Thursday, 10 December 2015

Gardening Fails 2015

Something in the polytunnel has made me VERY excited!


Because this is a newly germinated broad bean seedling and proof that (so far) the mice have not stolen all the seeds I have sown as was the case last year!  I am a very happy gardener!

However it is all too easy, on a blog, to only recount the successes and ignore the failings ... and believe you me, even without mice there are plenty of those.  So what did NOT do well in 2015?


In my defence m'lud, cauliflowers are difficult to grow needing rich soil, plenty of water and the right weather conditions.  However just over the border in Brittany is prime cauliflower growing country (so at least I can buy local ones when mine fail) but that doesn't make me feel any better.  Once in a while I do get a half decent cauli head (called a curd) so each year I try again, in case this is the year of the great caulis.  Really I should just give up and admit defeat!


We love parsnips but the French are less enamoured with them and think they are only good for animal feed.  Up until very recently they were hard to even find in the shops although you could buy a 25kg sack very cheaply at the local agricultural store if you wanted to.  But I want to grow my own.  Usually I don't have too many problems but in the last two years I have struggled to get the seeds to germinate.  In mild areas you can sow the seeds as early as February but my veg garden is quite exposed and cold spring weather can play havoc with germination rates resulting in only about 10 parsnips germinating this year.  That said, I have a cunning plan for 2016 and will reveal more in a later post.

Runner Beans ... in the polytunnel

There is obviously a good reason that Runner beans are not included in my polytunnel book.  They don't grow well in the polytunnel!  I thought I'd try and get some early ones going and at first things looked good with plenty of growth and loads of flowers.  Then zilch.  Nothing. No beans!  I am guessing it was too hot for the beans to set as I had seen bees pollinating them.  Oh well, you live and learn and the outdoor ones did well.

Brussel Sprouts 

Hmmm - well I have grown some lovely looking plants until you get up close and personal and then you realise how small the brussels are.  Some posh Paris restaurant might be happy paying silly money for miniature sprouts but they are going to look more like peas than brussels gracing our Christmas dinner this year!  Reason for failure - possibly too many weeds when the sprouts should have been swelling?  (The weeds got a bit out of hand in late summer when I hurt my back).

Miniature Brussel Sprouts

Maincrop Potatoes

This is not normally a crop I struggle with so long as I keep a keen eye out for blight and deal with that as soon as it strikes.  This year there was no blight but very few potatoes.  The mice had a partial role to play here having stolen all my chitting Charlotte potatoes although why they took those and not the others is a complete mystery ... and for weeks afterwards I would find chewed and withered spud remains all over the place!  The early new potatoes did actually do very well as did some late earlies (if that is possible) but the maincrop were very disappointing.  I suspect too little water at critical times and certainly, in the case of some, a lack of manure in the soil.  At least both these can be remedied but I'm cross I had a poor year when there was no blight.

In comparison after several years of very disappointing onions I only planted a few red one this year and guess what - yup, they were FABULOUS!!  So you see, I can succeed where I have previously failed so maybe I should try caulis just one more time ...

In other news with colder weather here at last (although daytime temperatures yesterday were lovely and I even saw a butterfly!) I have moved my smaller pot of violas into the porch where I hope they'll keep flowering over the coming weeks.

Things might not be so long lasting for this my one remaining marigold though.

Oh and I thought if I showed you a photo of the mess that is the polytunnel I might be tempted to do something about tidying it up.  You have my full permission to nag me if no pictures of the job done are forthcoming!

Have you had any garden failures this year?  Do spill the beans!

Mammsaurus HDYGG


  1. that is so exciting! and i had no idea what brussel sprouts looked like growing. my garden failure this year is to not have planted anything because we are new to this house and area and i have no idea what i am doing

  2. My garden might well be that I haven't cut the grass since July and it's now too long and floppy!
    Great that the micies didn't get all the beans, I remember how cunning you were to protect things against them earlier in the year. I love this honest look back at the year Rosie - Enjoy your mini-sprouts at Christmas though :)

    Thanks for joining i again lovely x

    1. But long grass is great for wildlife so not a fail in my book ;)

  3. ps. Christmas Tree edition next week!

  4. *sends my gardener to France* I wouldn't be disappointed with the brussel sprouts, i can't stand the things

    1. LOL and I hope he doesn't find it too cold, although that said it is still so mild here. I am rather nervous about what the weather might do in the New Year.

  5. Glad you've beaten the mice! (so far!! - keeping fingers crossed still though) And I'm still impressed with those mini sprouts x

    1. Thank you, Stephanie. They are going to take ages to pick and peel though!

  6. Ohh good work against those pesky mice! And colour, you still have colour, how lovely.
    I haven't had gardening failures, rather lessons in what not to do when gardening!

    1. Yes, the violas are loving this mild weather and I have never had the flower so well for so long. I was late buying them and almost didn't bother. I am glad I changed my mind.

      I do hope your lessons learnt did not involve any injuries.


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