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Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Growing your own when the weather is bad, what can you do.

The weather and its challenges when growing your own fruit and vegetables.
Of course the weather cannot really be bad, can it? What I really mean is getting the wrong weather at the wrong time and this happens to almost everyone who has experience of growing their own fruit and vegetables.
Unless you grow everything in a poly tunnel or greenhouse you will have little control over what the weather does to your crops. You can modify the soil, by improving it, you can nurture your seedlings and fruit bushes,to some extent you can protect them from attack by birds and hungry insects but there is not much you can do about the weather. The weather and the effect it has on what you are attempting to grow is one of the variables that you just have to get use to.

Dry weather at times can push your ability to water the plants to the limit. This is especially true if you are limited to using a watering can and are some distance from the nearest tap. That is something you do not notice until you have heaved water back to the plot from the tap a few times. It feels like the distance between the water tap and your plot increases with each trip. As we have also be asked to cut down on the amount of water used on the site of the allotments we also have to consider that when watering our patch.

Tips to help the plants cope  with dry weather - try these tips

  • Make a small trench between the rows of plants so that the water drains into this that runs of the plants.
With things like beans that will be growing up a 'wigwam of poles' I heap the soil in the middle in a small mound of earth. Then around the outside of the 'circle' of canes used to form the wigwam I scoop out a small trench from the earth and this will collect any rain fall. Not the most high tech of ideas but it helps a little.

  • If possible use a mulch on crops that it will suit and around fruit bushes such currant bushes and summer raspberries. 
  • Autumn raspberries flourish like weeds on my fruit plot, all they ever get is a mulch of well rotted horse muck after they have fruited in the autumn and before or after I cut them back to the ground.
BTW - Summer fruiting raspberry canes get cut back in a different way as they fruit on older wood while autumn raspberry fruit on the new canes that grew that year.

  • Use old plastic bottles with the bottoms cut off and the tops pushed into the ground next to the plants. When you water pour the water into the 'upturned bottle' the water then goes into the soil closer to the plants roots. This idea also saves the water from being evaporated from the surface of the soil.
More on what to do to help with weather conditions in a future post here.

  •  Really wet makes the soil too wet to walk on - you will compact the soil if you do  - so walk on the paths and not on the soil on the plot next to the crops when the soil is water logged. 

a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote