Yesterday, we lamented some of our open ground crops, we reckon around 70% are useless this year, which is a big hit in the stomach for us but thank goodness for #foraging and #bartering. Also, thank goodness that our fruit garden has grown because we have had more than we can eat, and there have been jams, cakes and yoghurt galore. The other day we brought in over a pound of blueberries, we never got them to grow in our old garden, Drovers, and they have been hit and miss here too but this year with some careful planning and a large net we have kept away the birds and brought home the fruit.
On the plus side, Carol's Dad gave us some lettuce that he grew as plug plants and they have filled the hunger gap in some of our beds giving us good looking lettuce for the dinner table. They have still struggled though with the temperatures and fluctuating rainfall (it actually bounced down the other night and filled the last six inches in Little D's new pond to overflowing in one night, that's a heck of a rainfall) and what should be a lettuce double the size of this (and it has been in previous years) still fits in the bowl of Andrew's hand.
However, the #bartering has come in handy, and down in the valley, and thanks again to Carol's Dad too, we have more runner beans than we can shake a stick at. We actually had to get more jars to pickle them in as friends and family have given us their glut of beans just to get their hands on Andrew's fabulous, fiery and very tasty runner bean pickle. He's delighted that our own chillies have gone into it this year (though the chillies are a Russian roulette of heat), though as we write this they are coming to an end, struggling again with the falling and skyrocketing temperatures. We will miss this successful crop.
So, 70% of the open ground crops have sulked and there won't be any pumpkins this year or next. It may be a crop we may have to ditch in favour of root crops. The courgettes/zucchini may be relegated to growbags in 2017 (because in the herb garden they have done wonderfully in growbags) and undercover too beside the very successful cucumbers. We may try early spuds again in open ground and ditch maincrop for a few years. We may do many things. There is time to plan over winter. At least this winter we have the warmth of our preserves to go beside food we will have to buy but at least we will try to buy local, from our meat to our vegetables.
On the plus side, there is always next year and the promise of a real summer after a real winter. Stay tuned, stay committed, stay positive, these things pass.