The Greenhouse

I’m joining Helen at The Patient Gardener for her round-up of what’s happening in the greenhouse this month.

I posted about carrots grown in a pot in the greenhouse over winter here, we are now eating the crop and they are delicious.  I like carrots raw in salads and the purple ones I grew add an interesting colour.

The tomatoes are growing well, I am continuing with the on-going task of tying them to their canes.  As last year most plants I am allowing to grow three stems and the rest of the other side shoots I’m removing.  I may later try the off-shoots as cuttings (as recommended by Bob Flowerdew) and plant them up to produce new plants later in the season.  I’m not very sure of the timing for doing these so it will all be trial and error, has anyone else tried it?

We have had salad lettuce all winter and there are still some to harvest.  I have planted 3 melons and 3 yellow peppers in the back border but I’m concerned as there is a lot of roots from the Laylandii that have obviously been attracted by the irrigation tubes so that the soil in this border isn’t going to be as rich and moist as I would have liked.  I think I will have to put a membrane of some kind to stop the roots and maybe make this a slightly raised bed.

I germinated the seeds in the house as it was too hot for seed production.  There are some aquilegia from seed I collected from a plant in the garden and also some McKenna hybrids I bought.  The Achilea that germinated well are damping off; they were pricked out into my own compost which I fear is too rich for them, they need sharper drainage even at this stage.

I took sedum cuttings this week some leak and some stem cuttings (this site is great at explaining what you do), it is too soon to tell how well they will grow but I do remember my father taking leaf cuttings from a sedum plant of my great aunt and he was very successful.

A large empty pot contains Freesia corms that I’m very much hoping will grow to provide some perfumed cut flowers.

As soon as I put up the shade netting the temperatures dropped but even with the cold winds we are experiencing at the moment the temperature inside is comfortable warm.  I usually have the door open during the day and will soon, I hope, have it open at night too.

The broad beans I sowed in November are now cropping quite well. As I want the tomatoes to have more air and space I am harvesting by pulling up the whole plants.

Rainbow chard waiting to be planted out

Beautiful vegetable foliage counts for Garden bloggers Foliage Day on the  22nd, just leave a link with your comments on the GBFD post.

The Greenhouse Year – April

I thought I’d join Helen at Patient gardener this month with an update on the greenhouse.

The broad beans I planted in late November or early December have gown tall (maybe too tall) and have beans!  In March when the weather was much hotter than now I worried that no pollinators would live long enough in the heat to actually pollinate the flowers.  There must have been enough as the beans are forming quite low down so are presumably the first flowers from March.  My husband love broad beans (I’m not so keen) and he thinks my lack of success in the past is because I have been trying hard enough because I don’t want to eat them!  He likes them raw served pecorino cheese and salami, a classic antipasto in this area.  He also like them cooked in young tender pods and that really needs for them to be home-grown as the farmers want them to be bigger, so with tough pods.

I am pleased with my experiment to grow carrots in a pot.  Again I sowed these in November I think.  I rather stupidly sowed them into my own compost without first letting the weed seed germinate so I am sure I disturbed and even weeded out some of the carrots.  They are certainly the best carrots I’ve ever grown as I’ve always had stony soil and that’s not good for any root vegetables.  I’ll post an image of the carrots when I pull some for the kitchen next week.

Seed production has been erratic.  I sowed various things before I went to England in March, I had the hot tray in the house but then at the last moment was worried it might start a fire so I switched it off.  When I returned, nothing had germinated so I moved the tray out into the greenhouse but this was a big mistake!  It was so hot during the day, the seeds all cooked I think.  Just a couple of Thai basil seedlings and 4 black climbing beans.  When it was cooler in March I persevered in the greenhouse but I am sure the vast difference between day and night-time temperatures was still not what the seeds needed.  So on Monday this week, I started again!  I bought the heat tray back onto a indoors windowsill and already I have climbing beans, sweet corn (lots of sweet corn) and rainbow chard germinated and a little more Thai Basil is slowly pushing up.  So result!  I don’t really want the seed trays inside so I will have to think of some other idea for next year.

Lots of rainbow chard

I bought most of the tomatoes as small plugs from my local supplier and potted them on.  They are now waiting to go outside.  I had planted outside at this time last year but this year is COLD!  We’ve even had a slight frost so they have to wait a little longer – it would be silly to lose them now.

Especially as one has fruit already!

These I grew from saved seed. They are small yellow pear-shaped and look lovely in roasted summer vegetables. They’ll soon catch up with the other plants.

The zucchini are also getting very large; if they get to big they won’t transplant so well.

So I’m hoping for some warmer weather next week so that the greenhouse can be emptied of all the plants that need to be outside.

Don’t forget GBFoliageD on Sunday 22nd!  Share your beautiful spring/autumn foliage.  Is there a plant they you love for its foliage when most people grow it for flowers? Just do the post and leave a comment on mine.