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    2019. What a year. First half amazing. 2nd half not so good. As Charles is now closing the forum I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights and lows of the year. I firmly believe in no-dig organic gardening. It’s the way to go. (Not tunnels, hydroponics and growlights!) Although, it doesn’t always work for me, I would like to reassure anyone getting disheartened or disillusioned because of problems to stick with it. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

    For reference I’m in Cambridgeshire, one of the driest parts of the country, 15 miles from where the hottest ever UK temperature of 38.7 was recorded last month. The soil is sandy/stoney. The allotment is in progress. I had 2 beds overwintered, the rest added during the year.

    First off: moles. If they’re nearby you will get them. You’re creating mole heaven. They’re very annoying but you can live with them. I try to leave the tunnels where they’re not doing so much harm and squash the rest. If you can get plants established they usually survive.

    So, 2019: The bad. Early in year overwintered and new brassicas collapsing because of gnawed stems and shrivelled roots. Some survived. Intruder stole ready to erect greenhouse and long cold frame. Early summer, patch of broad beans showing signs of aminopyralid, twisted leaves and not podding. Maybe due to rape field next door. Later all broad beans had very bad attack of rust.
    Early summer hot and very dry. Few carrots germinated. July heatwave caused all lettuces to bolt and runner bean leaves to shrivel. Flowers fell off and small beans yellowed. July/August attack of many thousands of flea beetles from rape field next door completely annihilated winter brassicas even under mesh. August. Gales tore most leaves off beans which have partially collapsed. Replanted brassicas are disappearing without trace and leeks and beetroot gnawed. Suspect voles.
    HOWEVER, the good.
    The harvests from the first part of the year have been amazing. See photos. (Some of these photos will probably be on following posts)
    1) New bed 18 April. Calabrese, lettuce, spinach.
    2) and 3) Pickings 18 April. Kale, radish, pea shoots, lettuce, spinach and PS broccoli.
    4) 11 June. Calabrese (no insects), carrots, beetroot, broad beans, new potatoes, pointed cabbage.
    5) 18 June. One leaf from HUGE overwintered cabbage. Very tasty.
    6) 18 June. Crops in this years beds growing.
    7) 7 July. Rob with my first ever cauli!
    8) 1 August. Wonderful sweetcorn. Melt in mouth. You can’t buy it.

    I haven’t weighed any of the produce this year but there’s been lots so far. I can’t remember when we last bought any vegetables. This small (about a third of traditional size) allotment has provided up to 10 different veg varieties for meals every single day since probably early May, and quite a few in April! Incredible.
    So go for it, and may you and your plants be blessed with health and vitality.

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    More photos

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    Last photos.

    May I take the opportunity to thank you all so much for the forum and all your support. In its hay day it was amazing and has provided support in glum moments by just leafing through comments. It was instrumental in helping me get through the death of my mother just before Christmas last year, so thanks guys. I’m going to miss it!

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