Thursday, October 28, 2010

Success and Failure


Its' grim, wet, windy and cold. The growing season is over. In an attempt to learn from our mistakes, I shall now take stock and recount the successes and failures of our growing year - for which I had such huge aspirations.

Success: Very early sowings of spring peas. Delicious.
Fail: No where near enough home grown peas! I failed again to get good successional sowings going. The first batches I planted in loo rolls in the cold frame did very well. The rest I tried to direct sow when the weather was warmer failed miserably. Eaten by slugs I suppose. We were a lot less diligent on the slug hunts I think than in previous years.

Success: Our first apple!
Fail: Hardly any strawberries. I split last years plants before they were well enough established to deal with it.

Success: Tomatoes in large quantity and four varieties.
Fail: Last year I grew the tomatoes in tiny pots where they struggled valiantly and gave some yield at least. They were very straggly though, and kept falling over in the wind as well as running out of water constantly. This year I bought them massive pots, but they just grew four times as big, became even more ungainly and still toppled over.

Success: Cucumbers (Burbless Tasty). Had quite a few through the summer, think we got the hang of them this year. Probably would have increased yield with better feeding, but I think I failed most things on the feeding front in the latter half of summer.
Fail: Courgettes and Pumpkins/squash, or lack there of. Epic, epic fail. I sowed courgette seed late and most of it failed to germinate anyway. The two that did were miserable things and barely flowered. Good germination with the pumpkins and squash, buckets of flowers in many cases, but never a fruit you could eat. Again, I suspect I failed them on the feeding requirements, in that they didn't really get anything. Bad me.

Success: I grew a variety of miniature aubergines (Ophelia) this year. Much more successful than the fully grown kind and we had several fruits. Highly recommended. Dan's cousin who lives just round the corner grew nothing but aubergines of the larger variety this year and got nothing for her trouble, so there you go.
Fail: Despite the relative success of baby aubergines, there weren't that many. Most came towards the end of the season when there was precious little sunshine to bring them on (a common problem with aubergines). It's hard to know whether they're worth the space given to them.

Fail, fail, fail, fail: Carrots, parsnips and anything else we tried to grow in the "vegetable patch" - the raised area at the end of out garden than in another situation would be perfect as such. As it is, it's too shady by far and nothing thrives. Time to rethink where to grow things.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

is cold...


So, after the big day of emerging from my chrysalis into a post PhD world, I almost immediately got on a plane to the US. Not for a holiday like what normal people do, but for interviews for my next job. September was quite grim in parts here I seem to remember, but the skies of Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia were clear blue in the beginning of October. In fact it was 28+ degrees C in Baltimore, which was hotter than we'd experienced for the majority of summer. This confused me a bit I think, 'cause it's felt bloomin' cold here since I came back. It feels like the dead of winter to me already, like Autumn missed us - which is sad because I am fond of Autumn. I'm still trying to tinge the house with orange nevertheless. I have to decorate the house somehow to stave off my desires to drench everything in Christmas cheer way too early to be decent....

Ride home

The gnarly pumpkin got a lift home from the farmers market on the back of my bike. Amusing and tragically north London at the same time. In a brief period of relaxation and heady creativity I crocheted some lichen for the dried teasel heads (yes they're still knocking about). I'm sure I got the inspiration for this activity someplace on t'interweb, but for the life of me I can't remember where. There must have been good vibes in the air, because Dan was inspired to take plenty of photos.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dr. Dozenoaks

No longer am I "a 27 year old graduate student in the final throws of a PhD". It's all over. I'm done! I wish I had some sort of celebratory picture to go with this, but the state of disorganisation round here is epic...