This page introduces a set of pages concerned with Vegetable growing at Barum.
They are devoted to the most exciting and dynamic part of the garden − The Veg Plot, where a mouth-watering selection of food is grown to satisfy the needs of My Lady's table.

These pages provide a record of the Undergardener's extreme efforts, allowing me to gloat over the successes (and minimise the disasters) without having to share the glory with the Headgardener, especially as she rarely visits this part of the garden − except to gather crops, and criticise.

The data collected has evolved over the years, getting more detailed as the years progress − maybe this indicates the Undergardener has been spending too much time on this web-site rather than on the job in hand − producing more and better veg for the Kitchen Department.

Some readers may expect them to include a record of yield. No chance − the Headgardener does most of the harvesting, and she has no inclination to weigh anything, let alone be disciplined enough to record the details; she prefers to swan about, trug in hand, selecting anything that takes her fancy.

The Vegetable Pages

Also included here is a link to the Weather Pages. This link is included here since the weather provides an endless set of excuses for the Undergardener's failures, and allows him to maintain some small degree of competence in the Headgardener's eyes.

Annual Overview

2016 Winter was mild − with only a couple of frosty mornings, and no snow. It started wet, but became drier each month. It also got brighter each month. We did have a couple of extremely strong gales which didn't affect the veg plot.
Spring was generally dry, and germination was reasonable.
Summer was very dry, but with a lot of cloud. Temperatures were reasonable.
Autumn was dry, with only showery intervals. It was very warm, not cooling down until December.
Crops that did very well were Runner Beans, Potatoes, Summer brassicas did well, but late ones were very slow, I tried Bone Meal and dried Seaweed, covered with compost to disguise the smell − the hound only had a dig when it was first put down. The crop from the Cox apple was rubbish, we had flowers but only 3 fruit germinated. The Raspberries were fairly poor for both croppings − time for some new plants − still.
2015 Winter was, again, mild − not as mild as last winter, and fairly dry. It was very overcast and dull.
Spring was very dry, but germination was good.
Summer was a disappointment with only a very brief spell of hot weather.
Autumn was average with a very dry spell in October.
Most crops did very well despite only using compost as fertilizer since the new hound's insistence in digging up any proper fertilizer. The Runner Beans and Cucumber were exceptional, and brassicas formed nice medium sized hearts. The crop from the Cox apple was going to be quite good until 90% were scrumped one night − squirrels are the main suspect. The Raspberries were fairly poor for both croppings − time for some new plants?
2014 We had a very very wet Winter, and it was very mild with only a few light frosts.
The Spring was early and warm and dry, making the garden very early. But the Carrots and Sweet Corn were very difficult to germinate.
The Summer was also warm, with some very hot days in July.
Runner Beans and Cucumber were very good, together with most other crops. We were surprised that Capsicum failed to redden despite the warmth. The crop from the Cox apple was zero - over did it last year. The Raspberries had a poor mid-season crop, but a very good late crop.
2013 We had a very cold Spring with some brutal winds in March. This severely retarded early growth, making the whole season about 1 month late.
It warmed up in the Summer, but plant development never caught up.
Our best crops were Runner Beans, Shallots and Potatoes. But the fruit crop from the Cox apple was exceptional, and the Raspberries were good in mid-season, but it was too dry for a successful late crop.
2012 We had a drought in March, so watering was needed. Dodgy at that time of year when rot can easily set in. It was also very warm.
No need to worry about a shortage of water, the rains came in April, we had a short break in May, then it just rained for the remainder of the year.
There was very little sun with low temperatures, so all the more tender plants failed to develop properly and very few fruit. This resulted in a lot of mould being prevalent.
The worst affected plants were Cucumber, Capsicum, Melon. Apple, Plum. Other plants were affected by the wet - Runner Beans produced just enough to keep 2 going; Potato tops looked very blighty, so tops cut off affecting the size of the tubers. Even Carrot 'Resistafly' were attacked by carrot fly, presumably because any aroma from the carrot was seriously diluted by the rain.
2011 The early part of the year was mild, and very dry, so early planting went to plan. However, the Summer was very dark with low light levels, so ripening became a problem of many of the more tropical plants, for example the peppers only turned in September due to the extraordinary Autumn Weather.
As reported in the report for 2011, a little seaweed was added to the Veg patch, and elsewhere. The results were astounding - Savoy Cabbage the size of footballs − too large for the kitchen department to store in the frig, and each taking a month to devour (yes − veg fresh from the garden will keep that long in a domestic refrigerator).
Carrots did too well − especially as we tried some 'Resistafly' variety to deter carrot fly, it worked and will be come out standard variety. A pity as I find it much easier to sow tape as it removes all that thinning nonsense.
2010 This year had 2 Winters, one at the start of the year and a period of unexpected intense cold in December. Initial planting was not delayed by the weather because by April it was very dry with a lot of sun. Neither did the second cold spell as all the tender crops had already been harvested.
The second sowing of Runner beans produced a good crop − enough for the Headgardener's demands − extending the season to the end of October. Carrots did too well − had to store some in dry compost, but we have a problem with carrot fly.
The only poor yields were Aubergine and Capsicum − badly located coldframe; Broccoli was a wonderful food source to the pigeons − didn't net them early enough; Leeks were again attacked by leek moth, not many recovered, and they were small; Cauliflower produced Broccoli like curds - the plugs were badly marked.
2009 The very cold winter made the soil very cold, and delayed the sowing time and germination - no weeds until March.
Two sowings of Runner beans were managed, but the second one was about 2 weeks too late. The days were too short for a decent crop to develop properly.
Brassicas did well, and provided a superb home for the hordes of Whitefly.
Roots - Carrot, Parsnip and Potato - all did well.
Allium - Garlic, Onion, Shallot - all did well - they liked the cool wet.
Cucumber suffered from the cool weather.
2008 We succeeded in making 2 sowings of Runner beans. First sowing in mid April, and the second in early June.
The Summer weather was diabolical: perpetual rain in August, but more importantly very low light levels throughout.
2007 This was a very interesting year for weather. We had a drought in April - all water butts emptied. The rainy season started in May, and continued unabated until August. The early drought and heat caused many plants to germinate early (which was good), but the beetroot and onions bolted.
The wet Summer caused lots of fungal problems - onions and garlic were riddled with rust by June, and all the Brassicas suffered from sooty mould.
The Runner beans loved the conditions, and produced a fantastic crop. We even got around to planting a second sowing (planted out 1st August, should have been mid June).
Despite the weather the sweet corn was better than expected. As did the Swede and Parsnip.
We even had 3 almost reasonably sized melons - they would have been bigger if the cold frames had been left open when we were away in August - it baked that week.
2006 A supporting wall for one of the raised beds was re-concreted in. The other bed surrounds now look a bit tatty.
2005 The normal standard was not achieved this year. The spring was very start-stop, and several of the crops needed a second sowing, never let it be said that the Under-gardener has lost his touch! We managed several meals from our own carrots - before the surrounding Garlic died down, and the badgers trooped in one night to wreck the remainder of the crop.
The 'Autumn Bliss' raspberries were replaced by 'Joan J' - supposed to be happy on thin soil like ours. But I took the opportunity of replacing and improving the soil.
2004 The 'Glen Clova' (early) and 'Malling Admiral' (mid season) raspberry plants had become tatty (11 years old) and were removed. The soil was replaced and improved before a late variety ('Joan J') was planted. This is a late variety, so the Headgardener will have to wait before she can come and pinch them.
The Veg patch page has been altered to act as a diary, and reflects the brilliance of this section of the garden.

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