It's not all roses (so to speak) in the land of Grow Your Own. For the past few years we've grown a fairly small amount of veg in our garden but have foraged vast quantities of fruit, this year with the allotment, I was hoping for similarly vast quantities of veg. I'm now realising that I probably had unrealistic expectations for our inaugural allotment year.
After a couple of days of heavy rain softened the soil to a workable consistency I decided to dig up a few carrots - and just look at what I found! I'm assuming this is the work of the dreaded carrot fly but I'm happy to be told otherwise if anyone disagrees. I haven't seen any actual insects, just the bore holes left behind. So that would be a resounding 'no' to my earlier question "will shade netting provide any protection from carrot fly?". Almost every carrot I pulled up seemed to be affected so that's goodbye to my carrot crop this year.
I'm also a bit concerned about this year's runner beans, they've flowered profusely but the flowers seem to be falling off without producing any beans (both at home and on the plot) After careful searching I've found 2 baby beans on about 8 plants so don't hold out much hope for runner beans either.
The soft fruit section of the plot is also ailing. My raspberries completely failed, haven't got a clue why, they were from 2 different sources, different varieties planted at different times. Out of 8 canes, I think 2 or 3 put up a few tentative shoots before they died off, never to be seen again. The redcurrants seemed to be doing well at first but have now taken on a yellowy tinge and haven't flowered (maybe I'm expecting too much for their first year?) The strawberries have been OK but we haven't had as many as I'd hoped.
It doesn't help that the fruit corner is infested with Horsetail (or Marestail, or Devil's Fingers, depending on where you live) My plan next year is to double the size of the strawberry bed and move the fruit section (aka '3 enfeebled redcurrant bushes') to this year's 'fallow' section which we set aside for the children to play in and give the children Horsetail HQ instead.
To add insult to injury, my elderflower champagne didn't work out this year either. I think the hot and humid recent weather is responsible for the slimy film of mould growing across the top of the flower heads, such a shame as it smelt marvellously alcoholic as I tipped it down the sink and I could do with a stiff drink to be honest!