Reminiscing about 2020

We wanted to spend a bit of time reminiscing about 2020 and the three favourite crops we grew. Despite 2020 being what can only be described as a bit of a peculiar year for all of us, it did also have some upsides for me personally. Working from home and the various lockdowns throughout the year meant I had lots more time to spend at home and therefore more time to grow veg!

So looking back, what were our three favourite crops of 2020?

Container courgettes

One of my favourite vegetables to eat are courgettes. They are so versatile too. You can stuff them, steam them, put them in stir fry or turn them into a healthy alternative to spaghetti to name just a few! Whichever way they’re being cooked, I love them!

And although you can get them in the supermarket all year round, nothing beats a home grown courgette in my opinion. The taste is just so completely different to those you can buy in the supermarket, that it is a real treat to grow your own.

I think this is another reason I like eating courgettes so much. I’m a big fan of eating seasonal vegetables where you can. And although all vegetables have a “season”, courgettes are what I think of when I think about seasonal vegetables. Although you can look to extend the growing season (as we have done in the past) by starting the courgettes off earlier or growing them on later in the year indoors where you are fortunate enough to have the facilities, the season is still definitive. And in my view, still far too short when it comes to courgettes! But it makes you appreciate them more I think, as you know they are only around for a short-ish while.

The anticipation of the first courgette of the season is second to none for me in the gardening year. And something I look forward to pretty much from the point at which we sow the first seeds. Which unfortunately is quite a while from the point at which you actually get to eat the first courgette!

I don’t even mind when the plants really get going in the midst of the summer months and we have courgettes coming from all directions. I could honestly eat them every day, and in some weeks, we pretty much do!

I’ve already written extensively about how much of an advocate I am for container courgettes, so I won’t go into that again here. But to re-iterate, you can’t only grow courgettes if you have lots of space, as you can grow them vertically in containers too!

Sugar snap peas

These were a new vegetable for us in 2020, and we’re very glad we gave them a try. It turns out that pea plants are much hardier than I’d ever have imagined, so again you can easily get a succession of sowings in to sustain your pea harvest over a longer period of time.

To get the best results, you’ll need something to train the peas up so their tendrils can get a grip and support the pea pods, but other than that, they needed very little tending versus the amount of peas they produced.

Romanesco cauliflowers

There are lots of new varieties and trendy types of vegetables available these days, and the list appears to get longer every year. Although I’m very much of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset, I do try to grow some new varieties or try some different types of vegetables where space and time allows. Even where I already have a brilliant variety that I love to grow. You never know, there might be something even better out there!

One example of this is Romanesco cauliflowers. I really like your standard white cauliflowers, both to grow and eat! But the colour of the Romanesco varieties just amazes me every time. So bright! I also really like the flavour. Almost a cross between a cauliflower and a broccoli, so would recommend if you haven’t tried them before!

One thing we have found though, is that they don’t overly like the really warm weather we (sometimes) get in the South East of England. They tend to grow a more sturdy plant and therefore a larger head when it comes to it if they are planted a bit later on and are harvested in early autumn. Whereas, they don’t seem to be as successful if you sow them to harvest in July, when their growing season spans what is typically the warmest and driest months of our year.

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