I don’t often use the blog for non-retail or personal posts but made an exception this time last year. At the start of lockdown in March 2020 I started a weekly tweet about my greenhouse and last September I reflected on my gardening year in this blog.
This year my tweets have been perhaps less effusive and a little less frequent. But they have kept a record of the 2021 growing year. So I thought another post on 2021 in my greenhouse was warranted.
As twitter followers know I tend to grow from seeds (mainly from Real Seeds) and being a creature of habit start things off at the same time in the same way.
The first conclusion from this year was, despite good germination, the early part of the season was slow and lot of seedlings failed to kick on. At one point, from comparing photos from this and last year, I reckoned plants were a month behind. I also lost chillies, aubergines, courgettes and tomato seedlings for the first time, as early Spring was cold and damp (or so it felt).
But those that survived, did indeed catch up and prosper. We have had a brilliant tomato season, even though our Galina failed. I ended up with too many Green Zebra. The Rose de Berne were superb. Blue Fire was spectacular but produces too little yield to persevere.
Runner beans (Czar, Scarlet Emperor) were great. Peas and Broad Beans (Sutton Standards) were fine. Potatoes (Maris Piper, Arran Piper and Purple Majesty) were excellent. A dwarf French Bean (Aida Gold) was an outstanding introduction. A dwarf house tomato also showed small can be exceptional, and as I write the two plants in the greenhouse are still producing.
Rhubarb, plums and carrots also produced, though a squirrel stole my one apple last week. Pavelec long red chillies were great and my one Blue Hungarian squash was/is huge (7.7 kg), and has recently been turned into soup – a lot of soup. A ginger experiment continues to look good and my herbs (with the exception of all basils) have been a steady source of flavour.
So, a really odd year. Slow and wet with a lot of early seedling losses, but most came good in the end. Thanks to my colleague Malcolm MacLeod who gave me San Marzano and Tigerella tomatoes and Pot Black aubergines to fill gaps, we had a broader range than before. I did though kill the melon plant he also gave me.
I have many of my seeds for next year already; some from Real Seeds but quite a lot harvested from this year and saved. I will stay with most of my normal tomatoes, keeping Rose de Berne but dropping Blue Fire. A smaller squash seems more appropriate and I need to rethink courgettes and aubergines. I have added a Rhondda Black runner bean as an experiment. Can’t wait!
Like seeds grown in a greenhouse new High Street Projects that are “Beyond Retail” need careful nurture, good support and attention to the environment to ensure that they flourish !
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