Saturday 5 November 2016

Successes and failures with second-cropping

Earlier this year I used the big plastic containers in which my potatoes had been grown to try to get a second crop from them. As each one became free (I harvested the potatoes as and when required), I sowed something different in each pot. Some of them have done OK, others not - hence the title of this post.

In two of the containers I sowed Dwarf French Beans. One had "Berggoud" (yellow), and one had "Processor" (green). They were sown on August 3rd.

These were the most successful part of the experiment, delivering a modest but quick-maturing crop. The last beans were picked about a week ago.

I would definitely recommend beans like this as a second crop, mainly because of the short time they require to go from sowing to maturity. Having said that, this year September and October were very mild and in a cooler year the beans might not do so well - and they are definitely not frost-hardy.

Another pot has Leeks in it. Admittedly they were not grown in it from seed. They had been started off in a small pot prior to planting in the big container when it became free. Nonetheless they seem to be doing OK.

They are not huge, are they? Still, they are better than the ones I have in the raised beds, which (having been totally shaded by bigger plants) are pathetically small. Given another couple of months, I think they will be all right.

This is not too bad either:

It's an "Endeavour" Brokali plant, sown on 22nd June. It looks a bit ratty at present, though strong enough. It will probably come to maturity early in the New Year. I'm not sure it is good use of space though - one single plant is never going to give me much of a crop!

Less good are these - Beetroot "Cylindra", sown on July 20th.

They have never really got going at all, and I don't think they will ever produce any edible roots. The best I can hope for is some little leaves to use in salads. I think they were just sown too late. Not recommended as a late crop.

These are carrots - "Chantenay", sown on 7th July.

If I had not been idle, these might have been OK, but I'm afraid I never got round to thinning them. As it stands, they are far too crowded, and will almost certainly not produce any roots. Are carrot tops any good as a salad ingredient???

So, some successes, but some failures too. Just one other thing to point out: growing things in containers does at least give you the opportunity to move them around. My four remaining black plastic tubs are now in the place where until just a few days ago the chillis used to live.

In this location they will get the greatest amount of light possible (not much at present!). I think that in their original positions they just didn't get enough direct sunshine.


  1. It's always worth having a go at a late crop isn't it? Sometimes you win and other times not - either way the most you lose is a the cost of a packet of seed!

  2. You can make pesto with carrot tops, adding garlic, parmesan, olive oil and walnuts. I've not tried it myself, but there are recipes on the internet if you're interested.

  3. For a very full account of toxicity (none) & ediblity (healthy) of carrot tops, see


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