Fruit + Veg Fails • Franklyn + Vincent
Franklyn & Vincent is a few casual peeks from my kitchen garden beginnings and home maker dreams in a small terrace house in East London.
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Fruit + Veg Fails

04 Oct Fruit + Veg Fails


Mostly I’ve had a cracking growing season this year, I’ve eaten the best tomatoes of my life, the carrots were amazing and the apple tree is going from strength to strength.

A lot of gardening is wishful thinking, bringing a mixture of success and failures, but there are some things that just won’t give.


Did you see Monty’s basil on Gardeners World? He grows his in the greenhouse under his tomatoes, and I think this is they way to go. I don’t have room in the potting shed, so have tried several times outside to nothing. 

Maybe basil is better off on the inside on a window sill, however I’m taking this one personally as many others seem to be able to do it.

Fig Tree

I didn’t expect to get figs the first year, but it’s been three years now, it’s about 2 metres high with super healthy foliage and not one fig. My mate Emily has got a fig tree that’s younger than mine and they’ve got figs.

They’re apparently well suited to containers and mine is in a large one, so I’ve moved it to the sunniest spot in the garden and dream of a fresh fig next year.
~ Leaves are all very well and good, but we want figs! ~


Artichoke plants are surprisingly huge and require lots of space. Courgettes are massive and I’ve grown them successfully in containers, so what’s the beef? Not that I’m holding a grudge, but they’re pretty horrible looking things, so bugger ’em.

Artichokes are perennials getting better every year, I really think they are probably better off in the ground and with somebody that knows what they’re doing.

Fancy Kale

I bought some fancy varieties of kale this year, the first lot of seedlings got eaten on a mass scale by some bug that got in the potting shed. The second attempt wouldn’t germinate ~ which kind of ends the fun.

Next year is going to be the year of the kale in my garden. I’m going to plant early and use John Innes (the holy grail of compost) seedling compost and keep the potting shed window shut.


I had some lovely berries on my little blueberry bush last year, but I buggered it up this year by giving it the wrong feed, wrong compost and wrong water. Yep! No wonder eh.

Blueberry’s require ericaceous feed and compost and ideally watering with rain water. I’m hoping after a long winter, they’ve had time to get over it and come back next year with fruit. Fingers crossed.


I naively tried caulies and they resembled nothing even close to a cauliflower. I then Googled it and realised that it’s not me, it’s the cauliflower.

Cauliflowers are the Little Red Riding Hoods of the brassica world and like it not too hot and not too cold, which is very difficult to achieve. Fussy buggers. If you can grow cauliflowers on your home plot, I take my hat off to you.


Aubergine plants are really beautiful. They produce these lovely purple flowers but (in my experience) reward you with very hard, bitter fruit. I have tried now for two years, and just can’t seem to get them ripe properly.

I might try again next year and read up on what feed to give them, as up until now I’ve just been treating them the same as a tomato ~ maybe that’s not the way to go.

~ Looks the part doesn’t it? Was disgusting. ~


Lettuce is a right diva. I really wanted to grow little cos lettuces but it even gets eaten by something before I can eat it or it just bolts. Every time. Sorry to shatter your dreams. Stick to rocket.

Lettuce needs uniform temperature, so growing anything that represents a lettuce like the supermarkets is unlikely. Get real.


Other mistakes I’ve made is buying netting that wasn’t small enough so butterflies got in to my kale, over-crowding my radishes, pruning my pear tree to early, but generally I had a really good year. Have I mentioned my tomatoes?


“Never make eye contact while eating a banana.”
Author unknown


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