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?