Sunday, 23 June 2013

Frustrating Farming

It is very odd that we are almost at the end of June and, apart from a spot of rhubarb, the first harvest from our allotment was today in the form of a bunch of radishes. Very nice radishes, I have to say, but oh dear - the end of June and that is all there is to show?

Things are catching up. There are a few flowers on the beans, and one flower on the cucumbers. Nothing on the tomatoes yet, although they are putting on some good growth. And in the green house the lettuce is growing well, and the basil and there is even some pak choi which I've never grown before but am going to nurture it as carefully as possible because it is mightily expensive at the supermarket.

Carrots, parsnips and beetroot are all showing shoots but Lord knows when they will be ready for harvesting. The courgettes are hanging on in there, like you'd expect courgettes to do. And the aubergines are looking surprisingly perky but again, it's going to be weeks and weeks before we see any edible results.

Still, we are lucky that we are hobby gardeners and do not depend on our crops for our living. They are a supplement rather than a necessity. I am not sure how I would cope running a small holding when the weather has been so unkind like it has the last year and a half. It is all very well reading lovely books with lovely pictures where everything goes according to plan. It is, in that respect, like teaching. You can read all your like about the theories of teaching and learning, you can even go as far as imagining the implementation of all these marvellous theories in your classroom. But chuck in the uncertain element - the child - (and in the case of self-sufficiency, the vagaries of climate) - and it can all go pear-shaped in the space of less time than it takes to grow, well, a pear.

But we try. We curse the cold because it prevents germination. We curse the rain because it stops us digging and planting. And then we curse the endless days of hot sun because the new plants shrivel up unless we are very, very on the ball with consistent watering. And don't mention the slugs and snails, and the weeds.

But, as I say, we try, because we like it and it is satisfying when things do grow, and there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of pulling up that first crop of fat radishes.


rusty duck said...

It isn't easy is it..
I am harvesting mangetout and salad leaves. Oh and a bit of spinach, but that is all. I've spent most time trying to keep things vertical in the wind. The beans are really slow this year.

How is Andy?

doodles n daydreams said...

Hi Denise, Yes, how is Andy? I hope all is well again, or at least heading that way.
Feijoas - native to South America, a type of guava apparently, supposedly they taste like pineapple, but you could have fooled me. I'm still trying to work the taste out. You need both a male and female tree and they are very hard to grow in northern climes because it gets too cold.
I hope the weather starts to behave for you in the garden very soon.


Denise said...

Oh, don't talk to me about the beans, Jessica. We have a total of three flowers on our many plants and I am fighting the urge to sit guard on them so they don't get blown away in the wind!

Andy is okay, thank you for asking. Didn't half put the wind up me, though. My family are masters of the art of having heart attacks when they are relatively young.

Diana, thank you for your concerns, too. You are very kind. And thanks for the information about feijoas. I hope your chutney experiment went well! X

Countryside Tales said...

Would it be insensitive at this point to say that our veggies are blooming and we have more than we can eat? Perhaps I could ship some over for you...

Denise said...

Yes - highly insensitive, you veggie show-off, you. (Having said that, if you could slip us a spare aubergine we'd be more that grateful...oooer, Missus!)

Countryside Tales said...

I've consulted the Head Gardener and we have spare aubergine plants a-plenty (as yet they are green and minus any fruit), so if you fancy a trip to Romsey, Hants you are more than welcome to come and have a cuppa (or a glass of something more interesting) and collect some. I'm not sure what our local post office would make of me trying to post them, but I could try- they are used to me so it probably wouldn't entirely surprise them ;-)