Posted by: Anne | 18/07/2010

Taking stock of what has grown and what hasn’t.

Looking around the show gardens at Hampton Court made me realise what a beginner I really am.

My inexperience has made me lose plants and harvest because I should have been on top of them a bit more…Why do I say this?

  • I should have cut back tomatoes more and not let them ‘do their own thing.’  They are a wild plant, I feel, that needs to be shown who is boss.  Give them an inch etc etc!  I have had to get tough with the main crop in my big frame and chop lots of side shoots that I had hardly noticed growing.  I just thought they looked lovely and green, but all these side shoots are taking goodness away from the main stems and the tomatoes themselves.
  • The mini tomatoes called ‘sweet million’ in my 4’ x 4’ frame on top of the raised bed had been untouched by me.  I thought – wrongly that it would just do its own thing and keep tidy! Well, on my return from Hampton Court, I was greeted by this ‘Triffid’ type plant coming out of all the exits possible!  That has been cut well back and I know I’ve lost lots of lovely tomatoes simply because I didn’t keep on top of it.
  • Consequently, the other square feet in that frame have also suffered by being squeezed out by the monster tomato plant.  Do you remember the Petunia plant I put next to the tomato to remind me to water it?  Well, that copied the tomato plant and spread itself all around the frame too!  It did look lovely with a shower of purple flowers everywhere, but nothing to eat!
  • I have not re-planted my crops often enough.  ie. I currently have a lovely little supply of purple spring onions that take my breath away when I crunch into them.  But I should have sowed more and more to keep them coming.  I will definitely plant them again next year, but have learnt a valuable lesson.  You have to keep on sowing!

This isn’t a crash course in ‘beat myself up’ – this is a lesson for what to do differently next year and celebrate what’s gone well this year.

I am currently picking baby courgettes that are so sweet and crunchy, as mentioned purple spring onions, dwarf beans – need more of those next year and the runner beans are almost ready for picking!  And still not one bit of slug damage – thank you Janes copper tools!

Did I mention raspberries?  My friend called for lunch the other day, we sat in the garden catching up and then walked around the raspberry bushes, still chatting and picking and popping the red berries straight into our mouths!  What a fresh calorie free pudding to have!

I was told by a customer on the stand at Hampton Court to get myself an automatic vent for my frame, as I didn’t have one.  So I have treated myself today – and that’s a story in itself of how to put it together! I say to the customers ‘you must read the instructions’!  Yeah right, time to get a man who can, I feel – Mark!!

Take care and happy gardening.

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