The Garden – 2011

The garden has been a bit different this year. The harsh winter killed a great deal of our crops leaving the garden really rather desolate after the thaw. Then we thought we were going to move house (the less I talk about this the better) so we were late planting this year’s crops.

It’s been interesting seeing how the extreme weather we’ve had over the last 12 months has impacted on the garden. The usually failsafe crops have done badly. Trusty beetroot, what happened?! Carrots, oh dear. Even the local Strawberry PYO farm closed early due to poor crops. I felt better while walking around the beautiful Kitchen Gardens at Calke Abbey and spotted some of their crops were just as disappointing as ours.

However you can always rely on the nuclear proof rhubarb and broadbeans to keep going.  The herb garden also survived. After a bleak looking February and me thinking most of the herbs had died I pulled them up and replanted the herbs only for the original herbs to regenerate like a phoenix from the flames and the herb garden is now overflowing with mint. The ancient apple tree that overhangs our garden really did look in a sorry state. With no sign of life in the tree by April I really thought the harsh winter had killed it. Then all of a sudden, within the space of 2 weeks, the tree went from no sign of life to being adorned with leaves and blossom. I’ve never seen such a fast transformation before. Got to love Mother Nature. This year the apple crops should be as great as last year’s due to the harsh frost killing a parasite that can blight apple crops. 2011 is going to be another good year for cider.

I think part of the problem with the garden this year is due to the almost drought like conditions we’ve endured. Unlike most of the country we’ve had hardly any rain. As I look out the window the grass is parched and the leaves are beginning to turn on the trees. This isn’t an early Autumn, but the fact the trees are dehydrated and stressed. Soft fruit crops have also been effected as the plants don’t have sufficient resources to waste energy on producing fruit. No blackberry picking for us this year. The hedgerows are bare of fruit and what fruit we did find we’ve left for the birds.

In amongst the disappointing garden the laboured tendering for one particular plant has paid off. For our wedding we were given a young grapevine. After 4 years of love and pruning, fruit appeared just in time for our wedding anniversary. The traditional gift for a 4th anniversary just so happens to be fruit. The fruit should ripen in the next few weeks along with the last of the tomatoes.

As we finish harvesting this year’s crops we are deciding on what to plant for next year. So far all we’ve decided on is spring onions and rainbow radishes along with wondering if we have another harsh winter is store. What are you planting for next year?

The Garden – 2010
The Garden – 2009
The Garden –  2008



8 thoughts on “The Garden – 2011”

  • Funnily enough we were at Calke Abbey last night watching ” Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Our runner beans have been superb this year, also broad beans, carrots are just beginning to get there, courgettes are okay. Herbs have all survived (still struggle with basil, but we’ve got some). Would love to grow tomatoes.

    • I was at Calke Abbey during the day yesterday. It was a lovely hot day and we had the obligatory ice cream! You had very good weather for Midsummer Night’s Dream. I wish I had got a ticket because it’s one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.

      Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow. We grow all of ours in hanging baskets as we’re limited for space. I’m not sure of the name of the variety we grew this year as we were given the plants, but Tumbling Toms are great for hanging basket.

  • Sorry to hear about your poor summer. We’ve had a scorcher here in Finland. This followed a very hard winter. Since moving here five years ago I’ve been astonished by the way so many familiar English plants survive and thrive here. Parsley and spring onions covered by three feet of snow from Christmas to the end of March were fine when it melted!
    Our problem this year has been bolting. Spinach, chard and lettuce all bolted. Still, all good things come to an end. We can expect the first frosts in the next three weeks.

  • isn’t it funny how the harsh winters effect some places more than others. We had a good crop of strawberries this year and put it down to lots of post-snow moisture being in the ground in the spring and it being such a hot April that the snails were trapped in the ground or killed off. Beets and carrots have also been good but there seems to be a lot of onion rot on the allotment this year.

    I haven’t even thought about next year (probably because I just stick all the usual suspects each year) – too busy chutney and jam making at the minute!

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