A little look at 2019’s veg

A little late but better that than never, it was a bit of a mixed bag for the veg in 2019 with some things doing well as usual and others a little more understated. I’ll just mention a few of them here as really I’m looking to this years growing more but it is important to note a little of what went on. Only going to mention some things that I grew – would take to long to cover them all so sticking with regulars and favourites.

I’ll start with the beans – they had a mediocre year with really only the dwarf beans (Sprite) performing with any reasonable crop. The runner beans (Firelight) did ok but nothing more, far less productive than normal which was surprising as they had a freshly topped up bed of homemade compost. Climbing beans (Python) were a real write off, in part I think the Achocha can take some blame for that one as it overpowered them keeping some of the light off as much as anything.

Dwarf Bean Sprite
Dwarf Bean – Sprite

Potatoes had a pretty solid year which was pleasing – only just ran out of stored spuds at the end of January so for a family of four that was pleasing. Varieties were Charlotte (Early), Cara & Stemster (Main) – Stemster performed slightly less well but still a good harvest.

Moving on a few other crops that were a bit here and there were Beetroot – some doing well others poor, the old favourite Boltardy proving its worth. Courgette (Sure thing) did well – originally had two plants but a deer – probably Muntjac took the top out of one ending its progress. The Chillis were quite prolific again although ‘Numax Suave Red’ was a little disappointing for me. Peppers also performed farily well with plenty of mid sized from ‘Mavras’ and some large ones from ‘Dasti Giallo’.

The last couple to mention I will start with carrots – usually a good reliable crop for me and this year pleasing that was pretty much the same result. The stand out variety on flavour was ‘Blanche a Collet Vert’ a white variety with a green shoulder – I would certainly suggest trying these if you love carrots. Other varieties grown in 2019 included ‘Volcano’ which did nicely, ‘Attilio’ also did well but I was slightly underwhelmed by ‘Dragon Purple’ – just a personal thing rather than anything wrong as such.

Final crop and the one that started me in the growing path are tomatoes – this year I started a but of a quest looking for good sauce varieties. I grew some other types as well as all in my poly tunnel so we are not talking big numbers – usually just three plants of each.

Amish Paste – a tried a tested variety so a good benchmark to grow in year one to compare others against. Fair to say it did grow well and produced a decent number of good sized tomatoes that made a good sauce as you would expect.

Opalka – A variety from Poland that produce a large plum tomato – comfortably the most productive of the sauce varieties I tried in 2019 and it made a good sauce as well – one to try if you haven’t.

Big Mama – Another large plum type although these struggled for me with a low harvest. I think some of this might be the position in the poly tunnel – they caught the most sun all day and I wonder if it got a bit much and they struggled to take up enough water.

Super Sauce – Hard to judge these – they were a late addition to try and as they started behind the others they never really seemed to catch up and had poor growing habit. I will have to go back to these another year to give the a fair chance.

Others types – Chocolate cherry was prolific and tasty, Harbinger also produced a number of good sized tomatoes – ideal for slicing and salads. The final variety was ‘Zlatava’ that are supposed to have an orange skin and red flesh – I didn’t really find this showed up that well so was a slight let down for me.

I am now waiting for the right time to crack on with the 2020 growing and did sow a few onion seeds yesterday (8th February). As I lack any south facing windows it means I can not start sowing as early as some given light is a big issue and when plants get above a small size they have to go outside so frosts also hold me back. I expect to start sowing my Chillies and Peppers late February or early march and the Tomatoes maybe just a week or so after. I do own one small grow light but it isn’t enough for much – possibly a future investment but not yet.

Does anybody else suffer with light being any issue – if so how do you deal with it?