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Geoff Hodge Web Editor Peterborough

I've been a horticultural journalist for 20 years, a gardener for longer than I want to think about and a veg grower for 25 years.

  • Date Joined: 21 Nov 2006

New year - new commitment

Posted by Geoff Hodge on 14 Jan 2008 at 10:29 AM

I don't make New Year resolutions as I think they're a waste of time and effort - if you want to do something just do it. But I feel I need to ensure I get something done this year - so here's my mid-January resolution: "I will keep up with my veg blog this year".

Last year I had so many other projects on the go that veg blogging just lost momentum. This year will be different! I'm also going to be looking at climate as well this year to tie in with our changing climate section (www.rhs.org.uk/climate), so I hope this isn't a false promise.

So how did 2007 end for me on the veg front? Well the year itself was a complete washout - no pun intended - and one of the worst I can remember for veg growing. I apologise now to all those people who, through the RHS Grow your own veg campaign, started veg gardening for the first time, only to be beset with failures, disappointment, doom and gloom. But be positive - this year just can't be any worse!

Like most people I suffered (well, not personally you understand; it was my crops) from potato and tomato blight - although a couple of sprays with Dithane did hold it in check and the crops were OK.

The low light levels in summer and resulting cool temperatures did for my aubergines, sweet peppers and courgettes - the crops were abysmal (keep it a secret, but from six aubergine plants I cropped one aubergine!). Thankfully, the chilli peppers were a huge success and in the pantry I've still got a couple of jars of dried chillies plus some fiery chilli jam.

Leafy salad crops, on the other hand, grew really well, lasted until November and basically I was self-sufficient in salads for nine months. I also feasted regularly on peas, runner beans, French beans and globe artichokes from the allotment.
So how has 2008 started? Well the garage still contains two types of potatoes and the very last of the onions. The allotment has crops of Jerusalem artichokes, a range of brassicas and leeks. At home the only crop growing outside is kale, but I have broad beans and garlic growing on in the lean-to frame and lettuce in the greenhouse all ready for planting out.

So here's to 2008 - let's hope the weather is just a bit more conducive to veg growing and we have a much better year. If you're reading this please join with me by crossing your fingers, toes and anything else you can lay your hands on.

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