So the last couple of weekends I’ve been trying to catch-up in the garden after spending much of August away. After a month of neglect the garden looked like a jungle, but I’m slowly hacking it back into shape and opening up the gaps for new experiments. In order for new things to be planted, the things that haven’t worked out need to go.
So what’s out? So far:
Lonicera caerulea, source: Wikipedia, by Opioła Jerzy
I tried. I really, really tried. I had these in my old front garden, and when we moved we brought them with us. I gave them years, always hoping for better yields or sweeter fruit (supposedly fruit quality improves as they mature). I tried a few other varieties that were supposed to have bigger, better fruit. The end result: every variety I’ve tried over the last six years or so produces small, sharp berries that aren’t worth the effort. If you want something similar but sweeter and high yielding, plant raspberries. If you want sharp and higher yields, plant currants. If you’ve already planted honeyberries, then don’t waste too many years before admitting defeat and tossing them on the compost heap, as I just did.
Asparagus peas, source: Wikipedia, by Hans Hillewaert
These are annuals. I’ve tried them a couple of times, but for reasons explained here they’re not the best vegetable in the world. Their only positive is that they look quite pretty when in flower.
Achocha, source: Wikipedia, by Zyance
Another annual. I tried these for the first time this year. They’re extremely vigorous climbing members of the cucumber family, and extremely productive as well. So what’s wrong with them? Two things:
- While they probably can be used fried in most recipes that call for green peppers, they have a bitterness to them that I find unpleasant. Not enough to stop me eating some, but why grow something that’s going to produce tons of vegetables you have to force yourself to eat?
- Vigorous doesn’t begin to cover it. They look like (and grow like) weeds. They get everywhere – I had a constant battle to stop them smothering the kiwis, which themselves have a reputation for thuggish behaviour, and they leapt off the arches I was growing them up into the undergrowth, the apple tree, the cherry tree, and over two nearby paths.
This weekend I decided enough was enough and ripped the damn things out. Waiting for the cold to kill them off meant I’d have to keep looking at them for at least a few more weeks.
Chokeberries, source: Wikipedia, by Mrigashirsha
I’m not as negative on these as some of the above. They’re not that great raw unless very ripe, but I’m told they have culinary value. The problem is that only two out of the four plants I have produce large berries, and I don’t get to use them anyway. Despite being very astringent, they act as a bird magnet and all the fruit suddenly vanishes before I get round to picking it. For that reason, one of the smaller berried bushes is going to make room for another Actinidia Kolomikta. The bigger ones I’ll probably keep since, even if they’re not productive, they grow more sparsely than the honeyberries so underplanting is much more viable.
Flowering quince, source: Wikipedia, by Pollinator
I grow three kinds of chaenomeles: Cido, Fusion, and Crimson and Gold. I had a post earlier about how, despite claims to the contrary, I don’t think chaenomeles are self-fertile. This year, after adding extra varieties, I finally got a good yield from the Fusion and Crimson and Gold. The two Cidos, though, still managed almost nothing. I’m tempted to remove them, the only question is whether that might stuff up the pollination again (e.g. if Cido pollinates one of the other two, but is not itself pollinated by them).