Tag Archives: Cucamelon

The Greenhouse review – January 2015

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I’m joining with Julie at Peonies and Posies to capture a monthly view of what’s going on in my greenhouse.  Like Julie, I’m lucky enough to have a sizeable greenhouse.  Mine was built in 2011 and was from Cambridge Glasshouses.  Sadly, unlike Julie’s Alitex, I don’t have very attractive staging – maybe one day!

One of the reasons I’m keen to join in this meme is that I think I could probably make my greenhouse work harder.  I certainly raise thousands of seeds and cuttings in it, as well as veg, mostly tomatoes, but have never used it for cutting flowers and would like to do that this year for the first time.  Another reason is to make sure I keep the greenhouse clean and tidy.  Like tidying my house before visitors come, I’ll have to keep my greenhouse tidy for your monthly visits.  Sadly, due to feeling under the weather recently, I certainly haven’t achieved my spring clean before these photos, so please excuse me!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d read you can carry on cropping Sungold tomatoes through to December, and as a result I didn’t clear them out.  Also, because of the way the bamboos were constructed I ended up not clearing the Cucamelons either as they were growing up the same structure.  Consequently nearly half of the bed running along the back wall still has (increasingly tatty) plants growing in it.  And although I have harvested a few new tomatoes (and it’s always good to try out new ideas), this has definitely been a mistake.  It’s meant a significant delay in a proper clear out and clean up, and now that I’ve moved tender plants in, it will make my spring clean much harder.

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The other end of the bed is now largely taken up with pots of tender plants

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although there are also some pots of narcissi and muscari I’m growing for my step-niece’s wedding:IMG_5707

I don’t have any heaters in the greenhouse and so it’s possible the frost could still catch some of these plants.

The one heated item I do have, is a heated propagation mat which sits under the capillary matting shown below.  I’m concerned that it may have broken over the winter, but I haven’t dared investigate properly.  It wasn’t cheap and I only bought it last year, so I hope that’s not the case!

On the mat I have numerous cuttings including pelargoniums, diascia, lavender, penstemon,IMG_5709

abutilon and more penstemons.IMG_5710

In the bottom right of the photo above you can see my ‘potting trough’.  This is just a large plastic tray where I do all my potting.  The trouble is, it’s a messy process (or is that just me?) and I do find it hard to keep my potting mixes out of the clay ‘beads’ my staging is filled with.  I have considered moving my potting activities to a shed near the veg patch, but this greenhouse spot is south facing and has a lovely view, so I’m loathe to move!

On the left hand side of the door, the staging has a lot of seedlings including sweet peas, calendula and broad beans, shown in my first Wordless Wednesday post of the new year.IMG_5689

And in the middle, whilst they’re rarely sat on, I do have a table and chairs.IMG_5712

Hopefully by next month I will have had a proper spring clean and all will be looking rather more shipshape!

With thanks again to Julie for hosting this new meme.

 

End of month view – August 2014

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July’s End of Month View was thrown together well before the end of month, just before we left for the States, and as a conclusion I wrote “as I write this I wonder how they’ll cope with a two week absence.  Fingers crossed.”  Well sadly, the answer, despite having housesitters who were apparently watering, was very badly indeed.

We flew home overnight on the 2nd August, arriving back around lunchtime on the 3rd, but despite my sister and brother-in-law’s heroic efforts over the final few days, the damage had definitely been done.  The sight that greeted me almost reduced me to tears – no veg, few flowers (certainly no sweet peas) and very sad looking pots.  And whilst I know there are far bigger tragedies in the world, seeing six month’s worth of effort shrivelled up in front of me was pretty hard to bear.

Consequently, the month since then, has been spent vacillating between intensive garden recovery activities and sitting inside sulking.  And if I’m honest, there has been so much of the latter that my End of Month photographing this morning resulted in me looking at things I haven’t looked at for weeks, so it’s been somewhat of an eye opener for me.

So let’s share.

The left hand Swing Bed above isn’t looking too bad now – the verbena are complete stalwarts and have been joined by the lovely Aster Frikartii Monch, of which I wish I had more.  There are also salvias, nepeta and phlox, and the St Swithun rose is having a second flush.  What there isn’t, is pretty much any sign of the numerous annuals I planted, or the dahlias which I thought would do a marvellous job of providing late colour.  They have survived and are now, finally, in bud, but are still so short I’m not sure they’ll ever appear over the top of the plants in front.  We’ll see.

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The right hand Swing Bed is suffering similarly, but you can see there are some annual Cleomes towards the left of the photo, but little sign of any cosmos or the dahlias here either.

Surprisingly, the troughs have done well and I love the exuberance of the Cosmos Purity.

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Opposite the troughs, I’ve cut back the verbascums in the Grass Beds, and there’s not much to see apart from the grasses. The first year we were here I planted Cosmos in this bed and they were great.  I definitely need to rethink this bed next year. Nothing apart from the grasses and the bulbs early on really last long enough, so I think I need to find something that’s a better ‘doer’.

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On the other side of the garden, the Oak Bed I’m always so dissatisfied with is actually looking ok, largely as its shadiness has protected it from the ubiquitous shrivel!IMG_4637

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Similarly, the Shady Bed is fine, as would the Hostas be if they weren’t so painty.  But the Hydrangea Petiolaris seems to have turned its toes up.  To be honest it wasn’t doing very well anyway, so perhaps it’s a good excuse to plant something more exciting.

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Meanwhile the veg bed had a lot to contend with.  Firstly drought, but then the aftermath Hurricane Bertha, which caused a general collapse of all the bamboo structures which are now held up by strings attached to the bay tree.  This makes picking somewhat of a limbo dance – now that there is finally some more veg to pick.

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In the greenhouse, where there is a drip hose system fitted, things are looking far more promising

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The plants at the left hand end of the photo above are Cucamelons, one of James Wong’s ‘Homegrown Revolution’ suggestions.  The taste is supposed to be (funnily enough) a cross between a cucumber and a melon, however I certainly think there’s a lot more cucumber taste than melon.  The plants seem to be very leafy and not particularly productive, and the fruits are only grape sized (although pretty).  I’m not sure I’d grow it again.

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And to finish, a view which isn’t even in my garden.  This is a bed in a neighbour’s garden which I’ve commandeered for my loud orange annuals, Helianthus Claret, Tithonia and various Marigolds.  They look even zingier in the evening when they catch the west light.

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So that’s it.  And guess what?  I feel much better now and will stop sulking and get on with enjoying the rest of the gardening year.

And, having this very day delivered my son to uni, perhaps I’ll have a little more time to do it.  (Although he has taken my laptop with him, which seems to be causing a few problems on the photography quality front as I battle with an older laptop with different software.  Apologies!)

With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener,  for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.