2011 - The year of the….
I’ve been pondering what I will remember this year for.
Carrot. A contender for best performer this certainly qualifies for ”most improved”. Previously I had abandoned carrots because of the root fly, but armed with fine nets last year saw some fly free results. The only problem was remembering to lift the nets frequently enough to catch the weeds before they smothered the carrots (assuming they had germinated in the first place). Emboldened by the absence of tunnelling bugs I bought 8 varieties of carrot seed and 2011 saw the best crop yet as a result of blanket sowing under three nets. Proof that if you keep on going (and weeding and sowing) some good will come of it.
Blueberry. I was proud when my three autumn (2010) sown blueberry “twigs” survived the harsh winter and had high hopes of a bumper crop spread across the season. They could not have been more pampered. I buried a plastic liner and filled it with ericaceous compost, topped out the patch with an improvised metal cage with fleece for warmth and netting to keep the birds off. Whenever it was dry (there was a dry week or two in May in Edinburgh) I watered. End result 6 berries. There is some encouraging leaf and branch development so maybe next year they will come into their own(?).
Strawberry. I planted out four new varieties at the plot. A dozen each of Cambridge Favourite, Florence, Judibell and a late entrant was “ever bearer” Albion. As with carrots and blueberries the target was blanket coverage from as early to as late in the season as possible. Things started well as our established “Honeoye” got into early production but the Cambridge favourite never seemed to quite ripen, the Florence were big but few. As the rains kept coming the slugs moved in and polished of the fruit there was before we could pick it.
Beans. In fact 2011 has been a bad year for beans. Just too short a season and too wet. The runner berans cropped for maybe a month, the French and Italian beans never really got going. There's hardly anything for drying this year!
Celeriac - should have been a surefire winner. Grown from seed early in the season the weather was good for them (wet). I haven't picked them yet because they are too small to bother with. An experiment I don't think I will repeat.
On reflection, considering the weather conditions and the havoc wreaked on the salads, strawberries, beans and other crops, I think I will remember 2011 as the year of the SLUG!