I seem to have lost the vegetable plot

GROW your own – lovely fresh fruit and vegetables – how hard can it be? Well, pretty difficult, actually.

Despite all the guidance from those TV programmes where the produce always looks stunning and a selection of well-written books, my vegetable patch this summer was an absolute disaster.

And it wasn’t much better last year, the first time I tried to nurture a few home-grown crops.

The wheat in my flower beds always does really well (though there is not enough to produce the flour needed for baking anything) but my veg just won’t grow.

Last year the peas produced a meal for two and some hungry caterpillars ate the savoy cabbages.

This time courgettes went mouldy – though one really got into its stride while we were on holiday and turned into a marrow – and the beetroot didn’t grow, despite healthy leaves.

There were very few runner beans this summer (black fly did for those), the garlic flourished briefly and then died, and my hopes of having my own sprouts for Christmas dinner are hanging by a thread.

Most Read

I have 20 sprout plants and they all have sprouts on their stems, but sadly most are no larger than pearls on a necklace.

In the twilight, once the neighbours are safely indoors, I have had a few chats with them to encourage their growth, and in frustration more recently tried shouting at them. Neither works.

In contrast, my wife Rachel’s tomatoes and strawberries, grown in tubs away from my veg patch of doom, did well with lots of fruit.

So what am I doing wrong? Mrs C’s answer to the question was manure, or a severe lack of it, or planting crops in the same place two years running, and others have said soil, too heavy and not well drained.

Either way, self-sufficiency is a long way off. I think I’ll give it one more year – sort of third time lucky – then it’s back to grass.

? Tell me your stories about what’s happening in Felixstowe – get in touch so we can cover the news in your neighbourhood. Call me on 01394 284109 or email richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk

? Read Richard Cornwell’s page in the Felixstowe Extra pull-out called FX in the Evening Star every Wednesday.