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.
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!
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?
And here’s the next batch planted on the 21st 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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.