|Reclaiming my social life! I don't officially endorse Southern Comfort or any of their products, but I personally encourage drinking them! Haha|
I've taken away the cosmetics sections of the blog, which although I do make don't really warrant their own section as I don't post much here about them. So I have added new sections on Gardening on a Budget, Indoor & Container Gardening and my Lessons Learned series. I've also changed the header but not sure if I like it yet!
|Yes, I like my Nesquick chocolate milkshake...hey at least I recycle!|
|I apologise for the quality of some photos - I took them all on my phone because it was simpler/both my memory cards are still full of Malta photos I've not backed up yet|
Most days are a bit soggy but warm enough, with the greenhouse sitting at roughly 20-25 degrees centigrade most days. On Friday this reached 32 degrees!!
My star plants right now are absolutely my broad beans, which I planted 19th February and they proceeded to rocket skyward ever since. They are all absolutely laiden with flowers now! I am growing Sutton Dwarf, Aquadulce and Masterpiece Green Longpod varieties (5 of each).
So far I've managed to deter the slimy beasts (slugs & snails) from my broad beans (last year they did nothing short of rape them of all their worth - not a leaf, flowerhead or pod was left). However, this year they look much, much healthier and larger plants, I think particularly the new varieties are really impressing me (previously I've only grown Sutton). I keep all of them on the metal shelf provided by my Dad when he was cleaning out his office. Since I've been using it I've not had a single slimer on that side of the greenhouse. So I'm thinking about either replacing the wooden shelf that came with the greenhouse (and is attached to the greenhouse itself) or coating the entire thing in copper tape.
|The slug was actually the second pest to get its teeth into this leaf - the top layer was eaten neatly off by some other creature, exposing all the veins first, and then the slug just came in and had a party with the rest|
A few plants have suffered though - like the above four Aubergines. Its hard to tell from the rubbish photo but it does actually look like the growing tips are intact on at least 2 of the plants, so provided there's no further attacks in this particular pot they might make it. I do however have zero cucumbers left, though I know one seed has germinated but is still to surface so it might be my only one!
My Inca Berry (aka Cape Gooseberry) plants may look from afar like they are suffering, but in fact they are thriving! Throughout winter they seemed to have no clue that winter had arrived (much like my goji berry plant) and as soon as it hit March their leaves started to turn more dark and purpley then flowers popped up everywhere. They also have a lot of new growth. I haven't pruned any old leaves off yet or any new growth, because though I want all their energy to focus on the fruits, I am concerned that pruning may encourage more new leaf growth instead. Everything I've looked up on them basically says to leave them alone once they flower, and cut down on watering them/bothering them in any way. I do have three (well technically 4 since the shortest one appears to be twin plants) so I might experiment with pruning if I get too impatient waiting on my fruits!
|Inca Berry flowers and new leaves appearing|
|Inca Berries have papery pods like Tomatillos which host the berry and protect them as they grow. These turn a light brown shade and then fall off when ripe.|
I've not actually had the pleasure of tasting these yet so I am pretty excited to be getting a harvest soon. Even the most stunted plant (about 1ft tall, while my tallest is approx 3.5ft) is laiden with pods and new flowers are still appearing. They appear to be self pollinating too, which is great.
|Cucamelons are getting going now! I've added them to this hanging basket so the mini melon plants can trail over the edges. Very hopeful and excited for the look of this later this year. I intend to earth up a bit as they grow.|
It may be quite hard to see these plants, since most of them are purple! These are all different types of chilli. The ones with the green true leaves starting to come through are calico and black pearl (at the moment they appear to grow much the same). The fully purple leaved ones are all Purple Flash. They all appear to be struggling with actually getting growing very fast!
|Black Pearl chilli plant|
This for example, is an ordinary disposable cup that I'm using as a pot, which cannot be more than an absolute maximum of 5cm diameter. The roots are tiny and all my chillis still have far to go in these vessels before being potted on. I had been waiting for them all to get true leaves but decided to pot them into these early from the propagator because they were so slow growing! I don't know if the propagator they were in has restricted their roots or if its because they're all purple that they're absorbing less chlorophyll? However my green-leaved chillis are all just mildly larger.
I planted these 19th February - so I feel they should be much, much larger. Mark suggested feeding them with Baby Bio plant food, which I will give a try. It may not seem much because they are still SO tiny, but they have been growing since potting on. Nearly all of them have started growing their true leaves now, and I planted all of them with the soil right up to the base of the leaves so they've been pushing up a little. It is quite baffling considering everything else in the greenhouse is doing pretty exceptional (aside from those poor devoured cucumbers, though they were growing well until that instance) so I'll just have to do that awful waiting/patience thing.
I may try to plant some new seeds of the same chilli types and see what happens - perhaps starting them so early and having a long germination period rather than a shorter one in hotter weather wasn't the best approach? I'll keep you updated on those. I am so excited for them to grow up because their foliage is absolutely stunning, not to mention their ornamental (but thankfully also edible) chillis.
French, Borlotti and Soya Beans have all popped up now, and getting some gorgeous, fresh looking leaves on them.
I have 4 varieties of Okra this year (fast become my favourite vegetable to eat, though peas are still at the top for now). I'm impressed with their growth thus far considering they are more partial to hotter climates. I will be re-potting them soon once all the seeds have fully emerged.
|Green Giant Tomato|
The tomatoes are thriving! I've planted them all so that I can earth up once they are a little larger, to extend the use of their pots. I'm really pleased with their progress so far, and soon I'll be able to start making decisions on how I intend to prune and shape their growth. I like these slightly purple leaves of the Green Giant.
Potatoes are doing great!! I have four varieties, and need to earth them all up now. Pleased with how much they seem to be thriving, considering my first time growing them was last year and it was really just a last ditch attempt to not throw away a potato which was chitting on its own in the cupboard haha. (I did get some absolutely delicious potatoes from it but they were tiny). This year I bought proper seed potatoes and proper potato grow bags, so looking forward to hopefully a larger crop this year.
More soon on the variety details of my potatoes, okra, tomatoes etc. Just wanted to give a larger update overall, but I will soon be building myself a small (not walk in) fruit cage because both my gooseberry and blackcurrant are laiden with these:
|Goosebery flowers - Can you see the little green gooseberries above them?|
This green gooseberry in particular is thriving with a ton of new growth and flowers appearing. I'm very excited because I got all my fruit bushes last year and they grew and went dormant, and this is the first year they are flowering/fruiting!!