Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Salad Days

Tuesday 28th August 2012
 
If I had any sense of pride I'd not be making this post. I'd be quietly not writing about salad crops this year.
 
As it is, I have had to wait till almost September to actually harvest a cucumber (though a very fine specimen it is) and my first two tomatoes, and there's not exactly a glut on the way. Like all failed gardeners, I do indeed intend to blame the weather.
 

The first cucumber of the year.

...and the first tomatoes, outside.
 
So here goes...my excuses!
Earlier in the year I had a very frustrating time with my tomato seedlings in particular, losing them to damping off. That put me at least a month back.
This was followed by months of dull, cool days so growth was sluggish (must try not to use that word, too many bad memories!) in the extreme. My little greenhouse became crammed with plants waiting to go outside, or into the polytunnel which sat in its packaging in the stables.
 
But I suspect there may be another reason for the staggering lack of progress made by my tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, peppers and chillis.
For my little polycarbonate greenhouse was dismantled and brought with us from London. Now, when I originally put it together I remember a thin plastic film on the polycarbonate sheets declaring THIS SIDE OUT. Apart from that film, now peeled off, I can see no discernible way of figuring out which way round the sheets go, so it may well be that half the panes are actually deflecting the light and the heat!
 
Not to worry though. Gardening is a slow process of learning and improvement year on year, every year with its own unique and unpredictable challenges. Next year there'll be a polytunnel bursting to the brim with salad crops as well as all manner of other experiments going on.
And there's a new greenhouse waiting to go up too.
As for my little old greenhouse, it will find a use. Maybe a potting shed.


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