Growing up in West Clare in the 1970s my grandparents had a fairly big back garden. However they didn’t grow much variety of vegetables. I remember them growing potatoes, carrots and rhubarb. They might have grown a couple of other vegetables, but I don’t have clear memories of them. As a teenager we used to pick fruit from orchards nearby and my mother used to make all sorts of interesting things including a rather fabulous “no cook” chutney.
However I’d personally never grown much except for some herbs.
Over the last few months that’s all changed. I’ve got a variety of vegetables and fruit growing and so far I’ve had a reasonable amount of success. For me the plants not dying was already a victory, so anything beyond that was going to be positive.
So what have I managed to get over the last while?
The first fruit to do anything was the strawberry plant. In typical fashion the only one that I’d done absolutely nothing with ended up producing quite a bit of fruit. Not quite enough for a full bowl of strawberries at any one time, but overall a pretty good crop. And they were incredibly tasty.
I’m still waiting on the strawberries I planted in the big strawberry planters to do something useful, though I’ve also spotted a couple of birds dining out on my almost ripe fruit.
Cucumbers so far have been really good. They’re not as big as the ones you’d get in a supermarket, but they taste as good if not better.
Another vegetable that I’m happy with is courgette. I’ve got both green and yellow varieties in the greenhouse, though so far I’ve only had some of the green ones produce fruit of a size that was edible.
I’ve got a reasonably large Veg Trug planter outside which I planted with a variety of vegetables and herbs a couple of months ago. The lettuce has been fairly good, though I planted them too closely together (this happened with several vegetables!) so their growth was a bit stunted. Either way it’s still tasty.
So far my peppers haven’t really done a whole lot, but I’m still fairly optimistic.
The big challenge, however, will be the tomatoes. There’s plenty of potential fruit on there, but whether it’ll mature into something edible or not is anyone’s guess. Also I really need to work out a better way of supporting the plants, though I suspect it might be a little too late for this year’s crop.
I’ve learnt a fair bit over the last couple of months and the greenhouse is fairly full at this stage.
One thing I’ve learnt is that I really do need to spread out seeds and baby plants more. Some of the stuff I’ve tried growing hasn’t turned out well due to the plants being too cramped.
The challenge now is finding stuff that I can sow now for crops later in the year. The planter I have outside is about half empty so there’s no shortage of space outside. There’s also space in the greenhouse for things that can either survive on the lower shelves. It’s not really shaded down there, but there would be a limit to the height any plant can grow to due to the space between the shelves which cannot be changed.
What’s been fascinating to watch is how quickly some of these plants grow. The cucumber in particular really grows fast, as does the corn. Though the corn so far is just all plant and no sign of any kind of fruit yet.
If anyone has any suggestions or ideas about the crops to plant now please let me know via the comments!