For a first year, I think this wasn’t too bad, I planted stuff and I harvested stuff. I lost a fair bit to weather critters and absence but that was to be expected. Notably, my absences didn’t seem as terminal as I’d feared. a lot of stuff got on with it without me – cucumbers, squash, I’m looking at you.
I returned from our Autumn adventure in the middle of October. I fully expected to see and mass of dead plants awaiting me. A combination of my plot partners, suitable weather and Nature’s ability to nature, meant that I still had produce to harvest on my return.
I was over the moon to see that the squash had developed into proper-sized fruit and in fact still needed a week or so to mature. Google and various plant books told me that the squash isn’t ready to harvest until the stem is dry and cracked. Mine were still green at this point so I had to wait a little longer, which was fine by me – my biggest dread was that everything would ripen and rot while I was away.
So what was harvested in 2021
Tomatoes – I claim a couple of tomatoes which grew in the pot that I placed near the fruit border. I didn’t actually get to eat any but the fact that it grew is still amazing to me.
Carrots – despite them being far from attractive, I did grow some edible carrots. I found a YouTube video on growing them in containers so I decided this is how I would try it the following year.
Kale – on one of my plot visits I met one of my allotment neighbours, Rose. She very kindly gave me a few kale plants which I planted under my mesh umbrella. These yielded a few tasty leaves which I was taking on a cut-and-come-again basis into the winter.
Cucumbers – as I said I had forgotten these all together when I planted them so they were one of the heroes of this year. I got about 10 big juicy cucumbers and although these did mature while I was away, my friend was able to enjoy them and make us some cucumber relish which we enjoyed for the next few months. Considering these were planted as an afterthought when a lot of my sowing had perished, I was really happy with them.
Butternut squash – the other great result of this year. I had a yield of 9 really good-sized squash. These cooked well and were delicious as well as lasting well into the winter. I resolved to try more of these next year.
Right at the end of the year, there were still some slim pickings, if you learn not to be fussy about appearances. I managed to get a few little cabbage hearts out of the purple cabbage that had been struggling against the snails all season, there were a few more carrots some decent sized this time and some more kale and indeterminate leafy greens, plus one little spear of broccoli. With that, it was the end of the year and time to start planning for 2022.
I think for a first growing season it didn’t turn out too bad, good enough for me to be excited for the next year.