The 'ups' and 'downs' of home growing - 2020

I’ve had a funny year for seedlings.
Broad beans - first load germinated in modules and then burned off or got hit by some pest - useless. The second sowing (kept in a different location) gave me enough healthy plants for three decent rows. They looked decent one minute in the modules and wilted rapidly as I was planting them out. After watering, they came back up again and I look forward to a good harvest with some re-sown pink Karmazyn ready to give me another couple of rows to plant out soon (despite being late).
Hestia Dwarf Runners - not bad in the modules but I’ve turfed them out of the bed after planting them outside. A right-off.
French Beans - have taken a long time to decide that they might actually thrive together with the extras I’ve had to find to fill the gaps.
Peas - Kelvedon Wonder and Oregon + Petit Provencale mangetout doing fabulous so far but Waverex Pertit Pois giving me only one successful ‘gutter’ out of two.
Beetroot (Boltardy) - usually no trouble. It’s taken me three re-sowings to get a decent set of seedlings (multi-sown) to soon be ready for planting out. They should have been easy. Not so, this year.
Onion Sets (Fen Early) - these sets looked manky when they arrived but they are now thriving and doing well in the ground.
Onions (Sturon) - seeds were so disappointing that I’ve sent for 100+ sets in the hope that they can catch up and give me a late crop. I’ll still do seeds next year!
Those sets (Sturon)have sprouted well but I don’t if I’m too late.
Lisbon are looking very promising.

A bit of a boring list and I could add a lot more to it but I hope that it illustrates that life is not always straightforward for the gardener but it is so worth soldiering on - repairing and making good until it comes right.
It would be so easy to be discouraged when things don’t go strictly according to plan.
Take heart!
Nature wants things to grow as much as we do. It’s a case of learning as we go along and finding the right way to cooperate with her, given the conditions of any given year.
It’s nice to enjoy the current (19/5) fine weather in lock down but, unlike the normal British temperament, currently it has all us gardeners praying for a bit of rain!.
Some things we can control - some things we can’t!
It’s often the case of taking the ‘ups’ with the ‘downs’.
With patience and good husbandry, the ‘ups’ will win in the end!


It’s strange isn’t it? It never all goes to plan, some of it exceeds expectation and some (even though you have sown it year in year out fails). I am astonished as my broad beans (the Sutton) did not come up (though sown in autumn) and I had to do a late batch. They are now gumming up the works were I should be planting my courgettes, which are back inside again because of the frost. But carrots (which I usually find fiddly are romping away, and our sweet peas (amazing last year) look great again but normally we struggle with them…

1 Like

Yes, it has been the same here. I’m on my third sowing for runner and climbing beans as neither previous attempt succeeded. The peas have been tremendous, however.
None of the brassicas have done anything in the weeks since germination, it is as if they are in suspended animation. Absolutely zero growth and all new seed in January.
The onions took a while to get going, strange given how mild the winter was. It was wet though and that may not have helped. The rapid increase in temperature has made all of the leeks bolt.
On the positive side, tomatoes are leaping towards the sky and it is going to be a good year for currants and gooseberries.
We are starting hay making very soon so the rain is welcome to go to others for a bit…


I started planting indoors in February. This year I did: onions, leeks, lavender, rosemary. marjoram, sweet basil, purple basil (free seeds), cilantro, sage, verbasum, cabbage, giant marigolds, tomatoes (Purden’s Purple, Black Krim, Yellow Currant, Stupice), zucchini, watermelon and pumpkins. Everything came up great, except the sage, which failed to even show. I planted the onions and leeks into the garden. I got some of the cabbage planted, as the weather has been stormy and I’m busy with the end of school for my son, I have to do what I can as I can. The weather can really make it hard sometimes to work in the garden, especially when it’s high winds, heavy rains, hail and thunder/lightning. I’ve also got the cilantro, basil, rosemary, lavender, verbasum and marjoram moved to the greenhouse and planted some, so far. The marigolds, tomatoes, pumpkin, watermelon and zucchini are still under the lights at least for another week, before I can start hardening them, but they are getting very eager to get to the garden and I can’t raise my lights any higher. I have peas, carrots and mustard planted out in the garden and all up. Today is one of my scheduled planting days, but alas the weather is calling for rain all day, so it will probably have to wait till the weekend.

1 Like

I dream of a good downpour, our weather is very odd! October through to February was constant rain, even though we live at the top of a hill puddles formed in the garden. Then from lockdown it has rained twice! And I am now out with my hose, unbelievable, I think we are going to have to relabel the North of England seasons as the wet and the dry season or the monsoons, don’t know what is happening!

1 Like

Hi AlliG - weird isn’t it? I’ve never had to do so much re-sowing before. Like you - peas are great but beans are really struggling to get going. My brassicas the same. Let’s hope we have a long season to give them a chance. all the best


You can count the Midlands in with the North - I could murder myself for not getting the guttering around my sheds while we had so much rain! Now I have to use the hose to add water the butts! Crazy!!

Wait for it - from out of the blue we have a prediction of 50% chance of rain tonight (20-21/5) (at 1am 21/5 a 95% chance!) Fingers crossed - and everything else!
WHOOPS! Just a trickle! Rain as such never happened!

1 Like

@AlliG, I had a similar experience with plants last year, and not just brassicas - I sowed seeds, they germinated, grew about a centimetre and that was it. Nothing, for weeks. In the end I potted them on into a fresh batch of bagged compost and they took off like nothing had happened. I’d given up on the celeriac completely and just left it, and literally months later it was the same - no growth, yellowish looking, but not dead, either!

Normally I use my homemade compost for seeds and seedlings, but in that case I had used bought stuff, so I’ve put it down to a bad batch of bagged compost. So it might be worth potting them into fresh compost and see if that helps.

1 Like

Too right, Veggie.
My last re-sowing was in a different compost and - to date but not holding my breath - all seems to be a lot more positive.

1 Like