Friday, February 5, 2010

Successes and failures

I think there is a tendency in blogland to only share our victories and our good news. But behind the scenes there are other hard lessons being learnt. So while these photos aren't all feel-good photos, they will perhaps share some of the problems we have faced.

Our first big problem was milddew. We were able to harvest only two Heirloom Oil Pumpkins before the plant succumbed. Luckily we have two huge Ghost Riders still growing in the compost.

We also lost most of our gemsquash plants to milddew but we did get about 40 odd gems from them before they too went the way of all battle weary plants.

Our next problem is more recent...most of our Carbon Tomatoes were attacked by red spider mite and while the garlic spray did slow it down, the damage was done. We harvested about 20 huge tomatoes from this and they were delicious, however this area has now been cleaned out to prevent further spreading and about double that in green tomatoes had to be turfed in the bin.

Then a couple of weeks back I went to get some of our Rainbow Corn and found it to look like this. We planted it back in September but it obviously didn't pollinate properly and this was the result.

We have planted lots of other corn and we can hopefully count on those for late summer and autumn. I think the thing for me to get a grasp on is that we have so little space to grow food that when things fail like this I take it hard. Everything that I plant is loved, nutured and tended and thereafter I hope for a good yield from our small space.

On a more uplifting note we have also had great successes with strawberries, cucumbers, courgette (zucchini), potatoes and chillies.

These are what we picked today. So while we have had a fabulous harvest of cucumbers, they are not exactly a staple food like corn...or something like tomatoes that we use in almost every meal...ho hum...I suppose this is the joys of growing your own food.

Superman said to me tonight when he saw the corn: "Thank goodness we don't live 400 years ago in the middle of nowheree...'cause we would starve!"

I know he is just saying out loud what is in my mind, but it kind made me start a little. Thank goodness Woolies are just around the corner!


Jill said...

It's good to show the 'failures' so we can learn for next time. How could it all be perfect?? You have inspired me to talk more about my black thumb that comes out when somehow I convinced myself it couldn't be anything but green! You watch - this summer, I'll show it all! This past summer, nothing, I mean NOTHING grew. It all fried from intense heat or got soaked with torrential rains of the summer. But you are right. I did not talk about that because I was embarrassed. Thanks for the reminder that we need to be honest here.

Catherine Yvonne said...

I just came across your site today and reading about your vegetable failures reminds me of mine. I've had so many failures every year I've had a garden (4 out of the last 5 years).
My mom gave me a book this last year that I just started reading in anticipation of my growing season in coming up (I really need to start my tomato seeds in the next couple of weeks!) that I thought I would pass along in case you haven't heard of it.
It's called, "Gardening When it Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times" by Steve Solomon. It's a great resource for any gardener! Even my mom who is a 30 year gardening veteran has been surprised by some of the things she learned from his books!
Here is his website: