It’s been a long week and as I watch the cases of COVID-19 rise across the Algarve, I’ve now accepted we are likely to remain in lockdown until the end of the summer. To help me stay focussed I have moved from panic into survival mode and have decided that instead of growing the usual bedding plants this summer, I will focus on growing salad crops making use of every square foot of our garden.
From having no rain, the plants in the raised vegetable area, pots and containers are now drowning and showing the early signs of distress. Yes, there is adequate drainage under normal conditions but the deluge of rain we have had over the last couple of days and is forecast next week, we may have a problem and need to devise a way to cover the strawberry bed and as many containers as possible.
1. Cold Frames
I am still using the cold frame to protect my newly planted seeds as we have had a couple of nights where the temperatures have dropped to single figures. The protection should also help the seeds germinate and keep the seeds safe from inquisitive birds.
Curly parsley: Planted Feb 12th have not germinated. This is the third time of trying so I can only conclude this is a bad batch of seeds.
Basil: Planted Feb 12th are poking through the soil.
Lettuce: Planted March 17th have surfaced but they look rather spindly to me.
Cabbage: Planted March 18th have yet to make an appearance.
Onions: Planted March 20th are already about an inch tall and are doing well. These should be ready to pot on in about two weeks.
Pot Marigold: Planted March 21st. I am growing these as ‘apparently’ they deter whitefly from carrots.
Seeds planted directly in containers:
Spinach and Rocket: 16th March
Radish: 21st March – two leaves already above the soil
This area is to protect seedlings in progress once they have been thinned out and potted on. Hopefully, the tomato and cucumber plants will find new homes at the front of the house. I just need to persuade my Gnome to move some pots.
2. Growing Runner beans in Pots
the experiment to grow runner beans in large tubs has mixed results. The leaves are turning yellow but the veins remain green. Apparently, this is an iron deficiency so I have fed the beans some iron granules. The other problem is the fact we have had so many heavy showers over the last couple of days the pots are waterlogged. We will see. A couple of flowers are already beginning to appear.
I planted these out on the 9th of February. I’m excited as all three plants are producing courgettes. I am just waiting for my courgette seeds to arrive.
I’ve not grown carrots for years so I am delighted with their progress so far. These were planted on the 23rd February.
5. Cherry Tomatoes
The Cherry tomatoes I bought as matured seed plugs from the market at the end of January are now starting to crop.
The mature cucumber seed plugs I purchasedat the end of January and planted out in Feb are off to a promising start. I wonder how long it will be before these baby cucumbers will be big enough to eat.
That’s it for this week, folks. To read more garden updates check out the Propagator’s blog.
On a sombre note, my heart goes out to all the garden centres and nurseries who have had to close due to the COVID-19 lockdown. I just hope they manage to survive.