Just one fruit! But a friend bought a dead looking plant in Tesco, revived it and had a dozen on one plant-she’s saved some seed, so can’t resist having another go in 2012. Your rouge vif d’etampes pumpkin seed produced a lovely pumpkin for the village pumpkin festival at halloween, so have saved some seed for next year-now I have a granddaughter and will carve her name on one as it grows.
    Happy Gardening New Year!

    • Hi Jan, glad the pumpkin seeds worked, not the most prolific of varieties but they are a nice pumpkin. And you’ve got your work cut out this year but will have plenty of space to try out things. For me that means an asparagus bed on the allotment which I can’t wait to start. Have a great 2012!

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