Wow, what a fortnight it has been. A heatwave swept through the country, leaving some in a flash of thunder and lightening. Temperatures soared here in the South East to 33 degrees Celcius. On top of the high temperatures we have also experienced some very strong winds. The combination of heat and wind has kept us on our toes caring for our fledgling container garden. Settle back and enjoy Bob and Sammie’s adventures Growing Vegetables Weeks 3-4.
I apologise for not posting last weekend. What started out as a very nasty migraine, proved to be a sinus and ear infection, which I am still battling, but definitely feeling better than I was!
As you may recall I had been waiting for the wind to die down so that our Chilli plants could be planted out in the front garden.
The Chilli plants were indeed planted out at 8am one morning following a period of rain, with further rain promised. Even so, they were thoroughly watered in and seemed to be doing fine – until the heatwave hit. At midday last Tuesday it looked as though we were going to lose them. The Chill and Borage plants were completely wilting under the sun’s intensity.
Bob fetched can after can of water, which was then poured directly at the base of each plant. We could only hope and wait to see if they would recover. I think we caught them just in time, as one hour later they had perked up considerably. The front garden is South facing and the tiles beneath the front window also absorb heat from the sun. The plants in this bed now get watered three times a day. Hopefully as the heat settles and the plants really get their roots into the soil we can water less often.
The beauty of the rain followed buy the heatwave was that we got to pick and eat our first proper harvest. French Breakfast Radishes (they are so pretty) and big handfuls of Wild Rocket. These were incorporated into our salad with quiche and new potatoes and they tasted amazing.
As we are growing organically, without the use of pesticides, we do get the odd snail which we pick off, or various bugs that like to live amongst the salad leaves. To ensure they don’t end up on our dinner plates I cut the leaves with scissors, plunge them into a bowlful of cold water and the dry them in a salad spinner. If you don’t have a salad spinner, wrapping the leaves in a tea towel and swinging it in a circular motion, preferably in the garden also works – although you may attract some funny looks from your neighbours!!!
In the photo above there are Rainbow Carrots planted in a deep pot in the centre, next to my permenantly planted Chives – companion planting, to deter carrot fly with the mild smell of onion from the chives. You can also see a very pretty white flower leaning over the carrots. This is the French Breakfast Radishes that ran to seed due to the heat.
Put in very basic terms, during periods of stress, such as high temperatures or lack of water, it is not uncommon for vegetables to prematurely flower. These will then be pollinated and the plant produces seed. During the heatwave this happened not only to our radishes, but also some of our lettuces and the wild rocket. The term is called ‘bolting’ where the lettuce plant grows tall. Generally the leaves become very bitter and the plant is best removed and put on the compost heap!
Two weeks ago Bob and I sowed some Freckles lettuce seeds from Groseeds. They are growing really well in a shadier part of the garden and should be ready to cut in another fortnight’s time. In the photograph above you can also see the Gartenpearle tomatoes are in full bloom and to the upper left you can see a beautiful purple flower.
Whilst I had been unwell, Bob had been in charge of watering, our Purple Queen French Beans had been happily blooming and growing. We must be doing a good job of attracting pollinators, these beans as well as our courgettes are starting to produce vegetables. All our hard work is paying off.
It is the most thrilling feeling to have a root around your container vegetables to find mini courgettes developing and beans growing!
Our green courgettes are just starting to produce too! I have plans for a courgette salad with our first harvest.
The Wilko pots are over flowing with herbs, salad and a pretty Dahlia that is yet to bloom. The Painted Lady runner beans keep being pinched out when they reach the top of the bamboo canes and the Coriander is covered in pretty white flowers, our aim is to save the seed to use in chutney and curries.
We still have more to do. Our Roma tomato plants still haven’t been planted out, however, we have a special experiment which involves those. More on that next week.
More Rainbow Carrots, French Breakfast Radishes and Beetroot have been sown into similar polystyrene containers that were used for the courgettes. Another sowing of lettuce leaves and some spring onions – which although germinated have been swamped by their companion plants – needs to be carried out. Tarragon and Thyme both need potting on and we need to sow seeds for next year.
Bob and I were determined, from the start, that Growing Vegetables would be a fun venture. As I stopped to take the header photograph of the bee on an Echinops flower (which I grew from seed) I watched the bees buzzing to and fro amongst the Lavender and Hebe, all in full bloom. I smiled. The slow, drunk, pollen covered bees on the Echinops were in no hurry, the bees on the lavender wouldn’t keep still long enough for me to count them and butterflies were gone, fluttering on the breeze before I could capture them on camera.
Our garden is beautiful. It is my sanctuary. When I need peace it is where I belong. We never own a garden, we are simply caretakers. So remember to enjoy your garden. It is unique and will respond to tender loving care.
Actually our purple corner is in the middle of the garden, opposite the apple tree on the right (out of sight). It is a haven for bees, butterflies and all manner of beautiful creatures and insects. It is a place of quiet calm for me. I can lose hours watching the comings and goings of insect life.
Do you have a place of calm in your garden?
Bob and Sammie xx
To catch up if you have enjoyed reading Growing Vegetables Weeks 3-4 here are the earlier weeks:
Groseeds sponsored our attempt at growing vegetables in containers by providing us with seeds. All views, opinions, photography and content are my own. I (Sammie) am an amateur gardener, any advice followed is completely at your own risk. Please see my Disclosure Policy.Share