I am late to link with Helen’s greenhouse meme (The patient Gardener) which was last week; but I wanted to keep a better record this year of how the greenhouse is used and blogging about it seems to be a good method to achieve this. This time I’m including a little about the new bed for cut flowers, hopefully as more is happening there I’ll write separate posts.
All the salad seeds I sowed in January are now all healthy plants; some have been transplanted into the vegetable garden but a lot remain in seed trays; I am harvesting these on a regular basis and I’m very happy with the flavour of these ‘soft’ leaves. I have made additional sowings but in summer it is usually too hot and I find lettuces bolt very quickly, I intend planting some in large pots that I can keep somewhere shady (possibly under the wisteria on the terrace) and hopefully I can lengthen the season. In September I will begin to sow again and hope to have salad leaves all winter.
All the tomatoes have now been potted on to 9 cm pots, they are actually ready to be planted out so next year I should delay sowing these by a couple of weeks as it is still too cold for them to be planted outside. I may plant some out very soon as I have plenty of ‘spares’ should they die.
I am growing a lot of different varieties this year; some are from bought seed but a large number are from seed saved from tomatoes I grew last year.
Tomato beefsteak mix French, beefsteak mix Penard plants (I have far too many beefsteak types!) beefsteak Accordion pink ruffled, Brandy wine red & yellow, Cherokee Purple, Daterini, Golden Sunrise, orange very sweet (don’t know the name), Gardener’s delight, Yellow Currant, Chocolate cherry, Tigerella, small yellow pear, small red pear, small round yellow and Tomatillo
All my citrus are still in the greenhouse and I’m concerned that they may lose the flowers or small fruits if I put them outside now when there are still cold winds. The bitter Seville and blood oranges don’t have any flowers yet so I’m thinking of putting them out as I need the space to plant some tomatoes directly into the soil in the greenhouse to get a quick crop before it becomes too hot for the pollinators to enter! I harvested most of the lemons and limes and made lemon and lime marmalade, some I put under brine as preserved lemons (which have been very successful before so I tried limes too; plus I made some lemon curd which no-one in Italy seems to have heard of. The lime plants as well as the lemons have masses of new flowers and small set fruit.
I have some flower seed growing including Lysimachia ephemerum, I’m thrilled about this as it is a plant I grew in the UK and think will do well here but I hadn’t been able to find the seed anywhere not even the company where I’d bought some before! Then Pauline from Up the Garden Path kindly offered to send me some. Thank you so much Pauline, the seeds germinated really quickly and have already got several proper leaves and I pricked them out yesterday. I have 40 seedlings – I just hope I can get them through the summer before planting some out into the borders; I’m probably going to plant some out into the cuttings bed as this is irrigated and I want some to cut anyway, then I can transplant them in September (any advice?).
I sowed some sunflowers too early too; these I’ve been brave with and have planted them out so I have my fingers crossed that it won’t be too cold for them. I also planted out 6 Cosmos Orange Phoenix but I left the rest in the greenhouse and will plant those later when I know the weather will be more stable. As this bed is new, it is all about experimenting this year and trying to source some seeds.
Here is the cutting bed, with its irrigation tubes in place. You can see that the slope is quite steep here but I have tried to make the bed itself level.
I have also decided that there are some plants I could grow for cutting that don’t need irrigation on a regular basis so I will use the area where the Leylandii were removed; I have planted two plums and a fig but they will be a while growing so the space can be used for some bulbs next autumn and I’m sure I’ll find some things to plant here very soon.
Sorry, this has turned into rather a long post. I hope it helps you understand how my greenhouse in used and some of my hopes for the cuttings garden.