November has well and truly set in. The golden and red leaves are dropping and the nights have drawn in. As we move into winter, it is time to look back and reflect on this years season, the successes and failures. It is also a time to get on top of some pre-winter tasks before snuggling down in front of a fire to plan next year.
This year was my first with a greenhouse. It has definitely helped extend the season (I still have a crop of cucumber and chilli peppers in there) but it also needed constant care to stop plants from drying out in some extreme heat. I lost a number of seedlings to its heat and I will need to invest in some shading for next year.
My crop of sweet corn did surprisingly well. It grew tall and filled half my freezer with sweet corn to enjoy over the winter. It took up a fair amount of space and next year I will plant it down the allotment and maybe consider doubling the crop to sell some to my neighbours.
Despite getting a touch of blight, my potato crop did extremely well. I have not had to buy potatoes since June and the 2 sacks under my stairs will keep me going for a while yet. Next year I will not plant so many early potatoes. They taste the best straight out of the ground and do not store well but give me a healthy supply of early in the year while waiting for the mains to get ready for harvest. Again, I will be planting next years crop at the allotment and will double the main crop.
Runner beans didn’t do so well this year. I have heard it has been a problem for many gardeners but I think planting them in well composted soil resulted in good foliage and few beans. I will have a good think about what to do with them over the winter before planting next years crop.
I’ve already sown my Garlic for early next year but I will need to figure out the best way to dry them out at home as some of my crop this year became rotten quite quickly. The same goes for onions. I had a great crop but failed to dry them out sufficiently. While I have plenty left, I lost around half the crop. I will be planting many more onions next year to see if I can generate a small income from them.
My carrots completely failed. I have a feeling it was an issue with the batch of seeds. I will try a different brand in the spring and increase the number I plant. Another crop which failed was my tomatoes which developed blight. The only plants which made it were living in the greenhouse. I’ve enjoyed most of the 4 litres of tomatoes soup it produced but I would have been swimming in tomato products if my whole crop made it. I may look to invest in a poly tunnel for the allotment to grow my tomato crop.
This year I picked up an allotment around about a mile from where I live. It is around 200m2 and totally overgrown. I have spent the last few months clearing the site and look forward to bringing it to life next year.
So 2015 has been a mixed year but given me a load of learning which I hope will help to produce a glut next year.