Veggie progress report 2020

cucumbers, veg patch, courgette flower, chillies

I love growing veggies. I’ll never forget the first year that I grew 5 courgette plants in a sun blessed garden and a friend gave me 8 tomato plants. Himself is only just coming back round to considering courgettes acceptable on his plate after 3 months of me sneaking them into almost every meal.

The rhubarb we had in that house grew its roots under the oil tank and lifted the slabs it was seated on. We moved swiftly on, grateful our buyers didn’t seem concerned.

Since we moved here we’ve had less luck. The garden is North facing and there’s only a small vegetable patch. I’ve tried growing tomatoes in pots and got lots of green ones that never ripen. My butternut squash have failed every year. The courgettes have done OK and I’ve discovered that cucumbers work surprisingly well.

This year’s vegetables

So I had (yet another) late start to sowing seeds this year. When will I learn that Easter is too late? I tried to make up for that by putting the pots in the porch where they get lots of sun and warmth. That worked quite well but I managed to dehydrate and kill a couple of beetroot seedlings and some mint.

I successfully germinated tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash. A school mum gave me some courgette plants after mine didn’t sprout at all. We also planted the obligatory sunflowers and a bunch of cocktail herbs I’d had for a birthday sometime.

Vegetables germinating in the porch

I swapped some excess cucumbers with a neighbour in return for a couple of chilli plants.

And then the weather turned. We seem to have had solid grey rainy days for three months now. The courgettes are only just producing despite some early flowers. My terrible luck with squash seems to be continuing, I’ve removed all but one or two fruit on each plant and even taken to brushing the male flowers with a paint brush and then taking the pollen over to a female flower on the other plant.

Progress

So at this point I’ve got:

  • Two courgette plants, one of which is being a lazy bugger and has neither fruit nor flowers.
  • Two squash plants with some very suspicious looking fruit.
  • Two cucumber plants that should ensure we don’t need to buy a single cucumber more all summer.
  • Six mangey tomatoes which are going nowhere.
  • Five pepper plants that may or may not do anything.
  • Two cucurmelons with millions of tiny green fruit, but none of them get bigger. They’re meant to be the size of grapes but I think the birds are getting them first.
  • A strawberry plant with all its strawberries eaten by our local blackbird fledgling.
  • A chilli plant that’s actually giving me chillies – just as we’re about to go on holiday and won’t be around to eat them.
  • A row of beetroot, looking quite promising.
  • Several sunflowers, short but about to flower as we go away. FFS.
various photos of vegetables growing in the garden, harvested chilli and cucumber cut and ready to eat

How are your gardens growing? Are they being as contrary as mine?

Any tips for useless courgettes and squash?

31 thoughts on “Veggie progress report 2020

  1. Having just moved into a new apartment, I’m still looking for ways to take advantage of my sunny balcony and your post certainly inspires to try to grow some veggies/fruits, too. Strawberries would be the ultimate goal – hoping that I’d be sparred from the blackbird that’s been visiting your garden. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Balcony veggies are perfectly possible. Small tomatoes and strawberries should be fine. If they birds come picking it would be much easier to net than my whole veg patch.

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  2. Well, they say that ‘misery loves company’. So, perhaps you’ll take some comfort in knowing that our veggie growing efforts very much mirror your own. We get green tomatoes so often I’m contemplating painting one red just to see what it looks like!

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  3. Hah I love this, my parents grow all sorts in their garden with lots of success.

    Me? The blackbirds and slugs left us about 10 strawberries this year. I tried raspberries….yeah that didn’t work. My unwanted bramble produces plenty of blackberries if I let it grow…strangles everything else in the garden though….

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    1. I really want to try raspberries too, I think they can take a while to establish though. We have a couple of patches of wild blackberries locally that I raid for jam every September. Hope yours give you some good fruit.

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  4. Looks like you’re having a bit more luck than we have had at our new place! The first garden spot seemed ideal, but the soil was not. The second started late. We also had bunnies eat quite a bit. Our old place… dream garden seasons!

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  5. Your garden looks lovely! I would love some fresh cucumbers or jalapenos 🙂 I have a little garden on my balcony and got a few small tomatoes and peppers, but herbs do the best since I have limited sun

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    1. You might be able to do a trailing cucumber from a box at the rail on your balcony. Apparently you can grow tomatoes upside down, never tries it though. I love being able to gather fresh herbs whenever I need them in the kitchen.

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  6. Hahah! I love your posts. The honesty is what makes them so enjoyable. You are so funny – you should consider stand up! Its just brilliant. Thank you for brightening up our Friday.

    Veggies are a mystery to me – though one summer i did go all out and plant 4 marrow plants. We were told each marrow plant would sprout 100 marrows – that summer, the local chippy, gurudwara, mosque, corner shop and our neighbours all got shed loads of marrow. My mum curried it, fried it and made soup with it and vowed never to eat marrow again. We have a patch of soil that gets alot of sun and have grown lots there – cauliflower was my favourite. We now have strawberries in that patch and every year for the past 5 years we’ve had a bumper crop – my nieces love coming over and picking them. (Thankfully they were able to this year too as we are bubbling?)
    We have tomatoes too and they are currently flowering. And surprisingly Green Beans. Given to us by my sisters mother in law. I had no idea what they were and the other day we found a few green beans!! Planted some floweres – a birds and bees mix they have just started to flower and my Jasmine flowered earlier this year. That was my highlight i have to say!

    Nature takes its own time i guess – can a neighbour come and collect the fruits of your Labour so at least they dont go to waste whilst your away?

    I love your writing. Have a gorgeous Friday xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the best! What a brilliant thing to say 🥰

      The first year I did courgettes, I tried to give them to a neighbour. They said they didn’t like courgettes only marrows. So I let them get enormous and told them these were marrows. Brilliant disposal of glut produce. I even entered the village show that year and won with my spring onions.
      I really want a greenhouse but there’s nowhere to put one here sadly.
      You have a fabulous day and weekend too x

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  7. We are still in the process of sorting areas out in our garden, hopefully next year me and the girls can have an attempt at some veggies.

    Looks like they’re doing great and it’s fab that you are growing your own. Will make them taste that bit better knowing you have grown them yourself.

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    1. We have to watch small boy with anything that he might eat off the plant. He regularly gobbles mint leaves and has been known to munch rocket even! Cucumbers seem really easy, even without a greenhouse and they’re a great staple here. Tomatoes and peppers I struggle with as the garden doesn’t get enough sun.
      Good luck next year, I’ll keep my eye out to see how you get on.

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  8. Thanks for sharing. I am doing a bit better than last year but, with a north facing garden, have similar challenges to you. We did manage to keep the bunnies out of the garden. That’s a bit of a surprise considering we seem to have a huge rabbit population this year.

    So far, we’ve had a few meals of green beans, and a handful of peas. We have quite a few tomatoes growing in pots. They all have fruit on them and a couple are starting to ripen. The bell pepper plant is the biggest surprise. When I went to start my seedlings, I had one lonely pepper seed left and couldn’t find any more. So I planted it and luckily it grew. It’s in a pot on my deck and has about half a dozen good size fruit on it that I am looking forward to ripening.

    I love courgettes (we call them zucchini). I had some last night from my sister-in-law’s garden. Maybe I should try them next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your garden sounds amazing. I would love to do peas but suspect small boy would eat them before they got near the kitchen.
      My favourite is yellow courgettes but haven’t managed any of them this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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