August is upon us and this is the time of the year when as a gardener you take a look round and assess how things are going, what went right and what went wrong, why, and how to change it or improve it for next year. Unless you are a gardener extraordinaire there will always be something, I need to plant more in succession next year instead of jumping the starting gun and ending up with too many of the same veg all at once. If you can hold yourself back enough to do this you will have small amounts of each crop to keep you going and then some to store for Winter, if you can’t, you end up like me in a mad panic when everything is ready at once and you spend all your time picking and freezing stuff!
The happy accident comes in the form of runner beans, at the beginning of the year I accidentally planted 4 rows of french beans, thinking they were runner beans, then something ate all but 3 of the plants. I found the runner bean seeds which had fallen down behind the bench and so planted the meagre few I had left, my Mum then bought me a whole load of runner bean plants from a car boot sale, the result is three different coloured runner bean flowers! Whats great about that you may think, well the french beans are the first to produce beans and they have a pink/purple flower, you will remember that there were only 3 plants left, in amongst all the greenery of the other beans I can easily spot the purple flowers, work my way down the stalks to the lovely little beans hiding at the bottom 🙂 Saving me a great deal of time searching, especially as I will then spend the rest of the day blanching and freezing them! As each different type of bean begins to bear fruit I will be able to find them easily even in amongst the other types of bean.
Another mistake I made was planting the courgette plants too close together, they look very small and lonely when newly planted and so you tend not to plant them too far apart, but, and this is a big but, as they begin to grow, they swamp the whole area and begin to overcrowd each other, the huge leaves reach for the sky covering every inch of visible ground. Thats when the hunting begins, foraging around in the undergrowth to find the courgettes, undoubtedly I will miss one or two and they will be certain contenders for the Guinness Book of World Record as a Marrow! Strangely enough I planted the Sweetcorn too far apart and as they are wind-pollinated the plants on the outside of the patch have no cobs! I have also noted that I didn’t plant enough Broccoli or Cauliflower and far too much Kale! All this will be noted down and totally forgotten about by next year, and not only will I probably make the same errors in my rush to get sowing but I will make a few new ones to boot!
The animals are all enjoying a bit of sunshine, although keeping up with the water buckets is nearly a full-time job, as is watering the plot, the plants need watering morning and night just to stop them keeling over, what on earth was I talking about last week when I said I felt a nip of Autumn in the air!