Following on from my recent TOP 7 Successes of 2017 post, it only seemed fair to share my failures too. I have to say that 2017 was overall a very good year on the allotment but some crops didn’t perform as well as I hoped.
That being said, you never know what the weather or garden pests might bring which is one of the greatest things about growing your own food – every year is different – and that’s an important thing to remember.
In late spring I moved a bunch of rogue raspberry canes to a spot under the plum tree which wasn’t one of my greatest ideas. They competed with the tree for water and probably used all their energy to grow new roots after recovering from the stress of the move. So, the raspberries were small and few and far between. The ones pictured are actually my autumn variety that have been great so if next year isn’t any better I might go all-autumn with my raspberries. Who doesn’t love fresh, homegrown fruit in the middle of October?
This one is my own fault again. I was so busy preparing the ground in spring that I was VERY late in planting my onion sets. They didn’t have enough time to grow and ultimately didn’t reach a particularly substantial size. Most of them hardly swelled much at all! I’m trying things differently for next year as I already have 84 sets in the ground. I’m growing a red variety called ‘Electric’ and a white one called ‘Radar’, so I’m hopeful for a heavy crop next summer.
My pretty little Victoria plum tree grows close to gate of my allotment but unfortunately in recent years, it has become more of a garden feature than a productive fruit tree. The clear, sap-like substance coming from the bottom of the plums and dark spots are telltale signs of a sawfly infestation. The Victoria Plum is prone to this nasty pest which lays it’s eggs on the tree and the maggoty offspring burrow it’s way into the fruit where it will live, eat and excrete until it decides to leave and overwinter in the ground – gross right? There isn’t a lot I can organically do about it really. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.
Perhaps not quite a failure, but a disappointment. I tried some new varieties this year like the Sarto Mira that I’ve heard such great things about from the likes of Dan on his Allotment Diary YouTube channel . Perhaps they were too close to the hedge and didn’t get as much water or sunlight as they needed because I didn’t get that many! However, early summer was quite dry and hot which would have effected the growth of the tubers. On the flip side, the Pink Gypsy potatoes were great and looked amazing with their pink-blotch skins! I’ll be growing these again next year.It was also a strange year for the peas too. The sugar snaps were heavy cropping throughout summer, yet the petit pois only grew a foot tall, hardly flowered and then collapsed. I think there was a bug of some kind eating the leaves who was partly to blame!
- The polytunnel isn’t frost-proof and will kill early seedlings even in April.
- Growing flowers gives me just as much pleasure and joy as growing my own food.
- Get ahead for spring (as much as you can) so it won’t set you and your crops behind.
- You can’t grow too many nasturtiums.
- Strawberries go crazy! Expect triple the number of plants come autumn.
Did you have any disappointments this year?