It’s the end of May of my first springtime as a gardener. Well… I say “a gardener”. I have major impostor syndrome when it comes to it, because I really have no idea what I’m doing and am winging it all the way. Having said that, I’ve planted seeds, they’ve grown into little plants and are still alive. I guess that makes me at least a bit of a gardener.
Apparently, a common mistake of newbie gardeners is to plant too much. *raises hand* Yep, sounds about right. We’ve got… a lot planted, and so far, much to my surprise, most is still alive.
We’ve replaced our old greenhouse, which was made of rotten wood and brittle glass, and held together with paint and wishful thinking. The new greenhouse is gorgeous, feels much sturdier and safer, and has loads of planting and storage space.
Planted in the greenhouse
Inside the greenhouse, about 2/3 of the ground is concrete and the other 1/3 is a planting bed. This is where I’ve put six tomato plants and five peppers. This leaves three gaps for two “Mini Munch” cucumber plants and one “Gherkin” cucumber plant once these have grown beyond tiny seedlings (once I bring back the chilli plant on the left back inside the house).
Each plant has its own grow pot, so they can be watered through the outer ring to get straight to the roots, hopefully giving me the best chance of not-totally-killing-them.
The tomatoes are San Marzano, Orange Berry, Ildi, Cour di Bue, Red Pear and Tigerella and will be deeeelicious when they’re ready. The hot peppers are Jalapeño, Fresno, Sweet Banana and Red Cherry, and the sweet pepper is Rubens.
A few more tomatoes and one Purple Beauty pepper are in grow bags against the side wall.
There are still quite a few small seedlings living in the greenhouse, but they’ll get booted to the great outdoors as soon as they’re big enough. I’m particularly looking forward to the aubergines being ready to transplant into patio pots.
As of today, here’s what lives outside:
First, courgettes; Planted outside today, we’ve got 10 plants in 6 varieties; Soleil (yellow long ones), Black beauty (dark green long ones), Patty pan (Small light green roundish ones), De Nice a fruit rond (pale geen ball shaped), Yellow scallop (yellow small round) and Lebanese (pale green long ones). Alongside them is also a single marrow, Mrs Marrow, who will become the resident alcoholic. Her future lies in making marrow rum.
A few troughs of herbs serve as windbreaker, containing oregano, sage, orange thyme, apple mint, Corsican mint and horseradish.
More of the same tomatoes and peppers reside outside, to allow me to compare how they grow outside vs inside the greenhouse; San Marzano, Ildi, Orange Berry and Tigerella outside, along with two more Jalapeños and one Sweet Banana.
We’ve built a frame for peas and beans, which has runner beans, french beans and mangetout peas climbing happily along (though there seem to have been some recent slug visits that need to be seen to). At the end of this raised bed are some Calendula flowers, as they apparently are good companion plants to just about everything.
In the same large concrete bed, there are carrots, swiss chard, Sturon onions, garlic and elephant garlic. Wait until you see the size of the heads of elephant garlic!
Beyond these beds is the raspberry jungle that continues to grow, with loads of fruit forming and juuust starting to blush. They’ll probably be ripe by mid-June, so to make sure the birds don’t eat them all before we do, I’ve started building a makeshift frame. (I’ve made more progress since this photo, but it chronically starts raining every time I go back out to add another bit of netting so it’s not quite done!)
The back raised bed has two types of beetroots (Boltardy and Cardeal), two types of cabbages that don’t seem to have started coming up yet (Attraction green cabbage and Kalibos red cabbage) and some cauliflowers that also haven’t come up yet.
There’s also Andrew’s much-awaited sweetcorn still growing well and about 2ft tall now. In the hope of staggering the harvest, I’ve planted them at different times in seedling pots, but I’m worried now that batch #3, which was planted directly into the soil, won’t come up. Oh well, it’ll still be about 13 plants worth of sweetcorn, which ain’t too bad.
The potatoes are starting to look good, with the earlies promising to be ready in late June or so.
The garden gnomes are protecting the gooseberry bushes.
And the flowers are popping up everywhere in the rest of the garden, along with unidentified weeds I no doubt need to tackle (once I figure out what’s good and bad!)
As you can see, it’s a perfectly sensible (ahem…) selection of plants for a first-year gardener… right? 😉