Past Harvests


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.



Past Squares #14

32 thoughts on “Past Harvests

  1. Fabulous. I miss my allotment, but shoulder injuries and allotments are not a great match. And I know i never worked QUITE hard enough. I’ll stick with supporting my local veg box scheme.

  2. Your growing skills are amazing Tish. Though I do know it is a lot of hard work. I shall stick to herbs, but I envy you your sweetcorn and beans.

  3. always in awe of allotment holders – I never dare go on a waiting list for one as I know I would be one of those troublesome ones who don’t keep control of their beds.

    1. What you need is an allotment where they let newbies have a small plot/raised bed. There are some that do that. I wish ours did it. A whole plot is huge; even a half plot (I have 2 half plots) is a lot of ground to even vaguely keep in check.

  4. It’s definitely a lot of work, Tish, but I think you really enjoy the results. I’m going to sit down with my Arizona planting book and jot down when to plant the things I want to try so that I get them in at the right time. I only have two small raised beds, but if I can get everything to grow, I’ll be thrilled. This part of the country has wonderful citrus but I miss the variety of apples and good sweet corn. The few times I got corn this year in the stores it wasn’t very good at all. Sigh. 🙂

    1. That sounds like an excellent plan, Janet. I imagine time slots are quite tight for some things. Also thinking that your main concern will probably be keeping moisture in your beds. Loads of mulch, I guess. A good 6 inches. Or membrane of some kind that you plant through. The trouble with bought corn, as I’m sure you know, is that it’s been picked too long. Needs to go from plant to pot 🙂

  5. I’ve long held to the notion that it is more trouble than it’s worth, and to leave it to the professionals. But many a reason to not think that way…don’t give into the dark side! I always want pumpkins and corn for their look this time of year but rarely think of it until it’s way too late. And then wind up going to a pumpkin patch just like everyone else. And coming back caked in mud.

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