Best summer allotment crops

This year we’ve done amazingly well with sweetcorn. It’s been great to grow a tall crop on a less windy plot – a revelation and a pleasure not to have to wrestle with stakes and canes and windbreaks … and the crop has been utterly delicious!

Our worst crop has been aubergines – three plants, two flowers (so far) and not a single fruit! This is the third time in five years that I’ve tried growing aubergines and never succeeded. I am depressed beyond belief that the walled garden at Wakehurst Place has outdoor aubergines in full fruit, but I have not a single greenhouse aubergine to harvest. I think I have to face defeat here: I’m not an aubergine grower and that’s that.

Learning the ins and outs of a new plot is always fun, but also very demanding. I keep a simple journal that lists what we plant and what the harvest is, plus significant weather details. This allows us to do a quick and dirty economic assessment of each crop, each year. For pumpkins, this year, for example, the journal to date reads:

• Sown – 12 (no cost)
• Germinated - 8
• Planted out – 4 (compost/mulch cost)
• Grown – 7

Doesn’t sound much, does it? But the 12 came from seed swaps so they were free seed. I gave away 2 of the 8 that germinated and the 4 planted out have produced: 3 small pumpkins on the ‘small fruit’ vine (currently looking like they will be around 2 kilos each in weight), 2 Turk’s Turban of around a kilo each but very pretty and 2 massive pumpkins, one on each of the other two plants (currently looking like 5 kilos each in weight and still with up to a month of growth in them). That’s around 18 kilos of crop for the price of the seed compost, digging in some home-made compost and mulching their growing space with cardboard and chippings … not a bad return on investment!

What were your best crops this summer and what are you looking forward to in the autumn harvest?

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, September 9, 2011


Anonymous Diane said...

Potatoes have done best. Most depressing is the runner beans. We've not had a carrier bag full yet!

September 9, 2011 at 4:58 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

I'm not the only one sulking over aubergines then! I might just try some outside next year and see if they do any good - we do have good weather but we also have lousy weather here in Latvia.

Our squash grew well this year and this is my picture of our crop Our large round squash and large round green ones were completely free and self-seeded in the manure heap as the farmers around here feed their cattle on pumpkins in the winter to produce tastier milk. Our tomatoes are doing surprisingly well considering we were late once again getting them in and they were well and truly pot-bound (maybe that's the trick?) Melons are doing quite well in the greenhouse too, at least one per plant and a few of them have three (we have a big greenhouse)

September 9, 2011 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Diane - that's a bit sad.

Joanna - I had never heard of farmers feeding pumpkins to cows! I love that blog-post about efficiency too ... you make great points!

September 9, 2011 at 5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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September 30, 2011 at 1:03 PM  

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