My Journey

From mind to paper and back again.

Beginners Guide To Gardening; Mid July to Late July

on August 5, 2010

I am posting this now as I completely forgot to post them at the time of writing – Doh!  So I will say in advance that I am sorry for how long the post is x

Well I’ve been really worried about my plants as I have just spent ten days in hospital but like a good husband should, he has watered and fed all of my precious plants and managed to only kill two. All of my plants were thriving when I go home except my peas and lettuce.

I have small pods on my broadbeans all growing nicely apart from one that is already full size and ready for picking which I can’t wait to do as I love broadbeans in salads and with my Sunday roast vegetables.

My two new tomato plants are doing extremely well, the first one I got that was struggling has completely finished fruiting and so I will compost it as the others are doing well anyway. They have loads of little yellow flowers so for each flower I should get a tiny cherry tomato come through and start to grow. I already have some little green ones starting to ripen and two were completely ready to eat when I got home, so I plucked them carefully off the plant to eat and they were so sweet. Can’t wait to have some more for on my sandwiches and in my salads!

All of my sweetcorn are doing very well, in fact they are doing better than I expected. I planted fourteen seeds into small dissolvable planters and placed them all into one large pot so they were all together. I then watered and covered the main pot with cling film to act like a propagator lid. It seems to have worked very well as out of the fourteen planted, I was expecting four or five to grow, instead; I got eleven huge plants all getting ready for re-potting. I don’t have room or the pots for all eleven plants so when my mum came to visit I gave her two of them, carefully taken out in their biodegradable pots with no damage to the roots, she is going to re-pot them at home and has feeding and watering instructions to take too. My husbands’ nanny also wants two of the plants for in her garden which I will take around to her house when I’m able to drive again so I can help her re-plant them straight into the garden – no doubt the rabbit will try and eat them though! Also my dad wants two as well, so I will take two out the next time he can come and visit me ready for him to take home. My dad is an avid gardener and t’s brilliant having something in common to talk about – his tips have been invaluable as he grows vegetables, fruits and flowers. That should leave me with the initial five plants I planned for which I will re-pot very soon when I am able to get to my local B and M store as they sell lovely pots at very good prices.

My strawberries are all done for the season, Dad has told me to remove the brown, dead leaves as they appear but to continue watering as normal. He said the plants shouldn’t need feeding as often as well. Apparently next year when the plant is in its second season I will get more strawberries that are bigger in size as the plant will put out runners as well and grow in size itself, Dad said this is the same year after year and the plants should give me more fruit each season, I can’t wait for next year now as the strawberries I picked this season were juicy and sweet, no tanginess to them at all!

I still need to thin my carrots and check on my onions, obviously my husband hasn’t done this as he isn’t sure what he needs to do so I will try and do that one evening this week as the nasty carrot fly is back and I don’t want it attracted to my plants even if they are in containers and off ground level I don’t think I can be too careful.

Indoors: The sweet basil and flat parsley in the living room are taking over the world by the looks of things, they are huge! I will be trimming some into sandwich bags for relatives that live close by to use in their cooking and may even freeze some as well. It doesn’t help that although I use these herbs directly from the plant when cooking my husband seems scared that if he takes the leaves off any of the plants, he will kill the plant and so he insists on using dried herbs instead.

My sweet banana pepper plant now has two green peppers on it, both about three inches long, they both still have the flower on the bottom so I know I still have to wait a while but I can’t wait to watch them change colour to yellow so they are ready to pick and use in my cooking. I also have other pepper plants that need re-potting to give them room enough to finish growing and also to fruit.

My rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, apple mint, basil, parsley, sweet basil, flat parsley and lavender are all doing very well. In fact I am thinking of getting one large planter that I can re-pot them all into, even the apple mint can go in as long as it is in its own smaller pot that doesn’t allow the roots to take over. Overall, I am very pleased with my first years progress to date!

Okay so I’ve gone to less posts, this is due to a couple of reasons, the first is that the majority of the plants just need feeding once/twice a week and keeping an eye out for crawlies that eat them and the second is because I have been in hospital for over 10 days and have only had my other half’s word that they were all okay. Here follows my update for the end of July.

So with my back being quite bad still since the operation I’ve not been able to do all that much. I have been trying to take note of how well plants have been doing when I’ve stumbled past them with my zimmer frame but other than that I haven’t really been able to do that much so that my husband has been watering and feeding them all to my schedule; without him, all my plants would be dead. He has also removed all the brown leaves off the strawberry plant and swapped it around with the tomato plant which was massively over-shadowing it as it has grown so tall.

Yesterday I had a little bit of energy that could be down to the good news I have had off the doctor, or the fact that he has increased the dosage of one of my tablets. It might just be that I’ve been allowed a bath after 15 days and have been able to do all of my normal grooming things that make me feel human. Whatever it was that gave me the boost, I decided to use it to do all the necessary bits and pieces that I knew needed doing with my container vegetables.

First thing was first – the easiest for me to do as I could do it standing due to where the broad beans and runner beans are positioned I was able to pick off all the ones that were fully grown and put them into an airtight container to keep them fresh while the last few develop. I’m pleased that I have even got any broad beans or runner beans after the accident where they fell off the side due to the strong winds while we were away and broke a lot of the stems, killing them off. Once I had done that I went and sat down at the table in my comfy seat and my husband was kind enough to carry the pots I asked for to me so I could do the necessary things with them. The first one was my carrots with which I had also planted a Romano sweet pepper in with them, note to self and any one reading this for advice – other than chives and onions to keep away carrot fly, don’t try and plant anything else with carrots as they steal all the nutrients. So the carrots came in minus the sweet pepper and they needed thinning, which they had done for a while, but these carrots are the sort that are small and round rather than long and thin, unfortunately I didn’t make a note of the name of the seeds I used which was rather stupid of me as I would have liked to try them again next year in a much larger pot with more packets of seeds. I pulled out all of the fully grown carrots and spaced out the ones still growing and my husband took them back outside. Next came the long pot that was supposed to have lettuce in, the pot was bare apart from the compost, I emptied it and put new soil in before transplanting 3 pepper plants that have been in a tiny little pot on the windowsill, they have needed doing for a while but I was unable to. Hopefully now they have more space they will continue to grow and we will get some more peppers as at the moment my Sweet Banana Pepper is still green (both of them) although with regular feeding they are still getting bigger and my chart says they should be ready 18 weeks after planting and they were planted the first week in May so I should still have a few weeks to wait as yet. I then emptied the couple of windowsill plants that had died due to not being re-potted and my peas that had died due to over watering by the rain and my husband hadn’t known to bring them inside. Unfortunately the room I was in in the hospital had no windows so I didn’t know what the weather was like unless someone told me and I wasn’t able to tell him to bring them in either… Never mind, there is always next year. This year has proved quite good for me as I have had some fruit off most of the things I have planted and it is only my first year and first try. Maybe next year will show different results. Once I had emptied the pots I re-potted my basil into a bigger pot as it seems to be growing as tall as the pepper and then I re-potted my Lavender so it has more space to grow and more soil to get nutrients and water from as it was in a tiny pot on my bathroom windowsill. Granted it has gone back into the bathroom as I love the smell and find it really relaxing.

I also checked on my two new(ish) tomato plants of the Totem variety. Totem is a very apt name as they have grown really well and are now around two feet tall each, even though they are sharing a pot and they are baring the biggest tomatoes I have seen for ages, but they are still green and waiting to ripen. I also checked on my sweet corn which has also had another growing spurt, according to my guides the plants should start to fruit soon and then I should be able to harvest soon after. I am going to ask my husband to start feeding them twice a week instead of once. I am also going to ask him to do this with my red onions and new carrots that are just starting to come through outside so hopefully I will have a crop sooner than expected with them. I have also noticed that all my herbs are going crazy; my husband has started using them in his cooking but I think we are going to have to freeze some of them for us and also freeze some for parents and grandparents to use in their cooking, it seems a shame to have to throw them away or let them die so I will find the best way of preserving them over the winter.

So there you have it, that it where I am up to at the moment. Hopefully next time I write I will have been able to try the new tomatoes that have yet to ripen or be able to see the fruit on the sweet corn plants. As always good luck with your own gardening and I hope I have been a help.


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