Garden Diary: Let’s Focus on Vegetables and Herbs

My Six on Saturday garden diary this week focuses on vegetables and herbs. This year I’ve grown the majority of plants from seed with a mixed degree of success and failure. The ants stole most of the seeds I planted directly in the ground and the ones that did survive in the cold frame, the slugs and snails demolished. Not to be deterred I moved all the babies to my succulent and cactus display shelf out of harm’s way.

I won’t feature the potatoes growing in pots this week other than my Gnome has taken over the potato growing and we have bought several more pots. We are having a debate how deep the pots should be and he is conducting an experiment re soil, size of pots and planting times.

Challenge accepted on behalf of Gnome; The Nostalgic Gardener, N20 to join in with and Fred to grow potatoes in a container(s).


I grew these from seed which I started in individual pots then planted on into a large container and another in one of the raised beds. I have my first cucumber on this plant and more tiny promises on the the other plant. I hope I get a good crop as I like to pickle them.

F1 Lunchbox cucumbers

Pickled Cucumber

5 Cucumbers
1 Kg onions, peeled and halved
80 grams sea salt
500 ml vinegar
350 grams granulated sugar
4 or 2 tsp mustard seeds (I only use 2 tsp)
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Slice the cucumber and onions thinly, layer them in a bowl, sprinkle salt. Weigh them down with a plate and leave overnight.
Drain off the liquid, rinse well and drain in a colander.
Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, cloves and turmeric in a pan and bring slowly to boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, add cucumbers and onions and boil for 1 minute.
Transfer the cucumber and onions to a jar and reduce the liquid for 15 minutes, then divide between the jars to the top.
This will keep for several months.

Cucumbers are like buses: they all come at once. How do you preserve? Do you hve any cucumber recipes? Please share in comments below



I had high hopes for the Minbell tomatoes but before too long the baby seedlings started to show the telltale signs of what I suspected was blight.

There is always a danger with YouTube videos that a little information used in the wrong way can have disastrous results. Researching blight I found a video that showed a guy spraying his plants with diluted hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the leaves to stop the spread of disease. In for a penny in for a pound (as the saying goes) I tried and it scorched the leaves. The only thing I can think of is that I miscalculated the amount.

Tomatoes sprayed with diluted hydrogen pyroxide

Portuguese Cherry Plums (Marta)

All the seeds I saved on a paper napkin from last year germinated so I had enough tomato plants to supply the neighborhood. And indeed I did manage to rehome at least ten.

I can’t throw plants away, can you?

I planted on six plants so with the minibell that should be enough to last me a couple of months. I will plant some more seeds in the next week or so I have some babies on standby. I would like to try a few Rosa (beefsteak) tomatoes but they are problematic because of blight.

Asprin Experiment – Will asprin prevent blight?

Another experiment to prevent blight is to add a soluble aspirin in the planting hole. I bought these in the UK a couple of years ago but never tested the theory in practice. It still makes me smile when I think back to the priceless look on the sales assistance’s face at the pharmacy.

‘Have you taken these before?’ ‘….are you on any other medication?’, she asked with an expression of a squeezed lemon.

‘Nope, they are not for me they are for my tomato plants.’ I said as I smiled sweetly.

I’ve tried on one Marta tomato and one Minibell. Time will tell.

Teabag Experiment is Tea and Effective Fertilizer?

The teabags, so say, help retain moisture while releasing potassium, phosphorous or nitrogen.


Has anyone tried it? Was it effective? Any other tips?

3 Beetroot Mystery

After the ants stole all my Hallup coloured beetroot seeds I bought 10 basic beetroot seedling plugs from our local garden centre. I am mystified why the plants growing under the crate are a lot bigger than the others. I use crates to protect small plants from being uprooted by the resident blackbird and cats.

Hallahup Beetroot

The second sowing ofcoloured Halluhup beetroot seed on March 23rd is finally yielding some results. Not brilliant but a step in the right direction

Anyone else grow beetroot? I need some useful tips, please.

4. Red and Yellow Peppers

The Californian Wonderland and Corno Mix seeds planted in early February were slow to germinate and even now the baby plants are only about an inch high. At this rate we will be lucky to enjoy peppers by Christmas.

So, I did cheat and bought some established seedlings on the 25th of March which I moved to the new raised bed in April.

Red Peppers

5. Herbs Growing in Pots

Purple Sage and Chives

So far so good. Purple sage I bought from the local garden centre and the chives I grew from seed last year are thriving in pots in the vegetable area. Half sun-half shade.

Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme. Again, another purchase from the garden centre. This is my third attempt to grow lemon thyme. The last two plants I planted directly in the herb bed and they rotted and died. I think they were trying to tell me something! I only persisted because I love lemon thyme sprinkled on fresh fruit salad. Full sun. Let soil dry before watering.

E.T.A I’ve just discovered there is an ants nest in the herb bed under the thyme.

Oregano and Chives

The oregano and chives seeds planted on February 28th in bottle mini cloches are finally established. Oregano, I will move both to full sun once a little more established.


Planted Dill seeds on the 28th February in bottle cloche. Kept on shelf with only early morning sun as they are very tender. Potted on to larger pot 15th of March

Basil and Curley Parsley (Grune Perle)

Planted seeds 26th Feb in bottle cloches and seeds took about 21 days to germinate. I keep these in light shade most of day as the sun here will scorch the leaves.

I planted more basil seeds on 24th March and they are only just poking their heads through the soil. Planted another batch 17th April

Grune Perle parsley planted another batch of seeds 17th April

Although I did catch a snail about to dine on my treasured parsley. Phew!

Do you grow herbs in pots ? If so, please I’d love to hear about your success, failures and tips!

6. Courgettes

The courgettes I planted at the beginning of March are now doing well. Fingers crossed they don’t fall victim to the usual white mould and blossom end rot.

Would be interested to learn if anyone has expereince this problems and what steps you took to overcome it?

Courgette F1 Ball Mix

Courgette F1 Ball Mixed

Courgete de Milao

Courgete de Milão

That’s it for this week! It may have taken me 3 days to prepare thanks to a suspected broken mouse finger on my right hand and a phone that would not send photographs but we go there eventually . As the saying goes: The race is not won by the swift by those who keep running!

And I’m almost at the finishing line and trying to upload my featured image and I am thwarted by WordPress

Post-processing of the image failed likely because the server is busy or does not have enough resources. Uploading a smaller image may help. Suggested maximum size is 2500 pixels.

No, it was not 2500 pixels or anywhere close.

Do check out Mr P’s blog for more info about gardening.


18 thoughts on “Garden Diary: Let’s Focus on Vegetables and Herbs

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  1. I love a herb and veg focused post, v interesting! So please tell me the secret to getting your dill to grow so well, it’s a herb I love but always struggle with. Cucumber pickle recipe looks v good, will bookmark, as I only sowed cucumbers yesterday will be a while before I can try it. Good luck with the potato trials, sounds like your gnome is taking a v professional and scientific approach 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The dill is very tender so I keep out of the sun in a protected area and moist soil. I forgot to water it one day and it started to go limp. I treat it like a delicate fern variety. It is a herb, like basil, I will need to keep sowing so I always have some to use. I assume if I only cut the outside leaves it will continue to grow from the middle. We will see.

      As for potatoes, I am not sure how well they will grow through the summer but it is an experiment and we are keeping this batch well away from the tomatoes which normally end up having blight.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice summary of your vegetable garden at the moment. Concerning cucumbers, is the name of the variety ‘Lunchbox’? They seem very nice to me. I obviously have a little delay compared to you which is normal given the temperatures we had.
    I had heard about the action of asprin on plants, rather to boost them after pricking out but not against blight but who knows …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are the lunchbox variety. I’ve never grown them before so it will be interesting to see how they evolve. Further down the line, I am also going to try a variety called Tanja. What is your favourite tried and tested variety?

      We will see with asprin. I’ll post updates.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You do have a great variety of veggies and herbs. Ours don’t do as well as yours, it’s either the heat, the snails, the ants, the mice… we only manage to have parsley, oregano, lemongrass and we had a batch of mini tomatoes.
    We compost all our peels, eggshells, teabags…but we just dig a small hole near a plant and drop it there. We have been doing it for years and It has improved the soil a lot, as we just had sandy soil before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We also struggle with the heat in mid summer, especially with root vegetables. I need to find some more plastic trays to diffuse the sun. IT seems to work on the beetroot. Have you tried shading the veg?

      I used to dig holes and bury the peels etc, but the ants dug them up. I have never known ants and fruit flies as we have here. Even in our main raised bed, the imported soil is sandy…. I think the guy who built our raised bed and filled it with soil, excavated an area of the beach.


    1. Young Piglet *laughing* my body feels about 100 years old right now.

      Since COVID I’ve become rather OCD about the garden – it’s my anchor.

      I have never heard of using tea to turn hydrangea blue. I am going to try it. thanks for the tip!

      How are you and your better half??


  4. Lots of successes! To this Mainer, a miracle to see a cucumber growing this time of year. I compost all my tea. Would be interested to learn if any gardeners use the tea directly in the garden and what the results are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chiptheduck has used tea leaves on his hydrangeas, I am going to try that idea. One of my local gardening friends puts all the tea bags in a bucket and soaks then waters the potted veg. Then she opens the teabags, releases the tea and digs them into the soil same with ground eggshells. Saves and puts them in a grinder. PS I’ve learned that not all tea bags are biodegradable.

      If I lived in Maine, I’d love the snow … so it’s a compromise

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I use a lot of loose tea, but when I use teabags, I cut the tea out of the bags and throw the bags away. I like the idea of soaking used tea bags to use in potted veg. And perhaps flowers. Often times, my pots look as though they could use a little something extra.

        Liked by 1 person

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