The Greenhouse – February 2014

Welcome to my greenhouse, I haven’t posted about it for ages.

I’m joining Helen at Patient gardener for her new meme about gardening under glass.

I use my greenhouse for overwintering Citrus although this year one lemon has remained outside and is doing very well in the most sheltered place on the terrace protected by the house from the cold north and east winds.  Those inside are flowering and putting on new growth so it is worth protecting them in this way as I’ll have lemons through the summer if I’m lucky.  The limes also have fruit and flowers so there should be limes to make marmalade now and some to use in Thai dishes in the coming months.  Has anyone ever tried preserving limes with salt in the same way you can lemons?  I’d love to hear how to do it if you’ve tried.

Lemons, you can see the shade net is already up in the roof

Lemons, you can see the shade net is already up in the roof

Limes

Limes

Oranges these are blood oranges I've already used the Seville oranges to make marmelade

Oranges these are blood oranges I’ve already used the Seville oranges to make marmelade

Two Wests and Elliot 5 shelf seed tray stands, I find them brilliant, gravel trays, self watering trays and heated propagating trays all fit.

Two Wests and Elliot 5 shelf seed tray stands, I find them brilliant, gravel trays, self watering trays and heated propagating trays all fit.

The other main use is more sowing seeds in a light warm place.  Sometimes it can be too warm as even in winter the temperature can reach the high 30’s°C and so I never actually remove the shade netting even in winter; it is attached over a wire so I can pull it across as required.

Since the beginning of February the door has been open all day most days.  There are 4 roof lights (windows) 3 of which open automatically when the temperature inside reaches 20°C.

I have some great seed racks from Two Wests and Elliot which I find very versatile, in summer they are easily moved outside to an area where I have shade netting to keep new young plants that have been grown for autumn planting.

I started sowing in January this year.  I sowed peppers and aubergines and lots of salad leaves to use some to grow on to be full grown lettuces of various types and the rest will be eaten as micro salad leaves as needed.  I intend growing a lot more of this kind of crop this autumn to supply lots of lovely leaves during the winter.  This past year I had only purple Pak Choi but seeing how well it has grown and reading in various magazines about growing many different varieties of crops in this way I am inspired to grow a lot more.  Maybe even some potatoes in pots and carrots too.

Corriander because it is difficult to buy here so I try to plant some every couple of weeks

Corriander because it is difficult to buy here so I try to plant some every couple of weeks

Parsley, Canaster lettuce and orange Cosmos

Parsley, Canaster lettuce and orange Cosmos

Tomato seedlings they have all been pricked out within the last week, again there are a lot of varieties

Tomato seedlings they have all been pricked out within the last week, again there are a lot of varieties

I planted a couple of potatoes in January just to see what would happen, I might get a small meal from them - who knows?

I planted a couple of potatoes in January just to see what would happen, I might get a small meal from them – who knows?

Lots of different varieties of Basil, a lot more than I have grown before including Lemon and Lime Basil

Lots of different varieties of Basil, a lot more than I have grown before including Lemon and Lime Basil

Pak Choi sown last October directly into the border, the other leaves are the remainders from pricking out salad crops

Pak Choi sown last October directly into the border, the other leaves are the remainders from pricking out salad crops

Tomorrow is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) so if you’d like to showcase some foliage in your garden please feel free to join in.  All you need to do is add a link back to my post in yours and leave a comment with your link; everyone is very welcome, it’s always lovely to see what different foliage is featuring in your garden each month.

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29 thoughts on “The Greenhouse – February 2014

  1. you have lovely crops Christina, both of fruit and seedlings, have you earthed the potato up, although I don’t have one I am enjoying seeing (being nosy) how people use their greenhouse, Frances

  2. This really is going to be an interesting meme-or-maybe-not-a-meme! Your citrus fruits all look wonderful in those lovely big pots. Like Chloris I used to start my tomatoes too late so was a good bit earlier last year and having read something recently have sown some already this year with the intention of doing a second sowing later on. I noticed Two Wests staging and shelving in a catalogue recently and am impressed with all the combinations, but our staging will still be home grown (still deciding on how to have it in the new half greenhouse)! I trialled some cut and come again coriander for Which? Gardening in 2012 – Calypso? – and must have been able to cut it about 5 times before it fizzled out.

    • I’ve not seen that variety of coriander for sale. I can’t even easily get the seed here as it is just something the Italians don’t use. I love Thai food so I HAVE to grow it and lemon grass which at the moment is in a pot but I’m thinking of planting it in the greenhouse border as it shouldn’t mind the scorching summer temperatures as long as I give it lots of water.

  3. Wonderfully productive Christina, I am envious of your citrus trees. How large will they grow, can you just keep them in pots to check the size and them still fruit? I’ve seen those seed tray stands and wondered about them. I’m already behind on my sowing, too much going on, but I really must get salad leaves, parsley, basil and coriander sown soon.

    • In this part of Italy everyone keeps their citrus in pots, and they seem to remain very productive, they are good in a pot that actually looks a bit small. The seed tray stands are brilliant. Light in weight so easily moved and you can even get wheels for them. I think that in reality you can use 3 of the five shelves for plants, but germinating seeds could be on the bottom too. They are made of alluminium so last forever, so I think they are a good investment. I don’t have any actual staging.

    • I sowed peppers and aubergines (egg plants) at the same time last year and they were the right size for planting out when I wanted them. The tomatoes I am earlier with this year, possibly a week or so too early, we’ll see.

  4. So this is where so much of your garden begins. You have a fabulous greenhouse! I have a few friends who have citrus, and every winter they haul them to their basement garages. But your citrus live the good life!

    • Lots of people put their citrus in garages here too; they survive but without light never look very healthy. The greenhouse is mostly for growing seed for vegetables, herbs and salads plus a place for ggrowing on cuttings.

  5. What a nice sight to see the citrus (looking wonderfully healthy I must add) and all the lush new veggies and transplants. Your greenhouse does look like quite the hideaway and I also would have snuck a seat in there somewhere for “thinking” purposes 😉

  6. yours Citrus are very healthy and lot of fruits!
    mines just survive, with maximum 1 or 2 fruits…could you give me some advice? i’m organic, generally i use “lupini” and manure, but the results are not very good….
    the same in my greeenhouse: the seeds start but after a couple of week they die…any idea why? sorry for my english…i’m italian and not very good ( it is the story of my activities…haha!!! )
    thanks for your blog
    daniela

    • Anch’io sono biologico in giardino. Ma da dire la verità visto che le agrumi sono una cosa nuova per mi uso il prodotto di concime che trovo in negozio. Glieli do in primavera e aggiungo un po’ di nuova terra. Per i semi non so posso dirti. Forse i semi sono trotto umido, la terra per semi dev’essere assai asciutto, il mix che uso io è terre ciò comprato 40%, fibre di cocco 40%, perlite, sabbia e concime a lungo durata.

  7. Wow, Christina, you’re so organised. I’ve yet to sow any seeds this year, and the greenhouse is forlornly sheltering just a few autumn-sowings and my dahlias and pelargoniums… Hopefully this weekend I shall have the chance to get things moving!

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