Wednesday, 25 August 2010

It Was Worth It

It was very late to be planting my onion and shallot sets in May, and although I haven't got a huge crop, and they haven't grown quite as well as they would have done if they were planted earlier, it was worth getting them out. Admittedly, the onions are very small but still useable, but the shallots divided nicely and I have quite a few to be going on with. Next year I will make sure that I plant them out much earlier, but this just goes to show that you will still be rewarded with late crops.

I'm extremely pleased with my potato harvest so far this year. I planted some of my first early potatoes, Sharpes Express, and my second early potatoes, International Kidney, in containers and also some in the allotment. I had great yields from the containers and have only just finished the first earlies which were planted in the allotment. The varieties I chose last year suffered a lot of slug damage in the allotment, but the Sharpes Express suffered none. This may be due to the fact that we've had a dry season this year, or it may be down to the variety. I will grow Sharpes Express again next year. I had never heard of the variety before I chose them this year, but they have been around for about a hundred years, and I've had a great harvest from them. The container grown ones produced a good harvest and the ones at the allotment came out without any damage. The International Kidneys were quite disappointing. They produced a good amount both in containers and in the ground, but they broke up on cooking and the flavour was rather bland. I won't bother growing these again. My maincrop potatoes were just planted at the allotment and haven't yet been dug, but there are two varieties so I will let you know how I've done with those at a later date.

I didn't have much luck with my brassicas last year. This year I've just bunged stuff in and hoped for the best, really leaving things to get on with it. I'm enjoying lots of kale and cavolo de nero at the moment, and there's kohl rabi and swede waiting to be pulled. I think we can overthink things or pander to things too much sometimes.


  1. I'm beginning to think that too Jo. Sounds like you've had great success with your potatoes - your hard work and enthusiasm has paid off and reading your posts always spur me on withh my little patch!

    My onions, shallots and garlic came up well - I pulled them a while ago now - maybe a little early (?) but they were practically falling out of the ground!

    Hope Archie isn't causing too much mayhem in the garden!!


  2. I was very organized with my garlic this season and planted them last November, but the results were still very small. They taste good though!

  3. I think that every year you will win some and lose some. Some vegetables will always do better than others.
    Last year I didn't have one onion to harvest, but this year I am very happy with them.
    Brassicas are very difficult for me too.

  4. I am totally with you on the pandering things too much Jo. After all there are all those plants that self seed and thrive just where we don't want them to so i tend to let nature take it's course for the most part.

    Glad you had a good potato harvest. i grew Rockets for a first early and maris peer and charlottes for a second early. All have done well with no damage and gave good yields. I also find that the first two cook up really well but haven't tried the charlottes yet.

  5. I don't think slugs have been too much of a problem with potatoes this year - we grew ten different varieties and with only one or two left to dig up we have had almost no slug damage on any.

    We grew International Kidney too and it was one we particularly liked. It really difficult recommending varieties as the flavour is affected by the soil, how much water etc and all sorts of variables so what does well for one garden/person may well be a flop for someone else.

    Lots of our potatoes broke up - it's a problem of growing in a dry season but if you leave them a few days before cooking this is supposed to cut down on the problem.

  6. Wow they look fab - ours all got onion fly and that was the end of them. It is a real learning curve isn't it. I think we will be growing more fruit next year as they seem happy to be left to get on with it.

  7. However small your onions are if they taste good then it's been worth the effort.
    It's always good when you find a variety of potato that does well.
    I agree entirely with your last sentence! A plot neighbour keeps it all very basic and simple and seems to do better than anyone else with almost everything! Flighty xx

  8. Glad that you did well with your spuds Jo and will be interested to hear how your maincrop fares. My first go in the ground rather than containers did not produce the harvest I was hoping for. Probably did not water and feed as much as I should have done in June. Oh well there's always next year. Only planted about 20 red onion sets last autumn but they are all quite substantial. The shallots have been my success of 2010 - they take relatively little room so will plant more next year. Garlic was hit and miss - some huge and some tiddlers - another mystery :)

  9. It's been a challenging year for many crops grown in open ground and spuds have suffered here. You just can't physically water as much as a good English downpour! I've given up with garlic. I always get pathetic crops whether I plant in spring or autumn.

    Charlotte's a favourite spud of mine.

  10. They look good Jo, and worth the effort getting them in. I've really enjoyed the Anya and Charlotte spuds we've had so far.

  11. Archie has settled down a little in the garden, Jeanne. I'm sure as he gets older he'll learn to behave himself. Glad to hear that your onions, shallots and garlic have done well for you.

    Taste is what it's all about, Mark, so I'm sure you're pleased with your garlic harvest. I'm never organised enough to get things going in the autumn.

    Many people seem to suffer with their brassicas, Vrtlarica, so I don't think we're alone. I was pleased with my onions considering they were planted so late. I hope to get them in on time next year and do better.

    Glad to hear that you've had a good potato harvest too, Tanya. I think many people have avoided slug damage this year due to the dry season we've had.

    Thanks for the tip, Green Lane Allotments. You're right about varieties tasting different on different soils etc. I know I won't bother with International Kidney again but I'll grow Sharpes Express again, they were delicious.

    I'm hoping to get some more fruit growing, Scented Sweetpeas. The only fruit we've got on the allotment at the moment are strawberries, but we do love them and are going to increase our stock next year with some everbearers.

    I agree that it's the taste that it's all about, Flighty. It was either put the onions and shallots in late and hope for the best or bin them, it was worth taking a chance. I enjoy hearing about all the different potato varieties and I like to try different types, but it's good to find one which does well. I think some gardeners can over complicate things, those which do keep it simple seem to do better.

    Glad to hear that your onions and shallots have done well for you, Anna, but sorry to hear about the potatoes. I wouldn't give up growing in the ground though, some years are better than others and you might find that next year produces a bumper crop.

    I don't grow garlic, Vegetable Heaven. It's something that, though we do like it, we don't tend to cook with. My allotment certainly needs a good downpour. We don't have water on our site so without rain it gets very little in the way of a good watering.

    Thanks, Damo. I haven't eaten any yet so I'm hoping they taste just as good.

  12. Good that your kale is doing fine. I had a mixed kind of result. Those on the raised bed are suffering from pests, grasshoppers mostly, and those in pots are safe. ~bancghik

  13. Jo, Your harvest looks and sounds great! I "overthink" my garden usually, and the stuff I just bung in seems to do fine. I'm going to be a little less fussy. Pam x

  14. I find that many crops are much cleaner with less pest damage when they're grown in pots, Bangchik. I still grow my salad leaves in containers even though I've got an allotment for this reason.

    Thanks, Pam. I'm also going to try being a little less fussy after this years results.


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