I would like to start this post with a confession.
I am not a natural born gardener.
Despite my farmer’s wife title, I have never had much luck with growing but this year, I have upped my game.
The baby is a little bit older and I decided I wanted to try on a small scale to grow some food.
For months, my kitchen window sill looked like a garden centre. At times I became obsessive about some of the plants, going outside at 10pm with a torch looking for slugs.
There were winners and losers this year but I think growing anything is a learning curve.
I think I will start with the failures.
I grew cucumbers from seed. They started off great. Strong little plants. I don’t have a greenhouse (yet) so I knew they would be in the house for a long time.
My kitchen is south west facing so it the window is the best place for fragile plants to grow. I had to repot the little cucumber plants into something bigger but I was restricted with which pot to use because of the size of my windowsill. I opted for a large plant pot and put all of the small cucumber plants into it.
In hindsight, I should’ve put them in smaller pots individually but, like I said, this growing is a learning curve.
They did great.
I had flowers and, as time went by, I began to see the tiny cucumbers growing. I was so excited.
Then, one night, the leaves of the plant changed colour. I did what any self-respecting vegetable grower would do and consulted my Facebook page where people said they had already put their plants outside.
So I put them outside in a sheltered yet sunny spot and?
By the next day they were dead.
I have no idea what went wrong but I was gutted.
Thankfully, I had other plants to take my mind off them and I will try cucumbers again that year but if I don’t get a greenhouse, I think I will invest in a cold frame for them or at least a cloche.
My successes have made up for my cucumbers. We have had many, many meals from the green beans we planted as part of a Junior Farmers activity at Kenyon Hall Farm (our local pick your own farm) and I also purchased two hanging baskets of strawberries from there.
The fact that the green beans did so well makes me think it was the expert growing from Kenyon Hall Farm that helped rather than my nurturing abilities and I may look into buying young plants next year rather than growing from seed.
The wet spring and dry summer has been a challenge for many gardeners (and farmers) and, while the strawberry plants have not been prolific, the children have enjoyed rooting around for fruit and eating them right there.
My lettuce and radish were blighted by some kind of fly but the rabbit didn’t mind that and my hanging baskets and welly planters did amazing.
I also grew mint and parsley from seed as these are the two herbs I use the most (along with rosemary) and they both did fantastic too.
I also grew some patio tomato plants from seed which have done well but I think I started growing them a little late as there is currently an abundance of fruit on the plants but they are still green.
I fear that if we don’t get another hot, dry spell, they may never ripen but we can only wait and see.
I may not be the best gardener going but I feel like I have really tried this year and I have bought two books to read in the autumn before I start all over again next year.
I have asked the farmer if I can have a little patch of land for growing vegetables but the only place he has come up with is the field with the chickens and, while I would hope they would eat any slugs, I cannot help thinking they will probably eat any seeds before they even become plants.
Maybe a fence can be planned into it.
If anyone reading has any tips for me, I am not proud. Tell me where I went wrong.
What have you grown this year?