Last week my daughter and followers arrived here in Chipping Norton en route to their annual pilgrimage to the Big Chill music festival. As ever, their visit included a trip to the allotment to harvest some veggies for dinner. Her comment … “I’ve never seen it look so bare at this time of year.”
Plot 66a on the William Fowler allotments is indeed a sad and sorry sight! Instead of it bursting with life and goodness, we have empty beds and open spaces. It’s not all doom and gloom of course! The ‘Red Flame’ runner beans are prolific and we’re swamping the neighbourhood with their harvest. The upside down pole construction makes them so much easier to pick. Rather than having to conduct a bean body search through a tangle at the top of the frame, the beans hang down and present themselves beautifully!
The mange tout are plentiful and going from strength to strength … the courgettes (although not as bountiful as previous years) are doing quite well … and the French beans are almost into top gear. After a very slow start, the perpetual spinach is finally starting to crop and the sweetcorn looks promising.
But the bad news …
- 7 carrots from 3 packets of seeds
- The parsnips have fared a little better with a yield of at least 10!
- The beetroot are producing foliage, but little underneath
- Onions? Least said about them the better!
- The brassicas are struggling for survival as we battle with a whitefly infestation
- The peas are a non-event (Sunday’s harvest yielded 7 pods only)
- The swede are a fraction of their normal size
- And back at allotment central, the tomatoes are showing little promise
I’m not informed enough to know how much of this year’s failures are down to UIE (user intervention error … i.e. we got it wrong) or if it has simply been a bad season. We are hearing reports from people far and wide who have suffered major carrot failure, but not the consistently poor performance we’ve experienced this year.
I can only stress once more how glad I am that we don’t have to earn our living from the land and my thoughts are with everyone that does.