2007年11月12日星期一

A final summary for 2007

2007 as a whole has not been kind to gardeners. Weather side, there has been up and downs: hot and dry in the spring (constant +-24C, no drop of rain for more than 30 days between April and beginning of May), cool and very wet in the summer (temperatures +-18c,constant rain, some places had encountered floods), reasonable temperature but less than average rainfall in the autumn. There is a general understanding among vegetable growers this year: if your vegetables are not performing, it is perfectly normal; it’s not your fault! Don’t lose faith, start all over next year.

I’ve done reasonably ok this year. I’ve had pleasant surprises from my chilli peppers and bell peppers, great crop from bush beans, sugar peas, cucumbers and Chinese amaranth, success with coriander for the first time, and months of joy from the sunflowers. There were heartbreaking moments as well when my healthy tomato plants turned black overnight due to a blight attack; when I was desperately praying for rain during the more than 1-month long draught in the spring; and when I was longing for sunshine and warmth during the long wet June and July months. I came to realize how much the farmers relied on the mercy of nature to survive; how desperate and hopeless they could become when confronted with extreme weather conditions; and how very fortunate we gardeners are growing crops for joy, not for survival.

This spring, due to long warm and dry weather, many of my sowings (such as spinach) did not germinate. I love pea shoots, but before I was able to pick enough pea shoots for soup or for stir-fry, the plants quickly went to flower, and I ended up harvesting loads of sugar peas that I do not fancy very much. Luckily, my husband adores sugar peas; I was able to keep hem smiling once every 2 days with a big plate full of stir-fried sugar peas.

Courgette has always been nr 1 on my easiest growing vegetable list, yet they did not perform very well this year. Yes, they did put up a lot of growth, produced plenty of fruits, but the quality of the fruits were not comparable to those from previous years; they tended to rot on the plant. I’ve lost at least 1/5 of the fruits to rotting. The mildew problem was more severe than ever.

Pumpkins did not cope with the wet and cool summer well enough to produce quality fruits, moreover, the fruits harvested do not keep for long; some are already beginning to rot, while the fruits from last year were kept into this January.

Cucumbers: the mini-cucumbers did not perform well. The plants remained small throughout the growing season. They did produce fruits between late May and June, but the production slowed down by end June, though picking lasted till mid-August, the harvest was not significant. While the Chinese long variety ‘Tianjin Shen Non’ was a great performer. It produced long, shining, sweet fruits 30 cm long between July and August. By end August, the plants began to look sad (this August has really been cool and wet) and faded away as the night temperature began to drop. This is the first year I grew cucumbers, so far so good.

Chillies and peppers have been my price crop this year (see September + October notes). They performed superbly even under such poor summer conditions and with so little care. They are listed on top of my definitely-worth-growing vegetables list for next year.

Bush beans have been wonderful this year. I’ve never had so many beans out of the same amount of plants thanks to this variety called ‘Argus’ from Elite seeds. This variety produced long (20 cm in length) and tender beans. From July to end August, out of the +-30 plants, I had to pick almost once every 2 days, eating fresh or packing them into deep freezer. This is a rewarding crop that is definitely a must in my future bean growing.

Failed Crop
- Spinach ‘Viking’: none of the spring,summer or autumn sowings
germinate.
- Mini cucumber ‘Delikate B’: sensitive to temperature drop
- Tomato: none of the tomato plants survived the blight attack

Poor Performer
- Pole beans ‘Jindian Wanwan beans’: vigorous plants, but poor
production
- Chinese long radish ‘Red Siji Shuiguo’: Seeds have high
germination rates,fast growing,but sensitive to root fly attack.
- Mini cucumber (Chinese market seeds): moderate production

General Performer
- Courgette ‘Diamant’: long variety,dark green skin,productive.
- Pak Soy ‘ Tai Sai’: a healthy plant.
- Chinese hyacinth beans (Chinese market seeds)
- Pumpkin ‘uchiki kuri’
- Carrots ‘Japanese WuCun Shen’: healthy plant, resistant to root fly.
- Chinese musterd green ‘HuaYe Baobao Qincai’:disease (pest) free.

Top Performer
- Courgette ‘Di Nizza’: a round variety,tender and very tasty. Recommended.
- Bush beans ‘Argus’: highly recommended.
- Cucumber ‘Tianjin Shen Non’: highly recommended.
- Sugar peas ‘Norli’: A highly recommended variety if grown for sugar peas. This dwarf variety produces long tender and sweet tasting sugar peas, very productive.
- Chinese coriander: no variety name (see September notes)
- Chillies and peppers: no variety name (see September + October notes)
- Amaranth: no variety name (see September notes)
- Mixed salad ‘maxi mix’: cut and grow baby salad.

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