What a difference a year makes as far as food growing is concerned!

What a difference a year makes as far as food growing is concerned!

Vegetable patch 2012

Vegetable patch 2012

Vegetable patch 2013This first photo was taken in 2012 in September.

 

 

 

 

This second photo was taken in August this year.  A bit earlier in the year from a different angle but its chalk and cheese.

 

 

 

It fair to say I’ve had one of my best food growing years ever.  I have been consuming local food for months!  Its easier to list the failures rather than the successes.  The failures (all again) are Cucumbers (grown inside), Butternut squash and Courgettes , also spinach and Mizuna.  Fantastic crops of French and Runner beans, Lettuce, Potatoes, Parsnips, Mangetout, Carrots, Coriander and Tomatoes.  Leeks, peppers and Broad Beans are reasonable.

On the fruit front; Plums, cooking Apples (now being made into cider) and Blackberries have been fantastic.  Had a few Strawberries (the plants are young), Raspberries (they have virus) and reasonable haul of Blackcurrants.  I even managed to grow one Melon indoors.  My new apple trees produced no fruit and the damson I planted in the spring died (the company that I bought it from are going to replace it for free since it was defective).

Last year food growing was far harder and the consequent harvest was far lower.  The reason was simple the weather.  I have never seen so much rain.  This year was the opposite, we had a drought with almost record temperatures.  As we wrote about in “No oil in the lamp”,  food is going to be a real issue as far as peak oil in concerned.  We are already in the foot hills of this with soaring food prices over the last decade or so.  We concluded

The alternative to this is to work towards a more sustainable, resilient global food system. This would mean more food being produced and consumed locally rather than being transported long distances.

Part of this is down to us.  I only have a small amount of land but am able to grow an amazing diversity of produce.  The elephant in the room is climate change.  Plants need a benign climate with few extremes of weather.  If all summers are like 2012 we are in trouble.  It shows that mitigating against climate change is preferable to adaptation.

So as we approach harvest festival (in the northern hemisphere), thank God for it, appreciate good food; but don’t get complacent and see if you can grow something, even on a windowsill.

The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it… ‘He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heat of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.’ Psalm 104, 14-15

Neil

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