Thursday, 14 February 2019

Veg and fruit growing

Joy asked what we're planning on growing this year.

Fruit wise we have 3 apple trees, all young so we haven't had loads of fruit yet....a cooker, Bountiful, and 2 eaters - Fiesta, and a Cox that was given to us last year.  We also have 2 Conference pears and a Victoria plum.  The plum tree is 5 or 6 years old, but has yet to give us any fruit - the last 2 years it's had a very few fruits on it early in the season, but they've dropped off before they matured.  The tree looks very healthy, we have no idea why it's not fruited successfully yet.  Husband has only pruned it lightly - unusually for him, he does have a tendency to hack huge bits off of things!

We also have quite a bit of soft fruit...lots of raspberries, 2 blueberries and 3 blackcurrants, plus lots of strawberries.  We'll probably get some new strawberry plants this year, some of the present ones are several years old and a mixture of varieties, some producing only tiny and not very tasty fruits.  We're getting rid of some of the raspberries, leaving only 3 canes - although we like to eat raspberries, they're thugs, they send out runners everywhere (they continually come up in the lawn) and grow so rapidly that they end up being a tall jungle and overshadow everything else in the fruit bed.  Husband gets rid of some every year....not enough though!  And it's too much work for him now.

As for veg, we're cutting back on the amount we grow this year, both in terms of type and quantity.  There's just the two of us, but husband always grows enough to feed almost our entire hamlet, he ends up having the garden swamped with plants and produce and simply doesn't have enough time to look after it all, and then feels overwhelmed.  And I get a bit fed up with having mountains of veg to deal with in late summer.  Nice as it is to have plenty of home grown produce, there's only so much I can process, cook and store!

So we've made the decision not to grow any brassicas of any type this year...they get so infested with white butterflies and then eggs and caterpillars, of course, husband just can't manage to keep them covered well enough.  And we don't do chemical control, at all.  Nor are we growing onions - we had loads bolt last year, due to the weather, and in any case, onions are cheap enough to buy and I wouldn't say they're one of the veg that tastes miles better home grown.  And no aubergines or sweet peppers this year either - they take so long to come to maturity here, it's usually the very end of the growing season before one or two start ripening and then there's not enough warm sunshine left to ripen the rest.

It is quite difficult to convince husband that he's getting older, he has a heart condition which is progressive, and he needs to take things a bit easier - sometimes he seems to think he's still in his prime, until he overdoes things and wipes himself out for a couple of days.  There's also the fact that some of his heart medication (blood thinners, eg) means that he bleeds easily - he's quite clumsy and is always cutting himself, virtually every time he sets foot in the garden, it seems.  I often say he really ought not to go outside unless he's wearing full body armour!  But this year I am insisting, and making sure, that he doesn't go overboard and only grows what he can cope with easily.

So this year we're growing carrots, leeks, runner and French beans, peas, yellow and green courgettes, butternut squash and, new for us, asparagus.  Charlotte and Rooster potatoes, which we grow in bags (they get eaten to death by slugs and eelworm in the ground here).  In the greenhouse, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad crops and land cress.  It's possible that one or two other things might creep in during the year!


  1. It is very sensible to cut down now - we are all getting older and, some, less able. It will make things easier for you too. xx

  2. Good idea , cutting back. He'll have more time for singing and other endeavors.:)


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