1st September, 2008

It's been the least sunny August on record. Not surprising then that some of the yields seem lower than last year, specifically the beans. I noticed the price of runner beans in the supermarkets, ~£4/kg! That seems a lot for a veg that most home growers have more than they know what to do with. Maybe the supermarkets can't sell any because they are given away to everyone free at this time of year? Or maybe not now that there has been no sun.

I'm keeping a record of the potato yield. So far I'm getting about 1kg per plant. I think that could be better and again I blame the soil quality for this. It's horrible dry clay clumps, not even the spuds have broken it up and the grass clippings mulch doesn't appear to have done much to retain the moisture. So, whilst the soil is loose I've taken the opportunity to dig in plenty of compost from the compost bins.

As for the potato quality, well the Valor variety are very floury and only good for roasting and chips; they are good chips though! The Lady Balfour are more waxy and slightly better; they hold up to boiling/mash but can explode if overcooked. There is quite a bit of slug damage so they won't store well; I'm hoping that I can dig them up as they are needed. I think they will be OK to leave in the soil until the frosts. On the GYO forum, the consensus is that Kestrel are a good variety for slug resistance and taste. So I'll be trying those next year.

There has been poor growth of the pumpkins and squash which I put down to the lack of sun. That said there are fruits forming but I'm a little concerned that they won't have enough time to grow to their full size. It's a waiting game.

The sweetcorn was tried out and as expected it was very sweet but still needs some more time for the cobs to fatten up. Come on sun!

The sub arctic plenty tomatoes are ripening; I haven't grown or tasted this variety before. They are not too sweet and more suited to cooking in my opinion but then I may be spoilt by the sweetness of the gardener's delight tomatoes growing in the greenhouse.

Sub arctic plenty tomatoes

Gardener's delight

The carrots in the buckets are perfectly formed and taste so much better than shop bought ones. They are a bit on the small side so the yield won't be much. Next year I vow to sow a lot more.

The autumn raspberries are starting to crop big time. We can never have enough of them! Also the blackberries are ready and they needed a partner for a crumble so some apples were picked. I didn't think the apples would be ready but I was wrong. They are even sweet enough to eat uncooked so I'm optimistic about making a cider that won't strip the lining of your throat.

The dwarf beans have not been a success this year. They didn't germinate well to start with and then I took my eye off them after the first crop and they have been eaten by slugs I assume. Must try harder.

After all my enthusing about the plums, only 4 were harvested which meant one each in our family. The pleasure was all too brief.

There was I thinking I had a tasty aubergine nearly ready until I inspected it closely to discover some thing had beaten me to it! Fortunately there is another one. But that's all, there are flowers but I think it's too late to form fruit now. A poor yield.

The sweet peppers look OK.

The coriander bolted and flowered but the lower leaves are still usable and the flowers attract lots of insects, so it's staying.

The parsnips are putting on leaf, it was worth persevering with them after all.

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