A Harvest Of Dreams

When you faithfully sow seeds and expect the result to be the same as the picture on the seed packet and your results are not quite the same, it’s easy to blame the supplier or the seeds. In fact maybe the compost wasn’t right, the sun wasn’t hot enough. Then it comes to a point when you have to face facts.


Tromba di Albenga is a favourite courgette, its long, meaty neck can supply many meals. It tastes milder than the average courgette and lovely when fried in butter. I’ve grown them for some years but never managed to get them much beyond about 30-45cms long. Seeds sown from the same packet have produced two different sizes of tromba. One is at least a metre long and the other could easily be mistaken for a banana.

The long tromba was grown in Cheshire, England, just four hours away from its smaller brother which was grown in Ayrshire, Scotland. The very late frost, which killed off many of my plants, left a little bit of green in the base of some of the courgettes, and sheer determination to get some results gave me the reward for my patience.

Tromba di Albenga from a previous year

Was it really worth it? I don’t think it was for produce, but there was the satisfaction of bringing something back from the brink of the compost heap, there is a certain feeling of achievement. In spite of almost naked tomato plants, lack of sun and warmth, I did manage to get a reduced supply of tomatoes, with enough to keep friends and neighbours happy as well.

Coming into its own, at long last, is the hydroponic tank. So slow to get going this year, it’s now producing ripe tomatoes at the same time as the pots of tomatoes are just finishing. 

I can’t grow many root vegetables and depend more on greenhouse and container grown, whereas my daughter and her partner have an allotment where space and depth mean they can grow almost anything. However, now that I’m going towards raised beds and square foot gardening, I would like to think I could increase my crop variety.

Thankfully there are alternatives to growing produce which doesn’t depend on a garden, just some space for containers of any type.  I grow potatoes and yacon in bags and oca in pots, even apple and plum trees are in large pots. I do find courgettes, squashes etc. a bit of a handful though, not because they are pot grown but their large leaves take up so much room and I have yet to find a solution for that.

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