Skip navigation.

Getting started

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

Mixed fortunes

Posted by Geoff Hodge on 19 Aug 2008 at 09:28 AM

Right! This is getting silly! I know each year in the garden is different – but I just wish they were different in a good way. Two years ago we were over-run with tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and aubergines and the freezer was swollen with ratatouille. Last year was the ‘blight year’ and tomatoes and potatoes took a bit of a hammering. This year – it has been beans all the way – in all their forms. But the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines…!

We’ve just come back from a holiday in the south of France – every day hot, sunny and glorious. And while I’m lying next to the pool trying not to become a British lobster I’m thinking it MUST be sunny back home and all the fruiting crops must be bursting with fruit. Luckily, the mother-in-law was house sitting so everything would be fed and watered as and when needed.

As soon as I got back it was straight into the garden to see how things were doing; the verdict – badly. On checking the readings on my Oregon weather station rain gauge I couldn’t believe it – just about every day must have been wet – very wet.
Now that I’ve had a closer look at the crops the news is even worse. The beefsteak tomatoes in the greenhouse have aborted all of the few flowers they had and there is not a single tomato set on the eight plants – and not a single flower to come. At least they’ll make good substance for the compost heap. The tomatoes outside are doing much better and we harvested about a dozen fruit. At least the cucumbers have been a success. The peppers are cropping and we’ve tried a few chillies, the aubergines are still ornamental only! At least there hasn’t been any blight this year.

The allotment is doing much better and we spent last Saturday digging up and picking veg to the max. We had a Tubtrug-full of onions, shallots and garlic. Arm-fulls of French (climbing and dwarf) and runner beans, two Tubtrugs of early potatoes (‘Charlotte’ has done fantastic) and squashes. Still to come are the sweetcorn, more beans, peas, tomatoes and maincrop potatoes.

Planning ahead, we’d grown a load of winter brassicas in pots and leeks in seed modules, and with all the early potatoes harvested these have now found their home for the autumn and winter.

So, as last year, mixed fortunes in the Hodge veg garden. But, I still can’t believe that the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines have been so poor. In fact, I’ve started to have nightmares about it. After all that time spent in spring sowing, pricking out, potting on, pinching out, staking…! Next spring, if you see me, please, please, please stop me from overdoing it with sowing all these fruiting crops – I can’t stand the heartache.


No comments have been left