Tag Archives: growing rhubarb in containers

Piglet’s Plot in May

This year I’m keeping a photographic diary of my humble vegetable garden; what’s growing when, where and how well.

Raised vegetable area May 2013

Raised vegetable area May 2013

Despite being away for nearly two weeks I’m pleased to say my friends did a sterling job looking after all my fruit and vegetables.
Everything was just as I’d left it(alive), but almost twice the size!

My first onion crop!

My first onion crop!

The onions planted at the end of November are now ready. I’m not sure if I should lift them now, or wait until the green stems die down. Anyone grow onions?

French Beans

French Beans

The Contender French beans, planted from seed on the 13th of March, finally yielded a small feed of beans.

Red Cabbage
I am, dare I say, winning the battle against the snails, and I still have four red cabbage, albeit quite small.
Galega
The stalks on these cabbages are at at least 3′ tall now. Amazing. I have loads of fresh cabbage leaves on cut-and-cum again.
The English spinach I planted last month are not thriving at all. I doubt I will try this variety again.

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers

This year has been the the most successful yet for growing fruit and vegetables in containers. I think the secret is definitely adding a little rotted manure with the soil, and feeding the plants regularly with MiracleGro.

Strawberries

Strawberries growing in pot

Strawberries growing in pot

I now have seven containers of strawberry plants and a regular supply of delicious monster strawberries.

Last month I posted

Mystery Plant

Mystery Plant

The cucumber plants in this pot fell victim to a snail raid at the dead of night. Then about a week later, three seedlings appeared from nowhere. I called them a gift from God, because was I cursing those wretched snails. I don’t know what these are – maybe melons?

Container Grown Squash

Container grown Squash

Well, the melons turned out to be squash and are growing like weeds! There are several small squash which hopefully I will not fall victim to the dreaded blossom end rot.

Growing rhubarb in pots

Growing rhubarb in pots

I returned from France to find my Rhubarb had doubled in size!

Growing tomatoes in Pots

Growing tomatoes in Pots

The cherry tomato, planted in February, is now beginning to yield fruit. Still green, but at least it’s a start!

GGrowing aubergines in Pots

Growing aubergines in Pots

The aubergine planted in February is thriving well. It’s twin, planted at the same time but in the raised vegetable area has hardly grown by comparison. (I forgot to photograph)

Fruit Trees and Bushes in Pots

Tayberry growing in pot

Tayberry growing in pot

I’m really pleased the tayberry bush has adapted to living in a pot. There are lots of flowers; hope these equal lots of fruit!

What else am I growing in pots?
Yellow and red peppers
Cucumber
Blackberries
Raspberries
Groshelhos (Not sure what these are yet) look like a red gooseberry on the card
3  peach trees
Lime tree
Physalis
Blueberry
And a partridge in a pear tree…

FRUIT TREES

Fig Trees

Fig Trees

I now have a black and a green fig tree. The larger of the two is the green fig and was purchased in March from the local market. Both seem to be doing well. If they can survive the summer they will probably live.

Orange Tree
The orange tree is doing well and the blossom has now been replaced by tiny oranges.
Nespra Tree (Medlar)
Much to my surprise this was still yielding fruit when we returned from France. Which reminds me I’ve not posted my Nespra and Onion chutney recipe yet.

Weather

Cold and wet interspersed with sunny days. Temperatures ranged from 7C at night to 20C plus during the day.

Piglet’s Plot in March

This year I plan to photograph and record what’s growing in my humble vegetable garden on the 19th of each month. This will give me a better idea of what’s growing when, and how well. Hopefully, it will act as a record for next year and I can learn from my successes and failures.

Vegetable Area 19/03/13

Vegetable Area 19/03/13

Piglet's Vegetable Area 19/03/13

Vegetable Area 19/03/13

The Portuguese cabbages (Couve Galega) which I use to make Caldo Verde Soup are now over 2′ tall. I love the way they grow skywards – a great space-saving crop for a small plot.

Couve Galega (Portuguese Cabbage)

Couve Galega (Portuguese Cabbage)

My favas (broad beans) planted from seed on the 24/10/2012 are now over 2’6″ tall. In fact I’ve pinched the tops out of some of them so their energy goes into the beans and not into leaves, stalks and even more flowers. There are loads of pods and we will be eating our first feed of beans this coming week.

Favas - Broad Beans

Favas – Broad Beans

Echalotes (shallots) – I had not planned on growing shallots until a chance meeting at the supermarket with an old gardening buddy changed my mind. Clutching a bag of shallots (they are not readily available here) he asked me if I grew them. When he discovered I’d never even tried, he selected a bag from the shelf and explained you grew shallots the same way as garlic ie you plant one clove and it multiplies. I nodded enthusiastically thinking errr but I’ve never been successful growing garlic. His wife, bored with the shallot and garlic discussion dragged him away to continue shopping.

Clutching the bag of shallots I was about to return them to the shelf when he reappeared. Apparently I had to soak them overnight before planting.

I bought the shallots, which he assured me had not been “treated”, returned home and duly left them soaking in a tray of water until the following day. Mr. Piglet perplexed that I was soaking the bulbs, told me they would rot. I relayed the instructions I’d been given to which Mr. Piglet retorted. “If he’d had told you to stick your head in gas oven…blah blah blah…” (I ceased listening) but then thought, maybe he had a point and wished I’d only soaked half of them. Does you soak onion or clove bulbs before planting?

Echalotes - Shallots

Echalotes – Shallots

Do you like my recycled freezer draws? I rescued these to reuse as clochés. They are now protecting my french beans planted on the 13/03/13.

Freezer drawers recycled as clochés

Freezer drawers recycled as clochés

We went to the market on Monday and I bought four more cherry tomato plants and two red pepper plants. The stall holder has long ceased trying to sell me a dozen of anything and just smiles at my requests. Perhaps I will bake him a cake for his kindness.

Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Plugs

Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Plugs

VEGETABLE EXPERIMENT POT OR PLOT?

This year due to limited growing space I decided to try something new and see which plants adapt well to growing in containers. Although I grew some veg in containers last year, with varying degrees of success, the plan this year is that when I plant for example peppers, cucumbers or aubergines in my raised garden, I will plant a sample one in a pot at the same time. This will enable me to make a direct comparison.

Aubergines (Beringela)
Studying the photographs from February the Aubergines have hardly grown in a month. However, the aubergine in the pot does look slightly healthier and even has a solitary bud.

Aubergine Experiment 19/03/13

Aubergine Experiment 19/03/13

Cucumber (pepino)
The cucumbers are a non-starter. The baby plugs in the pot were unfortunately eaten by slugs while we were away in France while the one in the ground and clinging to life by its fingernails looks like it is at death’s door. On a positive note,  several seedlings (parentage unknown) have appeared in the pot as if by magic; they are either melons, cucumbers or the dreaded zucchini!

Cucumber Experiment 19/03/13

Cucumber Experiment 19/03/13

Green Peppers (Capsicums)
The green peppers are also not faring well regardless of location. One was eaten by slugs and the remaining two, pictured below, are turning yellow. I’m not sure if this is because the compost was to strong for seedlings? Maybe but it was certainly not lack of nutrients.

Green Pepper (Capsicum) Experiment  19/03/13

Green Pepper ( Capsicum) Experiment 19/03/13

GROWING VEGETABLES IN POTS AND RECYCLED CONTAINERS

Cherry Tomatoes  (tomate cereja)
I bought this cherry tomato plant from the market as a more established plant  in February. I actually asked the guy for a tomate cerveja (beer) rather than a tomate cereja (cherry). Easily confused, there’s only one letter difference! At least my mistake made him laugh and he corrected me! Considering the cold nights, gales and lashings of rain it has survived well. The Plum tomato planted at the same time fell victim to blight as did all the other seedlings a friend gave me. All had to be quickly disposed of before it spread.

Cherry Tomato in Pot

Cherry Tomato in Pot

Baby Leaf Salad
I only planted the baby leaf salad  seeds on the 13/03, watered and then covered with clear plastic to assist germination. When I lifted the plastic sheet to take a photograph just six days later I was astounded to find the seeds had already germinated. That or I’m growing a healthy crop of weeds! The container is a  recycled the washing-up bowl with a crack in the bottom. Useless a bowl but a perfect container for growing salad.

Growing Baby Leaf Salad in Pots - Ensalada Asiatica

Growing Baby Leaf Salad in Pots – Ensalada Asiatica

GROWING FRUIT TREES, AND FRUIT BUSHES IN POTS

Rhubarb
Last month there was no sign of life and I thought my rhubarb had finally died. But no, I added my home-made rhubarb forcer (a flower pot which Mr. Piglet burnt a hole in the bottom) and another pot inserted inside the large hole to cut out the light. And we have the first shoots of rhubarb.

Rhubarb growing in a pot

Rhubarb growing in a pot

Growing Fruit Bushes in Pots
Last year Mr. Piglet made me a frame from some recycled posts and wire for my tayberry and blackberry plants. I now keep all my fruit bushes and little fruit trees in this area, which is well protected from the winds and in full sun. I now have a lime tree, two peach trees, five raspberry canes, a groselha (think this is a redcurrant bush), physalis and of course several containers full of strawberries

Growing Fruit Bushes and Trees in Pots

Growing Fruit Bushes and Trees in Pots

Fruit Trees

Lime Tree
The lime tree is producing new leaves but is stll plagued by citrus leaf miner.
Peach Trees
My two baby peach trees which I am growing in pots continue to do well. Next month we will be making a graft from the original tree to encourage them to fruit.

Trees in the Garden

Peach Tree (árvore pêssego)
We went to the market last Monday and I could not resist buying this darling little peach tree. I asked the stall-holder, in my best Portuguese, if the tree would have fruit next year. He looked at me in surprise, pointed to the blossom and indicated I would have fruit this year! I’m  a little dubious, but then blossom does turn to fruit. I then asked him if I could plant it in a pot (vaso) and he vigorously nodded his head in agreement. However, I have the feeling if I’d asked him if I could plant it in the toilet or on the moon he would probably have said yes!

He kept telling me the variety was Muito Bom (very good) so as it was only €6 bought it. My other peach trees are a long way from bearing fruit as they were grown from a stone – so what did I have to lose?

Peach Tree

Peach Tree

Fig Tree
Last year I planted this fig tree in a large pot. However, after research on Google revealed its aggressive root system did not lend itself to planting in containers I transplanted directly in the ground. Shortly afterwards it lost all its leaves so I figured it was dead. However just before we went to France, at the end of February, I noticed much to my surprise there were a few tiny figs and new leaf shoots. I was overjoyed until looking out of the window I noticed a pair of green finches pecking away at my little tree! I immediately decorated the tree with strips of silver paper and bottle tops hanging from string.

Fig Tree

Fig Tree

Nespera Tree
We have a good crop of nesperas this year. Never ate these in England – what do you make from them?

Nespera Tree

Nespera Tree

Orange Tree
The orange tree is JUST producing an abundance of tiny new leaves. Hopefully it will blossom and have fruit this year!

Vegetable plants for sale at the markets in March
Aubergines, green AND red peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, melon cabbages, lettuce, onions (they look like chives), broccoli, cauliflower, runner beans, spinach, strawberry plants, fruit trees and bushes.

WHAT’S GROWING WHERE?

Plan of my Vegetable area

Plan of my Vegetable area

Weather in March
The weather has been very similar to February except we awoke one morning to discover a rare event – frost on the car! Fortunately it was not a ground frost and none of my plants were affected! We’ve also had more rain than sun (or so it seems). Temperatures at night range from 3C (except the one day we had frost) to 15C, and during the day from 12C to 20C

Related posts
Piglet’s Plot in February
Category Archives: Growing fruit and vegetables in Pots
Category Archives: Growing Fruit, Veg and Herbs

Telling Porkies

When my son and fiancée moved to their new home in the UK they inherited a neglected, but nevertheless healthy rhubarb plant which had masses of thick juicy stalks. I was green with envy as the plant was growing in a small container and I’d desperately tried for years to grow rhubarb in containers, with little success.

Healthy rhubarb growing in a small container

Healthy rhubarb growing in a small container

Thinking of my ailing rhubarb plant in Portugal I jealously stared at it in disbelief; it defied EVERYTHING I’d been advised about growing rhubarb in containers – the container was too small, the soil was of poor quality and dry as a bone!

My sickly rhubarb in Portugal

My sickly rhubarb in Portugal

Why did this neglected plant look so healthy and my loved and nurtured plant, so sickly?

Healthy thick stalks of rhubarb!

Healthy thick stalks of rhubarb!

Six months later, while celebrating our grandson’s first birthday, I reminded our son he’d promised to cook me a rhubarb crumble.

True to his word he duly picked a bowl full of thick healthy rhubarb stalks and I left him in the kitchen to prepare the desert.

Rhubarb stalks ready for cooking

Rhubarb stalks ready for cooking

I asked him to take some photos once cooked, so I could share the recipe of his delicious creation on my blog. However, when I later questioned him in detail about the recipe he began to squirm, prevaricate and then admitted he’d cheated by using a prepacked crumble mix.

Cheats Rhubarb Crumble

Cheats Rhubarb Crumble

Prepacked crumble mix!

All the time we were eating he must have dreaded the moment of truth. He’d been telling his Mum *porkies.
*(Porkies is a version of cockney rhyming slang: Pork pies which rhymes with lies).

Please can someone share an easy crumble recipe so my son does not have to cheat…

Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots – June

My monthly garden diary continues with my ongoing attempts to grow fruit and vegetables in pots and various containers.  After various gardening disasters in May I learned some valuable lessons such as a basic understanding of soil nutrients, watering (under and over) and the size of the pots I should be using to name a few!

Growing Peppers in pots

Bell red peppers

Bell red peppers growing in containers

The red bell pepper plug plants planted in March are just beginning to ripen but, the orange peppers are still green. It’s a shame the pots I used are too small (8inch) as further research revealed containers should be at least 12” wide and deep for dwarf varieties and 16” diameter or larger for regular to large. Not speaking Portuguese I’m not sure which variety I bought – I’m just relieved they turned out to be be bell peppers not chilli peppers! So another lesson learned for my next crop. “Forewarned is forearmed” as they say, so I’m prepared for the worse should I not reap a good crop from each plant. I expect the leaves will probably start to yellow and…no doubt, I will have other problems as well. But at least I’ll know why! I feed the plants weekly with miracle grow at the moment and since doing so the leaves have turned from yellow back to green.

Tip also worth noting: Do NOT let the plants dry out or allow to stand in water.

Growing potatoes in pots

Growing potatoes in containers

Growing potatoes in containers – planted 23/06/12

I happened to mention to a friend (as you do) that I fancied growing potatoes in pots. Her hubby’s attempt had proved successful and they’d generously given me some of their surplus potatoes, which were delicious! Next thing I knew she was on the phone not only offering me 4 seed potoatoes, but also the loan of 4 pots to go with them. Before I could procrastinate further they were delivered to my door. I planted them immediately.

I put a layer of gravel in the bottom of each pot followed by a few inches of soil, then the chitted potoato, which I covered with about 6 inches of compost. Apparently, potatoes grow from the fresh stems so you must keep the soil topped up as the foliage grows.

I’m told they take about 12 weeks to grow?

Growing tomatoes in pots

Cherry tomato plant growing in pot 30/06/12

Cherry tomato plant growing in pot 30/06/12

After my previous tomato disasters in May see How did I kill my tomato plants? I bought and was also given a selection of tomato plants to start again. This time I planted the tomatoes in larger pots, and changed the compost and fertilizer.

The turning point came when a friend kindly gave me some MiracleGro plant food to try, and my vegetables are now doing well. There is a downside, however – I can’t buy this product in Portugal and as far as I know, I can’t order online!

Growing cucumbers in pots

Cucumbers grow well in pots

Cucumbers grow well in pots

My three cucumber plants continue to grow well and yield about two cucumbers a week. Next year I may attempt to make a frame so they can grow upwards rather than trail along the ground.

Growing strawberries in containers

A feast of strawberries

A feast of strawberries

My strawberry plants continue to give me a daily dish of mouth-watering strawberries. Forget the “forced” tasteless strawberries grown in Spain that seem to grace the supermarket shelves here in Portugal, everyone should try and grow their own! You can grow strawberries in a variety of containers from crates to plastic boxes in fact any containers you can lay your hands on. Just make sure you give them adequate drainage and good soil!

White mold growing on base of strawberry plants

White mold growing on base of strawberry plants

I inspect my strawberry plants regularly for any signs of pests and diseases. This week I noticed some of the leaves were going brown and closer inspection revealed the dreaded white mold on the base of some of the plants. I removed all the plants and disposed of those with white mold. The remaining plants I repotted in new soil and individual pots, away from the main crop. The container sterilised and recycled is now used for a baby leaf crop (lettuce).

Growing Rhubarb in Pots

Growing Rhubarb in a container

Growing Rhubarb in a container

This year, dare I say, the rhubarb growing in a large container is doing well. However, I’ve started to feed with MiracleGro on a weekly basis and it has responded well. Fingers crossed!

My Rhubarb in April

My Rhubarb in April

Looking at the picture above (April 2012), it’s amazing how much the rhubarb has grown.I’d only left it in the pot to overwinter as I was unable to find a suitable place in my garden to plant it.

Growing Fruit trees in pots

Growing fig trees in pots

Fig tree in pot - planted 4/6/12

Fig tree in pot – planted 4/6/12

I’ve made many attempt to grow fig trees directly in the ground without success. What makes my failure so frustrating is that the pigging things grow wild along the road side and in the middle of nowhere. I read or was it someone told me I should try one in a pot – so here goes. This is a black fig and planted in worm pooh earth. It came with six figs, lost two and is now growing another.

Growing Peach trees in pots

Peach tree grown from a stone!

Peach tree grown from a stone!

I was given a little peach tree (sapling) last year which had seeded from a stone thrown onto a friend’s compost heap. I repotted the little fellow in the spring into a larger pot and it’s now growing like a weed. Apparently it is an American variety of peach tree which is disease resistant. Good, poor little thing it needs some luck on its side living on Piglet’s plot!

One day it should look like this!

One day it should look like this!

Once I’ve repotted in a far larger pot a friend is going to show me how to graft a cutting from the original tree (see above). Watch this space!

Growing Lime Trees in Pots

Lime tree in pot

Lime tree in pot

Gasping for life and especially winter sunshine I made the executive decision to dig up this baby lime tree and rehome in a pot. It will now enjoy all year sunshine in a sheltered location. And, it will not have to compete with the invasive hedge roots!

GROWING LEMON TREES IN POTS

Lemons at last!

Lemons at last!

My lemon tree is doing well and this year has produced an abundance of lemons. The only problem being half the tree has died off and it is now rather uneven.

Lemon tree in pot

Lemon tree in pot

***********

Other Fruit, herbs and vegetables I’m growing in pots
Basil
Sage
Lemon grass
Mint
Savoury
Bay
Piri Piri
Chilli peppers
Lettuce

Related posts
Garden Diary: Container Gardening – Cochonilhas or Mealybugs?
How did I kill my tomato plants?
Global Warming and Zucchini
Growing fruit and vegetable in December

Please don’t forget if you have any suggestions on growing fruit and veg in pots or would like to share your experience, please share in comments below!