IF YOU CAN MEET WITH TRIUMPH AND DISASTER ...

 and treat those two impostors just the same...

Did Rudyard Kipling have vegetable gardening in mind when he wrote that?  I think perhaps he did.  

This week I'm sharing with you my Triumphs and Disasters.  I'll try not to take credit for the Triumphs whilst laying the blame for the Disasters on the weather, pests etc etc.  I will instead gracefully acknowledge that the Triumphs are also due to factors without the control of the gardener.

1. Tomatoes

For the first time in ten years of growing tomatoes I have actually grown as many as we can eat.  In previous years I would be impatiently waiting to have enough for a tomato salad, but not this year.  The photo is of a Black Russian which was as juicy and tasty as any tomato you could wish for.


2. Potatoes

In a fit of lock down preparations, I ordered more seed potatoes than I normally would.  I've just dig up the last of the Charlottes and we've started on the Pentland Javelin.  As someone who normally buys their potatoes from the supermarket in bags where each is roughly the same size, the fact that some have been tiny and some much larger, has been a surprise.


3 Peppers

I hope I'm not counting my chickens before they are hatched, but these are looking promising.  They should turn red when they are ready.  I've bought pepper plants before, but they've not produced much.  These were much cheaper, as I grew them from seed, and have grown better.  


4. Aubergine

I'm also pleased to have grown this aubergine from seed.  I've been waiting to see if it gets any bigger, but it hasn't, so its going to be picked and cooked.


5. Climbing French Beans

I grew these last year and had enough to stock up the freezer as well as plenty to eat fresh.  This year has been a black fly nightmare.  The ladybirds turned up, but have failed to eat enough of them to solve the problem.  I'm still getting a few beans, although they are somewhat deformed.


6. Broccoli

I've not been able to grow brassicas sucessfully, so this year I limed the soil and fertilised it to give them the best start.  Lock down meant I couldn't buy any protective fleece/netting but I didn't think I would need it.  Oh - I did, didn't I?  Luckily the caterpillars also ate all the kale, which means I won't have to, so every cloud and all that...



So you counted up and found there were more Triumphs than Disasters?  Is that really in the humble spirit of the poem you quoted at the start I imagine you are asking?  Well part of the reason is that the other disasters couldn't be photographed as they didn't even germinate - carrots spring to mind.

I've come to the end of my post, but I wanted to make one final mention of 'If'. (Which if you wanted to reread you'll find  here).  I'm going to confess that I've always had a problem with the final lines.  The idea of filling ' the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run' seems absolutely exhausting.  I think he should have written something more like:-

'If you can sit just for a minute and have a cup of tea and a biscuit, 
Yours is the earth and everything that's in it,
and which is more - you'll be better company.'

What do you think?  

As always, many thanks to the Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.  The links can be found here


Comments

  1. I think it has been a year when we have all made an extra effort with our vegetables. We were without seed, for the most part, and relied on half packets from last year. We had the potatoes at the ready so were grand with those - British Queen, the old reliable and still very popular here. You can't beat a dinner of fried mackerel and new potatoes!

    The only tomato seed we had were a packet which came free with some magazine and were hanging basket tomatoes - unruly hanging bushes with cherry tomatoes. They seemed not worth the effort but in the last ten days have all come well with absolutely loads and loads to eat.

    Purple sprouting broccoli ran to flower prematurely - I had expected to eat it in spring - so it is gone now, a pity as I enjoy it. Those climbing French Beans are fabulous, cropping so heavily and so easy to grow.

    We have had lettuce and scallions coming out our ears and I have come to enjoy salads more this year. Leeks look very promising etc etc.

    It has been a good year in the veg patch!

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    1. It sounds like your veg patch is going very well. I've never grown the hanging basket tomatoes either and would be a bit miffed if they were the only seeds I had, as I love my tomatoes. I'm glad they've come good in the end.

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  2. Well done on the 'fruits'....and there is nothing quite like fresh dug pots, if you have the room to grow them.

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    1. I had a bit more space for the potatoes as I had a border near the greenhouse that I was trying to clear of weeds. I'm not sure what to do with it next year. More potatoes perhaps.

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  3. Your cloud and silver lining observation regarding the brassicas and the kale made me chuckle. Your triumphs are very triumphant. I have a coffee brewing and a biscuit ready to dunk in it.

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    1. I hope you used a good few minutes drinking it.

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  4. Wow! Your vegetables are stunning. I feel so inspired by you right now. I have tomatoes and potatoes currently but far from harvest. My cabbages are seedlings but they are struggling. But I will keep going!

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    1. We can't control the weather or the pests so I think the thing is not to be too disheartened by things that don't grow. Best of luck with your tomatoes and potatoes.

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  5. Nice vegetable garden overview ! Black russian are (imo ) the juiciest tomatoes, you're right. About broccoli and caterpillars on all other plants, I use Bacillus thuringiensis: a biological control spray that kills caterpillars, eggs and prevents butterflies from laying eggs without killing wildlife: very effective and you can even eat fruit or vegetables the next day.

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    1. I'll look out for that Fred. I've been impressed by biological controls. My gooseberry bushes have always been eaten to bits by sawfly lava. I bought nematodes to water on this spring and it worked really well.

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    2. I used it too on gooseberries, red currants, sweet potatoes, cabbages, french beans, leeks, shallots, onions, ...and so many other plants...

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  6. Your triumphs are splendid, do give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. I have one Black Russian growing in the greenhouse, but not anywhere near ripe as yours (I hope I recognise when they are ripe!), and I think yours are also larger. The potatoes, peppers and aubergine all look healthy and happy, so enjoy them all. There’s always next year to tackle the black fly and the caterpillars.

    Agreed! Taking a minute for a cup of tea and biscuit will put all our gardening woes into perspective.

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    1. My Black Russian don't have many fruit. They do change colour when they are ripe, but I gave mine a squeeze to make sure.

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  7. your kale comment made me laugh. i too am trying to grow it, and i can't stand it! why would i do that to myself? i was worried about blackfly on the runners but between the ladybirds and the hover flies, they seem to have been eliminated before doing too much damage. congratulations on your veggie successes, i know only too well how hard-won they can be!

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    1. Next year I will stick to only growing things I really like.

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