A new week, another Six on Saturday and a great opportunity to connect with fellow gardeners. The temperatures have dropped significantly over the last week with a low of 6c at night. Daytime temperatures range from 13C to 19C but at least the rain has stopped for now which means my cacti and succulents have the opportunity to dry out.
This week I’ve decided to focus on my neglected vegetable garden (although I could not resist taking some hibiscus cuttings).
1. Growing Physalis – will they survive?
This week I found a dish of Physalis on the tool shelf in the garage. I don’t know when I picked them or why they are there -scary! I probably got waylaid en route back to the house. They are rather shriveled so my guess is that they have been there some time. Still, a lucky find as hopefully I will get some new plants at some point (or not).
They normally self-seed and grow where they fall so, apart from the cover to stop the birds and other critters stealing them, I’ve tried to replicate their normal growing conditions.
2. Taking Hibiscus Cuttings – Plants for Free!
I organise a local garden group via Facebook to exchange ideas. However, this month we decided to take it to the next level and arranged our first meet-up and tour of a member’s garden to discuss their successes and failures. It was an interesting morning and I learned some new tricks. While I was there I spotted a beautiful pink hibiscus and managed to scrounge some cuttings. They were woodier than the ones I normally strike so we will see if my usual method of propagating hibiscus is successful. Fingers crossed.
Another win from the meet-up was some fuchsia cuttings. I’ve not tried to propagate fuschia before so I used the same method as above.
3. Raised Vegetable Garden – So much to do!
My vegetable area desperately needs some serious TLC.
The brussels are growing well but the plants I bought and nurtured as broccoli, have morphed into a galega cabbage (or so I’ve been informed). As we won’t eat them I will dig them up turn them back into the soil.
The rocket (bottom of photo) is now past its best and tastes bitter. This needs to be removed and new stock planted. It’s only been allowed to survive this long because its yellow flowers attract the bees.
The whole area needs turning and top dressing with organic fertilizer. I am also debating whether I should add some wood ash. Would it be beneficial – I’m not sure?
Raised vegetable area – 29th November
4. Red Cabbage
I never intended to grow red cabbage but there you go. I went to the market to buy red onions and came away with red cabbage.
I have only planted eight of the fifteen baby plants (now potted up in the nursery) and if they survive the first month I will donate the rest to our gardening group.
I am plagued with slugs and snails at the moment so yes, I have scattered some slug pellets around the plants to give them a fighting chance. Why the crates? The crates are to prevent curious birds eating the pellets or dead slugs. However, last time I used slug pellets the ants stole them which made me laugh as I saw these blue spots dancing along my garden path. An no, it was not even Gin and Tonic time.
5. Brussel Sprouts in Portugal …
Are almost like hens’ teeth. While UK supermarkets stock mountains of brussels sprouts, brussels are not readily available in Portugal. I don’t know why because cabbage seems to be very popular to the point there is even a cabbage soup called Calde do Verde. If you are lucky enough to locate brussels sprouts they tend to be very expensive
Anyways, you can imagine my delight and surprise when I discovered so plugs at a local market back in August. I quizzed the stall holder in my best Portuguese to ensure couve de Bruxelas as labeled were indeed sprouts and after some arm waving and mime I was satisfied and purchased six plants to try. Considering the plants were only about two inches tall when I bought them, I was rather dubious that we would have brussels for Christmas. Providing the snails or caterpillars don’t eat them in the interim period, we should be in luck!
6. Herb Garden – Work in Progress
A job for the coming weeks is to reassess and reorganize my herb garden. I don’t use a few of the herbs, so why grow them’
Many of the plants are tired or a jumbled mess, while others, like the lemongrass and a miscellaneous lemon scented leaf shrub which I’ve never used, need to be removed.
The lemongrass has since been divided into several pots and most rehomed. I’ve never used it so why let it take up valuable space?
As for the jumbled mess, how do people train a herb to grow neatly in its designated space? I even put rocks round each herb and they still escaped!
That’s my six for last week and a lot of work for weeks to come
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