Shooting Blanks

I managed an hour or two in the garden today, and not a moment too soon as the sole surviving pumpkin plant appears to be mounting a bid for freedom.

pumpkin plant

It doesn’t appear to be mounting much of an effort to grow pumpkins though – the few little fruits it has produced have tended to rot off before they amount to much. This may be sheer loneliness – I planted out four squash and four pumpkin plants this spring, and it is the sole survivor of the rampant slug army that is inhabits the garden. Despite many dozens of them meeting their doom in the beer traps, there seems to be no end to them; perhaps I should stop buying them rounds …

slugs

Perhaps I should also stop providing neat little slug starter homes…

Despite the slugs, and some rampant neglect of my own, the plot has proved surprisingly fertile ground for the plants that did survive. None of my French beans made it past the hopeful seedling stage, and the curly kale just evaporated without trace but the red winter kale is looking pretty good, if somewhat slug-chewed, the beetroot has already provided several meals and is wonderfully sweet* and the peas have just gone beserk. They have resisted all attempts to be propped up so picking them involves wading into the patch and pulling out the pods before the tendrils can fasten themselves around your ankles, but for the first time in years we’ve had enough peas to cook and eat, rather than just be scoffed straight from the pod. I think this may be first-plot syndrome – they always seem to do well on new ground, and then are never quite so good again (she says, grandly, having had all of three veg plots in her entire life).

peas

Tonight’s supper, which was, as tradition demands, delicious

My broad beans are a sad disappointment though. They are producing magnificent pods but there’s just nothing in them or almost nothing. Clearly with that and the pumpkin, there’s a lack of pollination going on. We seem to have a fair few bees about, but perhaps they’ve been distracted (or indeed held captive) by the peas. It might have helped if I’d staked them properly, or kept them a bit better weeded, but it’s definitely been a case of the survival of the fittest in the garden this year.

broad bean pods

Broad beans: all hat and no cattle

* adjusted for being beetroot and not, say, chocolate.

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4 Responses to Shooting Blanks

  1. Anonymous says:

    Over here we have been mostly free from slug damage. Even snails are hardly noticeable. This is not normal! Sorry for you!

  2. disgruntled says:

    They must all be here

  3. Charles says:

    First plot syndrome sounds like one of Sherlock Holmes’s lost stories. Envious of peas. I am now operating a one chance policy, if I like it and it fails once it gets a second go, if that fails it’s off to the supermarket. Broad beans had better work next year or it’s frozen beans for me, ditto French beans. The Chinese leaf has fed both us the slugs and the cabbage whites, the cauliflower is not filling in for the Chinese leaf. Not sure about the future of cauliflower, it is cheaper to buy than grow, which rather begs the question of why grow it….

    Now starting to think autumn salads and planning next year. Over wintering red onions were a success, the garlic was I thought rather poor, until I saw the organic garlic on sale in Bath, actually mine was not bad and it was (ignored) totally organic.

  4. disgruntled says:

    ooh you’re harsh, I give everything three chances before it’s out.

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