2010 – not the best year!

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.”

Red Flame runner beans

Beans hanging from upside down bean frames

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!

Cosse Violette French Beans

The first purple French beans

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
Sweetcorn plants

Sweetcorn looking promising

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.

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2 Responses to “2010 – not the best year!”

  1. Sue Says:

    Lots of people are reporting exactly the same results as you. My dad who has had an allotment forever, is having his worst ever crops this year. I’m supplying them, which is an unheard of phenomenon.

    My best crops this year have all been produced from the polytunnel and the tyres I use for planting in at the side of the house. The hot dry weather has meant so much of what has been planted in the main beds have gone to seed almost imediately. And we are lucky that we are in an almost unique postition of not suffering from a hosepipe ban.

    Yor bean crop looks excellent!

    Sue xx

  2. Max Akroyd Says:

    Yes, same outcome in Brittany too. Great fruit, terrible vegetables if sown after the end of February. It was the dead dry March and April that did for us.

    Glad it’s not next year, if you know what I mean!

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