This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Overview of 2011 Veg Growing

2011 was a good year in the garden and I really enjoyed growing edibles and trying some new veg I'd never grown before like celery, celeriac, kale, broccoli, cucumbers, and more. Here's a little summary of some of the ups and downs over the growing season (there was alot of learning this year!).

(All are grown from seed, except the apple tree :)).
Most Pinched - I pinched my pepper plants very early in their development and stunted their growth. Next year - no pinching!
Most TLC - the self fertilising apple tree gets green worms on it that eat the blooms in early Spring. I hand checked the plant regularly and was rewarded by a bumper crop (circa 14 apples - my all time record).
Least Harvested - I didn't manage many florets as my broccoli seemed to constantly be in flower!

Best Taste - After a bitter start (the first cucumber I tried was horrible) the plant produced a lovely sweet cucumber (the best I've ever eaten).
Most Surprising - that I managed to get a tiny harvest my first time growing cucumber.
Most Reliable - potatoes always seem to do well. This year the foliage were eaten by pests but I still managed to get potatoes.
Best Container Crop - the carrots were fab and so yummy. Next year I'm growing more!
Worse Crop - the courgettes started out great but almost all of them developed blossom rot.
Most Expensive Pest Control - slugs drowned happily in Guinness in June.
Most Useful Edibles - Celery (front) and two varieties of kale. 1st time I've grown these and very happy with the results.
Most Confusing - growing tomatoes for the first time proper (when to pinch, how much to feed,  etc). It worked out in the end and I was happy with the small yield I managed to get throughout summer.
Most Rewarding - I was so proud to grow a turnip for the first time ever!
If you want to have a nosy at the seeds I used over the year, they are listed at


  1. Your gardening efforts paid off handsomely! I think you did really well using seeds to grow all that. Your garden really inspires me to try growing more from seeds. Happy New Year!

  2. I think you did just fine as well. I have not grown a turnip yet nor had carrots that big or ever grown celery.

  3. Wonderful crops you have grown. Your celery look really juicy. It getting harder for us to grow celery as we can't meet up with its water requirement. Your turnip looks great. We never managed to grow them that big. Thumbs up.

  4. wow... I am a new gardener. This year is my first time ever in gardening. I hope I grow half as much as you did last year.

    P.s. Your carrots look really good.

  5. Hi Kelli; Your efforts have evidently been well-rewarded; some lovely veg there. I find that the same seeds grown in the same way two years in a row often perform differently, because weather conditions are so variable, so I wouldn't be discouraged if one or two things didn't perform as well as expected. Interesting to read what you say about tomatoes: difficult at first, but when you get the hang of them they are one of the very best crops to grow.

  6. You'll have to give tips on how you managed to grow celery so far it alludes us!

  7. You did really well. There's definitely more good than bad so you're winning. I find bush type tomatoes much less confusing, you could give one of those varieties a go this year.

  8. Great post! I love the categories! And your veggies all look so scrumptious. Just think of all you learned! I should concentrate on vegetables more - I can't grow half of these veggies!

  9. Kelly, I agree with Sue, you need to give tips on growing celery. I'm keen to try it this year but a bit nervous I'll foul it up. Interesting note about apples, there is a blogger up in Seattle that uses little 'socks' (think of hosiery) that she purchased from an organic supply company. Let me know if you're interested, I bet I can find that post again. She wrote that it was a pain at first, but once she took the time to place the covers, the job was done and the apples were not bothered by pests the remainder of the growing season.
    I've really enjoyed your posts and following your gardening adventures. Looking forward to next year :) Cheers, Jenni

  10. Congratulations, Kelli, looks like you've had a great year!

  11. You had an abundant harvest. I was so impressed with all of the container gardening that you were so successful with. You also do quite well at starting seeds. Can't wait to see what you do in 2012.

  12. Thanks Kelli for taking the time to read my post. Propagating through cuttings is a sure easy and successful. good luck propagating yours... Sri Ranjani.

  13. I've had a few requests for advice on Celery - hmmm I'm a beginner and maybe i had beginner's luck?

    A friend brought me a pack of Celery seeds from the USA by Plant Hart's Seeds, US$2.29. I planted seeds indoor in a sun room (a 'lean to' conservatory) on 3 April. They showed good germination. I planted seedlings outside in June in a veg box I had prepared with compost, soil and organic chicken manure pellets. I netted the veg box and used sunken beer traps until plants established. When established I basically left them to grow, applying feed every so often. The slugs ate other things in the veg box and didn't bother much with the celery (happy days!). That's all the inside info i have, (I think!) :)

  14. Great report Kelli. I think you may have caught the vegetable bug! And on the subject of turnips can I put in a word for the humble swede. Worth a try. Go on!

  15. Great overview, you've had a good haul veg-wise and did well to get tomatoes, even the pro's struggled to get a good tom harvest last year.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I've very much neglected the garden over winter due to the gales but it's holding up pretty well, must have great root systems.

    I'd love to see you add your garden on Folia (it's free). It's a great resource for gardeners and has helped me keep on top of my 800+ plantings with photo's, notes, journals, milestones etc. They have a seed stash section and people can also list seeds for swapping. Here's the link to my Folia page so you can see how it works: (and if you join via my link I get a sign-up point - yay).

    All the best for your gardening year to come. Cally

  16. Great post! It was a very interesting overview. :)


  17. Just looking at your photos for last year has me longing for this year's growing season. Can't wait to get started. I think last year was a difficult growing season for everyone so I think you did pretty well under the circumstances.