I confess there are times when I think growing our own vegetables is more trouble than it’s worth. On the other hand, I’d be sorry not to have my two allotment plots, though I am thinking of sub-letting a portion of one of them come March. This is mostly because the beds on my newer polytunnel plot are now in a more useable condition after several seasons’ composting. The Wenlock Silurian soil is very challenging, and it’s only taken me a decade and a half to get it to a state where it’s possibly more friable than claggy. Endemic pests are also a problem in community gardens, and especially in situations where plot holders’ early enthusiasm gives way to garden neglect and finally abandonment.
Anyway this last season has had its high points, sweet corn being one of them. We ate the last cobs yesterday, out of a crop of three or four dozen. Doing one’s own growing also means being able to have vegetables that are otherwise only available in tins: e.g. borlotti beans. And then having the polytunnel means that once the tomato and cucumber harvest is over (and that’s been tremendous this year too) I can bring on assorted kales, herbs, lettuces, spinach, endives and mustards for salads over the winter months.
Other successes this year are the raspberries – summer and autumn, strawberries, peas, courgettes, runner and broad beans, beetroot, cauliflowers, carrots, potatoes, onions and pointy cabbages. There are leeks, parsnips, fat winter cabbage, sprouting broccoli, and hopefully butter beans still to come. The squashes were a bit of a failure: two undersized Chioggia efforts, though I did turn one of them into some very good spicy soup today.
As ever with gardening, as one gathers in and eats the produce, so one is ever plotting the next seasons’ sowing, planting and eating.