Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Veggies: 2012 review

The French would use the word "bilan (m)" to describe a review of the results.  It's also used for the bottom line on company accounts.

Spring tends to arrive more or less at the same time each year, so it really shouldn't be a surprise, but I find that I'm not prepared, and already the earliest seeds need planting.   I planted two types of pepper seeds in the propagator (present from Mum) yesterday: the chilli peppers are the remainder from last year's seed packet, and the bell peppers were collected from some particularly nice fruit we prepared for gîte guests.  So they should be OK as long as they weren't irradiated.  Of course I forgot to label them so I don't know which tray is which, but I should be able to tell when they grow.  I hope.   I'll have to do the aubergines soon, too.  They seem to grow well outdoors; a neighbour up the road had huge ones outside last year.

The tomatoes were a dead loss last year, it was too wet and they rotted.  The only successes I saw elsewhere were from plants that had been drenched in bordeaux mix, a technique I shall use if we have the same problem again.

The leeks were successful, but there were only 16 plants and they ran out in December.  I will have to grow more this year, they are a useful ingredient in lots of Winter recipies.   On the other hand, I had about 10 sprout plants, and only needed 4 or 5, so fewer of those this time.  I'll do the sweet onion Walla-Walla again, too; they were great.

The parsnips were a complete failure, I didn't manage to keep them weed-free, and since they germinate slowly, they got swamped.   This year I, have a cunning plan to plant them in seed compost in loo roll centres, and then put them in the veg plot using a dibber, rather like leeks.  I expect that the compost should be weed-free, and the loo roll holder should mark the position of the parsnip seedlings to make it easier to weed.

I grew one butternut squash plant, and this yielded 5 fruits.  There are still two left, so I think I'll do the same this year.  I was worried that the plant only made male flowers at first, but the female ones came along in the end, and there were enough male flowers still around to fertilise them.

The purple sprouting broccoli looks like it will give a decent crop, but it's due later in Spring, so I don't know yet.  But since the plants look strong, I bought some more seed for this year.

There was no need for me to plant parsley, because it self-seeded all over the kitchen bed.  I collected a lot of coriander seed, and I'll put that there too, in successive sowings, along with basil.

Looking froward to 2013, I seem to have excelled myself in seed collection last year.  I have numerous white envelopes marked with things like "big yellow melon", "orange pumpkin", and so on.   Plus, copious seeds from delphiniums, cosmos, marigolds and tree lupins.   There is also seed "Cerinthe Major Purpurascens" from a client from the gîte (swapped for some tree lupin seeds), so I will give that a try.

I will be trying a seed tape from Suttons' Seeds, of spring onions.  The French don't do spring onions as we know them.  They call them "petits oignons" and they wait until a small (one inch) bulb forms before harvesting them.  By this time, the green tops have deteriorated, so you miss out on the special white/green juicy mild flavour.


Helen Devries said...

Apart from the tomatoes that was a successful year...we used to find bordeaux mixture the only answer in wet years too.

I use a lot of leeks...not just comfort recipes but a la greque and vichysoisse so it's great that they grow well here though they prefer the San Jose garden.

We've neglected the garden a bit while building works are going on, but must start sowing seeds for the start of the rainy season in May.

Zimbabwe said...

My tomatoes were brilliant last year but the leeks were hopeless. The peppers were fair and the chilies as well. My potatoes were fantastic, both butternut and pumpkins did well. I have not started anything as yet this year although I have the green house. problem is it is not heated so a few cold morning will kill everything off. Will think about some seeds in a couple of weeks. Good luck with the propagator. Diane

James Higham said...

Just adore vegie reports - delphiniums, cosmos, marigolds and tree lupins as well.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Fair point, James, but it's my blog, so I'll wander off-topic if I like :-)

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