I used to dread school reports when I was a child. Pretty much every report I ever got had the immortal words “Could Do Better” scrawled on it somewhere. It’s such a loaded phrase isn’t it? In just three words it manages to convey a complex mix of mild satisfaction, irritation, disappointment and anticipation. I always resented the patronizing tone of teacher’s comments, and how they’d always end with ‘Happy Christmas’ after sticking the boot in..! So, I suppose this is an exercise in self-flagellation if ever there was one but here’s my report for this year’s GIYing:
Aubergines – F, Great plants, no fruit. Say no more. Must do better.
Bean, Broad – B. An early crop in the polytunnel did well and a later crop outside meant they were abundant for months on end. He still can’t seem to work out if he actually likes to eat them.
Bean, French – A. Halved the number he grew last year to reduce the glut, but was still overwhelmed. Bag loads in the freezer. Amazing crop.
Beetroot – A. Remains his fave veg to grow. Was a little lazy when it came to harvesting the late season crop which is still in the ground and struggling against the frosts.
Broccoli, Calabrese – F. Didn’t get around to planting any...must try harder.
Brussels Spouts – F. Slugs had a good go at the transplants and then caterpillars killed the plants off. He’ll be buying sprouts this Christmas. A shambles.
Carrots – B. Good year for carrots, but didn’t grow enough of them and has run out already. That’s just not good enough. A little planning would go a long way.
Celeriac – A. Still has them in the ground, and got really decent sized celeriac. Great effort. A fantastic crop.
Celery – B. Still has celery in the ground in the garden. Lots in the freezer. Solid effort.
ChilliPeppers – A. Seemed to thrive this year. Dare I say, he’s cracked it?
Courgette – B+. Prolific as always. Made a promise to himself to not let them grow any longer than pencil length before harvesting. Did not keep that promise.
Cucumber – A. Brilliant year. Had way too many, but made some great chutneys and pickles.
Garlic – C. Considering how much he waffles on about garlic, his were underwhelming this year. Could do better.
Kale – B+. Great crop of Cavalo Nero. Playing a blinder in winter garden.
Kohlrabi – F. Started off well but didn’t stick to succession sowing regime. Slugs had a field day. Desultory.
Leeks – B. Has a great crop of about 30 leeks in the ground still. Sturdy performance.
Onions – C. Decent onions but, as with the carrots, just not enough of them.
Parsnip – B. Solid performer. Still has a good thirty of them in the ground.
Potatoes – C. Got blight on everything but the blight-resistant Sarpo Mira and wireworm was a significant problem. Much cursing in the kitchen when peeling was the result.
Pumpkin/Squash – C. A little late planting them and this resulted in a poor return – only harvested about 10 in total.
Salad Leaves – C. Good year with oriental greens and lettuce but didn’t sow any in August and September which made the season short.
Spinach – B. Annual spinach remains a big pain, tending to bolt at the earliest opportunity. Perpetual spinach is a safer bet, if not quite as tasty. Still churning out leaves.
Sweetcorn – C. Grew them in the tunnel and they did brilliantly but timed holidays badly and they had gone over by the time he got back. Unforgivable.
Tomatoes – A. Great year. 80 fine plants in the tunnel gave delicious toms from July to November, and a freezer full of sauces. Fine work.
Comment: Michael remains committed and enthusiastic, if a little sloppy and lazy at times. Though troubled by pests and inclement conditions, he soldiered on and is showing progress. Output was a little lower than we hoped. We have high hopes for him for next year.
If you'd like to up your growing grades in 2018 join me on a Beginners Guide to Growing class in GROW HQ this spring!