Tuesday 29 June 2010

A Neglected Vegetable Garden

Well I'm back, happy and in full health, which is more than can be said for the garden. While I was ill the garden has been neglected. We worked hard at the weekend to make some improvements but at the start of the weekend the garden was (and still is, despite our efforts) a sorry sight. The weeds, left to their own devices had made themselves very much at home in our raised beds. The salad leaves and spinach, with no-one to supervise them, had got carried away and bolted. The many plants waiting to be transplanted had given up waiting for their new home and started fruiting anyway, as best they can in a three inch pot.

The greenhouse, which last year resembled a jungle with the towering tomato and cucumber plants, is, this year, almost bare. The cucumber plants we did manage to put into grow bags had fallen over and the salad leaves and herbs we were growing in there are scorched from the heat and lack of water. Our Little Garden Helpers sunflowers have fallen over and some of them have snapped. The potatoes have not been earthed up and billions of black fly have made themselves a happy home amongst our broad beans. The carrots, leeks, spring onions and beetroot are in a particularly sorry state. Many of them had failed to grow, caused by intermittent watering and being smothered by weeds. Those that have grown have been competing with each other as they have never been thinned out. Our rhubarb, which was so happy in its new shadier spot earlier this year, is all but dead, having disappeared completely from view by a particular vigorous weed. The worms are all dead. I could go on but I think you probably get the picture and if not here are some photos of our neglected vegetable garden.

Stunted tomatoes

Hello Blackfly!

Spot the Blueberry Bush

 Bolted Spinach

An Empty Greenhouse

Not So Sunny Sunflowers

100 weeds to every carrot

On the positive side of things, Grandad South did get rid of all the weeds from the patio so we can sit outside without the weeds tickling our ankles. He also mowed the lawns so we could see our Little Garden Helpers amongst the grass when they were playing outside and he finished the hanging baskets I started but never finished, which means that if all the other tomatoes fail we will at least have some lovely Tumbling Toms. And the strawberries, with no intervention on our part, are producing a punnet full of fruit every other day, so in all honesty I cannot complain. If I can sit down with a bowl of freshly grown strawberries at the end of the day I am happy.


  1. Good to hear you are feeling better.

    Savor in what you can get from the garden this yea and put the rest behind you, your health is far more important and there is always the next season, next year to plan.

    Take care of yourself, and enjoy your strawberries :-)

  2. Glad you are feeling better, we have had an issue with stunted tomatoes too and we have been looking after them so that was not your fault, not sure why they have done that this year :-(

  3. Glad you're feeling better- most important part of the equation!

    I wouldn't give up hope on the tomatoes- one of the Australian gardening gurus, Peter Cundall, advocates neglect as being a good way to force tomatoes (and other Solenaceae, eg eggplants, capsicums) to flower early. He says that if you nurture tomato seedlings then they just make more leaves, but if they are stressed (too little water, space and fertilizer) they turn on the flowering- so at that point you can give them all the water, space and food that they need.

    As for the rhubarb, in my experience it is a true survivor- http://thisgrowinglife.blogspot.com/2009/09/lazarus-of-garden.html

    Enjoy the garden and human growth!