I’m joining Julie at Peonies and Posies (rather late) to share what’s going on in my greenhouse this month.
And lastly, the only large tomato this year has been Ferline. This is better tasting than I thought initially when I ate the first one a month ago, so I may grow this one again, but I’m certainly open to suggestions for alternative larger/cooking tomatoes to try.
As well as the tomatoes, I’m growing Cucumber La Diva. These are supposed to be mini ‘cigar’ sized cucumbers, but I’m not a huge cucumber fan and so they tend to get left on the vine, and then grow to much larger proportions:
and my aubergines, Aubergine Kaberi. I haven’t yet harvested any, and whilst they’re definitely getting bigger, I’m not convinced they’re actually ripening, but I can wait….
And lastly, at my ‘potting shed’ end of the greenhouse, I’m afraid all my biennials – wallflowers and stocks, are still waiting to be planted out – and are definitely suffering for the neglect. Tsk tsk!
With regard to future plans, I don’t suppose the veg will continue for too much longer and then I will need a good clear out. And at that stage I’m wondering about trying the early sweet peas Julie had success with in her greenhouse last year.
The only problem is, if I fill the greenhouse ful of sweet peas, where am I going to put all my tender plants?
I’m joining Julie from Peonies and Posies, both of us after a month’s absence, to update on my greenhouse.
Although I planted my seeds in a timely fashion, I was definitely late getting all of the tender plants out of the greenhouse, and as a result my tomatoes went in late and are rather behind. I have six varieties this year – Black Cherry, Country Taste, Ferline, Gardener’s Delight, Green Zebra and Sungold. Of these I’ve only grown Sungold before, and I have long since forgotten why I chose the others. I bought them all (apart from Green Zebra, which came from Sarah Raven) from Chiltern Seeds, so their descriptions must have won me over.
The one above is Ferline, which is a rather attractive heart shape, but I’ve only cropped one and it wasn’t particularly exciting.
And here’s Green Zebra, again a bit different, but I’m already finding it frustrating that I don’t know when they’re ripe as they never turn red. I picked a couple which were quite soft (the way I thought you were supposed to tell) and tried one, but it really wasn’t very nice, so I binned the first one and put the second in the with the bananas for a second chance!
At the far end of the bed are two Cucumber La Diva plants, which are already taking up far more than their fair share of space. These are short ‘baby’ cucumbers which I’ve had a lot of success with in the past. I didn’t grow them last year, instead growing the grape sized Cucamelons, which was a definite mistake!
At the very end are two plants of Melon ‘Sweetheart’. As I mentioned last month I’ve never had any success with melons, but thought I’d give it another go. And once more, I’m not very hopeful – not least because they’re being smothered by the cucumbers….
In the terracotta pots I have Pepper Marconi Rosso, these Padron Peppers (lovely fried in olive oil with sea salt)
but also, most excitingly, aubergines! These ones are Kaberi, which I’m growing for the first time.
And there’s more!
Does anyone know whether you’re supposed to thin them out, or will they all mature, even if there are two or three close together? Definitely not a problem I’ve encountered before!
On the flower front, the little table is bedecked with blooms, and sits in front of a support with sweet peas growing up it.
The other lovely flowers are the ones on my Plumbago plants, such a pretty, soft blue.
Who knows, in a month’s time I may be overrun with tomatoes, and have eaten my first ever home grown aubergine. See you then!
Like Julie at Peonies and Posies who hosts this meme, things have calmed down in the greenhouse this month. The vast majority of seedlings have been turfed out to fend for the themselves (and we’ll gloss over the fact that many haven’t actually travelled very far from the greenhouse, are in an unruly array just outside the door…)
At the back of the greenhouse I have sweet peas for the first time. Firstly Lathyrus tingitanus,
in my view, one of the prettiest flowers, but sadly no scent, so in addition I’ve planted Lathyrus Juliet, which is just starting to flower, and smells gorgeous. Hopefully I’ll manage to grab the odd moment to sit at the table and enjoy them both.
On either side of the sweet peas are bamboo supports with a variety of tomatoes – this year, ‘Sungold’, ‘Gardener’s Delight’, ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Country Taste’, ‘Ferline’ and ‘Green Zebra’. All were new to me this year except ‘Sungold’, which is a firm favourite. And all grown from seed (all seed from Chilterns except ‘Green Zebra’ which was from Sarah Raven). In addition to the tomatoes I have mini cucumbers ‘La Diva’ as well as Melon ‘Sweetheart’. I’ve only tried melon once before and it was a disaster, but according to Chilterns, ‘Sweetheart’ is a “very early Charentais type melon, arguably the variety best suited to our irregular climate, more tolerant of cooler temperatures and quicker to mature”. We’ll see.
To the left of the door I’ve now planted up a number of pots. Last year the plants in this area were just in grow bags, but they didn’t seem to do very well, and, as I’d used these pots before and so had them available, I thought I’d go back to them.
In the pots I have Aubergine ‘Kaberi’, Pepper ‘Marconi Rosso’ and Pepper ‘Padron’.
In addition, the OH went to the local boot fair last weekend and bought some more Aubergines, which are now luxuriating in this rather magnificent pot, standing about 80cm tall. I will of course be furious if his do better than mine!
On the right hand side of the door I have the area with the heated propagation mat, but this has now been turned off. Here I’ve planted a number of biennials and perennials for next year. I’m not sure they really want to be inside, but I do find I can keep a much better eye on them here, and so I’ll see how they get on. I could move them out to the cold frame, but plants there do tend to suffer from a degree of neglect which, if they were children or animals, would get me into serious trouble.
And the final area, also to the right of the door, is my ‘potting’ area. This is still cluttered with numerous tender plants grown as cuttings and still seeking their place in the world/garden. Amongst other things, there are some Dahlias (Roxy), Pelargoniums, (including the lovely ‘Sidoides’), and Sedum (looking much better than the mother plant which has been badly chewed outside)
And, right by the door, one of a pair of Plumbago plants. I just love this plant and do so hope it will be flowering by the garden opening on the 28th of this month.
With thanks as ever to Julie for hosting. Why don’t you go and see what she’s been up to in her TWO greenhouses!
Well a much better month than last (although I’m a day late posting!) with all jobs pretty much completed.
There were many jobs carried forward:
- mulch all beds
Hmm, not quite there, but the vast majority done, so think we can tick this one off
- prune and feed remaining roses
- pot up dahlia tubers
I have some dahlias in the ground, some that were overwintered in the greenhouse in a large terracotta pot, and then these few, which were dug up and overwintered as tubers. I think it was because they were in pots I wanted to use for something else, but it’s all a bit of a blur now, and I certainly can’t remember their variety. Oops.
I finally got round to buying some potatoes – Ratte and Anya this year. I’ve also bought some potato growing bags for the first time, so I think I’ll put some in the ground (in the top ‘tier’ of the veg patch) and some in the potato bags. I’m planning to put the potato bags in the area of the veg patch behind the raspberry canes. It’s pretty dark but I did grow potatoes there before in the ground, but then they got blighted. Clearly I can’t grow them in the ground again, but hopefully they will do ok in the bags and make a difficult area productive.
- sow chillies, tomatoes and hardy annuals
Tick. The seed tray at the top shows my particularly perky looking Padron Peppers. There may be a few more hardy annuals to sow, but I’ve definitely sown all the tomatoes (Sungold, Gardeners Delight, Ferline, Black Cherry and Country Taste)
I need to provide some support for these, put at least they’re in the ground. I have a second wave now in the cold frame which I’ll plant out in a week or so.
and new for March
- plant aubergines
Tick. I’ve never had much success with Aubergines, but I love to eat them, so I’m trying yet again. This year’s variety is Kaberi from Chiltern. Has anyone tried it?
- finish planning two new beds and start to buy seeds/plants accordingly.
A lot of time has been spent daydreaming about what to put in the new beds and a few things have already been planted which I can show in the EOMV post, but one thing I will disclose here is my recent extravagance with David Austin:
For the Mid Century bed
2 x Munstead Wood
2 x Jubilee Celebration
1 x Falstaff Climbing
And for the Bronze Bed
2 x Pat Austin
Rose Munstead Wood, picture courtesy of the David Austin website
So for next month
Nothing to carry forward – hurrah!
New for April
- Prune various shrubs that probably should have been pruned already
- Continue planting seeds, pricking out and potting on
- Plan cutting garden
- Provide supports for broad beans and plant out second wave
- Start to erect structures for beans and sweet peas
- Tidy up shady bed and lavender beds
- Continue planting up the two new beds
If you’d like to join in with Resolve and Realise, please do, just leave a link to your post in the comments.
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.
The other end of the bed is now largely taken up with pots of tender plants
although there are also some pots of narcissi and muscari I’m growing for my step-niece’s wedding:
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,
abutilon and more penstemons.
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!
And in the middle, whilst they’re rarely sat on, I do have a table and chairs.
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.
Unsurprisingly the garden is looking rather sad in places. The drive bed, above, is looking better than most, with an ongoing second flush from Rosa Snow Goose, as well as some new planting below. The strap like leaves are from Sisyrinchium striatum, which I’ve moved from the swing beds where they were taking over. It was an early ‘In a vase on Monday‘ post which alerted me to how well the rose and Sisyrinchiums go together and so now they’ve been moved to live together, rather than just appearing fleetingly in a vase.
The downside of digging all the Sisyrinchiums out of the swing beds, is that they are now looking very bare. And that’s not the only reason; I also dug up the large Euphorbia wulfenii Characias from each bed, as neither was looking well, and I pulled out the ‘only-two-apples’ apple tree which was starting to shade the right hand bed and looked rather incongruous amongst the perennials. On a positive note, all the space has allowed me better access to plant my bulbs, so hopefully things will start bouncing back soon (quickly crosses fingers…)
The grass bed hasn’t yet had any autumnal clearing, and whilst the Stipa teniussima at the back are looking rather tired, the Nasturtiums at the front are in very rude health. Consequently I’ve left them alone for the time being, but sadly, the last few flowers on the nasturtiums are rather buried by the generous foliage.
Some of you may remember that I want to clear some, if not all, of the fox and cubs from this bed as they don’t really flower for long enough to justify their position, but that work is also yet to be done – and I think I need to get rid of all that nasturtium foliage so that I can even see the fox and cubs.
I’ve also done some clearing in the small veg patch, which is now back to just the raspberries, the diving lady (who has new bulbs planted in her pool) and Nimbus.
I’ve also cleared the exhausted Cosmos Purity from the troughs, but have left the stocks at the back. They are getting rather leggy now but I just love their scent and forgot to plant any new ones this summer, so I’ll have to hope they survive the winter and reflower.
As well as clearing, I’ve planted some more Alliums (Purple Sensation) in this bed as their numbers seemed to have dwindled this year, so I gave them a top up. They should follow on from the two Narcissii, Minnow and Segovia.
The raised beds I used for cutting for the first time this year still need clearing, but there are a few Antirrhinums clinging on, as well as one sentinel Zinnia.
I think I judge these beds a success. Of course I would have had bigger plants and consequently more blooms if I’d planted in the ground, but I just didn’t have the space, and this is a relatively out of the way position so it didn’t matter that the whole effect wasn’t very cohesive. I’ll definitely use the space again, but will need to replace the compost for next year.
Aside from the beds, I’ve also been planting up lots of pots with bulbs. The one below is one of a pair which sit outside the greenhouse. I’ve lain strips of rose prunings across the top to discourage marauders, and they seem to have worked so far.
and the cuttings taken last month are also putting on some new growth. Certainly not 100% success, but definitely lots of new babies to tend.
With many thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting the end of month meme. Please visit her website to see how other bloggers’ gardens look at this time of year.
I’m joining Helen at The Patient Gardener’s end of month meme a day late, apologies!
The picture above shows the lovely Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ peeking over the willow fence and matching beautifully with the self sown vine. The picture was taken earlier in the week and sadly, already the cercis leaves are starting to fall.
The Swing Beds are still showing some colour with penstemons, salvias and asters, but there’s a lot of chaos (certainly the climbing roses) and I still need to dig up the sisyrinchiums which are taking over the front of both beds. I think I should also look at dividing some of the perennials, particularly the geraniums.
In the greenhouse I haven’t yet cropped my Mini Belle Yellow peppers. To be honest now I’ve grown them, I’m not quite sure what to do with them. Somehow I don’t have much need for raw peppers to add to a picnic for snacking any more….
Also in the greenhouse, over the last few weeks I’ve done something I haven’t done before, which is to let my Sungold Tomatoes do their own thing, unrestricted . Having carefully pinched out the side shoots on all my tomatoes up until the end of September, I read/heard somewhere that Sungold can continue cropping until December under glass, and so, whilst all the other tomatoes will very shortly be pulled up, I’m just letting the Sungolds do what they want and then I’ll see whether I can harvest any more.
Of course one of the problems with this is that the plants are now right up to the top of the greenhouse and impossible to reach without a chair or ladder, but as they are my favourite tomato to eat raw, I feel a little mountaineering will be worth it.
I’ve also been busy taking cuttings of lavenders and pelagoniums. I went to a talk at our local horticultural society recently and the speaker, one of the lecturers at the Isle of Wight college, said he always takes cutting into seed trays, and crams in 20! I’ve always tended to put 4 or 5 around the edge of a terracotta pot, but I thought I’d try his method (although I drew the line at 12) and see how I get on.
Over in the ‘borrowed’ garden, the OH has been busy strimming all the brambles on the far side of the wall so that we can now see the recently arrived sheep. There are still annuals flowering in the bed in front of the wall – Cosmos, Cleomes and Amaranthus – but the Ammi have pretty much given up.
A little later in the year, when the hawthorn trees are dormant, I’ll need to prune them into shape and tie in the required new growth. Overall I’ve been delighted with how well they settled in since planting them at the beginning of February.
And the Tithonia ‘hedge’ I mentioned in my GBBD post is also still going strong, although not quite as strongly as a couple of weeks ago.
Cathy at Rambling in the Garden queried my measurements but I don’t think I was far out. There are 11 plants and the bed must be nearly 20ft long and some of the plants are definitely taller than me (alright, not many!) and I’m 5ft 7. Believe me now?