Piglet’s Plot in February

This year I plan to photograph the plants 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.

Raised vegetable garden 190213
Raised vegetable garden 190213

The broad beans (or favas as they are called in Portugal) planted from seed on the 24th October are growing well. The favas flowers are now forming into tiny bean pods – but only just!. I bought the loose seeds from our local hardware-come-garden shop for just 30cents – a bargain. If I’d bought in the bean seeds in posh packets they would have cost me three euros plus!

Favas (Broad beans)
Favas (Broad beans)

The baby broccoli and cauliflowers planted in December are almost ready to pick.  For some reason the broccoli heads never grow very big before running to seed. Any suggestions please?

Broccoli 19/02/13
Broccoli 19/02/13
Cauliflower 19/02/13
Cauliflower 19/02/13

And here’s the next batch planted on the 21st January

Baby cauliflowers and broccoli planted in January
Baby cauliflowers and broccoli planted in January

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. Yes Mr. Piglet, I know it seems my time could be better employed, but sometimes I get bored and need a challenge!

The green peppers, aubergines and cucumbers below are my first guinea pigs! All purchased as seed plugs from our local markets.

Green Pepper Experiment 19/02/13
Green Pepper Experiment 19/02/13
Aubergine Experiment 19/02/13
Aubergine Experiment 19/02/13
Cucumber experiment
Cucumber experiment

Last year the tomato plants grew so well in the raised garden bed  the area resembled a “tomato plant jungle”. After the disastrous start to the season when I killed most of my container grown tomato plants due to over-watering, this year I need to be more careful and learn from my mistakes.

I’m not sure how well plum tomatoes grow in pots; they probably grow too tall – we will see.

Plum Tomato plant in pot
Plum Tomato plant in pot

My main focus this year will be growing cherry tomatoes because not only are they expensive in the shops here in Portugal my little granddaughter loves them. Last summer one of her favourite activities was to lead me to the vegetable garden and pick cherry tomatoes. When we were in the house she kept asking for “a-baul-li-air” and we could not understand what she wanted. This is not a French word, nor Franglish so we were all puzzled. Enlightenment dawned recently when she saw a picture of a tomato in a book, pointed and then excitedly exclaimed “a-baul-li-air“! So lots of cherry tomatoes this year for her next visit are a must!

Cherry tomato plant in pot
Cherry tomato plant in pot

GROWING FRUIT TREES IN POTS

This peach tree grown from a stone was donated by a friend a couple of years ago. It is now about three years old. To encourage it to fruit we are going to take a cutting from his fruiting peach tree and graft to mine (watch this space).

Peach tree in pot
Peach tree in pot

My lime tree continues to battle on. I’ve now transplanted from the ground to a largish pot because once again the root system was competing with a mature hedge. New shoots are appearing but the poor tree is still plagued by the citrus leaf miner which I can’t seem to eradicate. My solitary orange tree is also affected.

Lime Tree growing in pot
Lime Tree growing in pot

GROWING FRUIT, AND FRUIT BUSHES IN POTS

These dead looking sticks are raspberry canes. I have three in the ground, planted last autumn, and five in pots. I will plant three of these in the ground and then repot the other two in giant containers.

raspberry canes
raspberry canes

Mr. Piglet built me a frame to train the tayberry and blackberries against. Unfortunately, I’m unable to plant these directly in the ground due to the proximity of the Melaleuca hedge.

Tayberry bush growing in pot
Tayberry bush growing in pot

Physalis growing in a pot
Physalis growing in a pot

Finally we have the strawberries!

The strawberries continued to produce a small about of fruit throughout the winter. I thought the strawberry runners would sap their strength how wrong I was!

Strawberries growing in a container
Strawberries growing in a container

Also, but not worth of a photograph

Rhubarb in pot: either dormant or dead!
Fig tree: dormant
Orange Tree: lots of tiny new shoots. Should I feed or wait until the blossom develops?
Medlar: Mass of blossoms turning to fruit!

Whats growing where

Plan of my Vegetable area 19/02/13
Plan of my Vegetable area 19/02/13

What vegetable plants are for sale at the markets in February?
Aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, cabbages, lettuce, onions (they look like chives), broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, spinach, strawberry plants, fruit trees and bushes, seed potatoes.

Weather
The weather in February is warm during the day, up to about 19C in this south-facing sheltered corner of my garden and at night temperatures can fall to about 5C. We do not have frosts but we do suffer with strong salt winds and high humidity. We have had plenty of rain so far so I’ve only had to water my containers on a couple of occasions.

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47 thoughts on “Piglet’s Plot in February

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  1. Wow I’m impressed! While you’re at it you should keep a record of how the weather is too. You never know how that will help you out for next year. Wish I had the time but most of all the space to do that. 😀

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  2. Hi Pip,
    You should definitely harvest that broccoli and leave the plant to see if it develops any side shoots. The secondary florets will be smaller, but just as tasty! Some varieties produce tons of side shoots, these are usually named sprouting broccoli. I always look for sprouting broccoli varieties because they will continue to produce throughout the season as long as you keep them picked. You should end up getting many times the amount of broccoli shoots as are in one main head which increases the productivity of your broccoli patch considerably.

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    1. Hi Hortophile,
      I’ve heard of sprouting broccoli, but never left mine long enough. Perhaps I should try! Unfortunately, I dont know which variety I buy. there is usually only one on sale and I’m just pleased if the end result is broccoli. This is one of the downsides of buying the plugs. This is exactly waht I miss about gardening in Portugal. My inability to converse and ask in depth questions 😦

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  3. Have really enjoyed the walk in your garden and shall return later to study your plan! Could not understand how much was happening in February, until I read your welcome weather notes. Your February should be like our July-Aug: thought we would be warmer, but it’s about 16 C max and 0-2 C min here: therein the difference! Grow all my small tomatoes in tubs – the plum ones are fine, but I put in quite a few stakes and spread them horizontally!

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    1. Hi Eha, we are fortunate with the weather because we do not love in the valley. Our friends who do have already had 21 frost this year. W are lucky in that we have our own micro climate. The diffiuclty is the wind so can’t grow runner beans or anything that gro9ws too tall. In fact, I’m suprised after the gales we had the other night my bens were still standing. Good idea re plum toms. I will need to get mr Piglet to buiild a frame to support them.

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    1. Hi Chica after reading your recipe for favas and you saying about harvesting them about now, I scanned my crop and yes there are some very tiny pods appearing . I think, fingers crossed I should have some in a few weeks. It’s nice to ahve my own odd cauli. The boc and cauli are destined for the pot this week.

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  4. I can only imagine the joy of gardening all year through. Your plants certainly reflect the time and energy you give them. I like the idea of experimenting with containers and direct planting. I look forward to seeing the comparisons as the plants grow. Happy Gardening! 🙂

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  5. Your garden looks incredible and amazing. Everything is still so brown here so it’s lovely to ‘pop over’ and see a bit of colour.
    However, you know me, I can give you no gardening advice whatsoever. I can only encourage. 😉

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  6. My husband uses these raised squares for growing small quantities of vegetables for the house. The meter squares are corded off into 9 smaller squares and then each square has something different. We don’t have any yet this year but I will take pictures when we do.

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