Thursday, January 26, 2012

Learning from my mistakes

I read somewhere that the main benefit of experience is that it enables you to recognise your mistakes when you make them again. That certainly holds good for me, but I do try to learn from my gardening mistakes. Here are a few recent ones:

Onions, what onions?

Last winter I planted some of my heirloom onions in a bed which doesn't get a huge amount of sunlight. I've been growing great onions (if I do say so myself) for a few years and I knew that they needed a good, sunny spot. But I wanted to grow more heirloom varieties and couldn't resist trying them in a bed that was marginal. That proved a complete waste of time: the seedlings remained miserable, scrawny things and when I came back from Europe at the end of October I dug in the lot.

Moral of the story:
Don't be greedy, only plant what you have room to grow.

Rotten garlic

One of my beds is affected by onion basal rot, caused by a fusarium fungus. I thought it might be worth the risk of growing other alliums (leeks and garlic) in the bed anyway, as I didn't have anywhere much else for them. The leeks were OK but I lost about a third of the garlic to rot.

Moral of the story:
Don't allow optimism to triumph over experience.

Bitter cucumbers

I've had reasonable success in the past with growing cucumbers in 45-litre bags filled with compost, when the garden beds are full. This spring I did the same, however the fruit has been bitter and it has proven difficult to keep the water up to the plants. I think this is because I used commercial potting mix rather than my own compost, which is a lot more water-retentive.

Moral of the story:
Sometimes the stuff you make yourself is better than anything you can buy.

That's a prime reason for growing your own veg in the first place, isn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment