Tag Archives: container gardening

Growing Cucumbers in Pots is SO Easy!

Imagine eating your own home-grown organic cucumbers. Hmmmm… delicious!

Why not challenge yourself to grow cucumbers in pots or indeed any container which has adequate drainage. Even if you only have a small garden or sunny balcony give it a try and let me know how you get on.

I usually buy about six seedling plugs from the market or a local garden centre in March . They are really cheap  (about 25cents each) and less frustrating/wasteful than growing from seed. If the seedlings are not available in your area then packets of seeds can be purchase in garden centres, DIY shops and even supermarkets.

Growing from seed means you lose about two weeks as they take time to germinate and I’m far too impatient for that. But sometimes needs must and we go with the flow.

Cucumber seedling plugs

Cucumber seedling plugs

I then plant into small containers such as yogurt or small flower pots using multi-purpose compost.

Baby cucumber plants

Baby cucumber plants

Old plastic water bottles are up-cycled as plant cloches to protect young plants from cold winds and inclement weather until they are more hardy.

Mini cloches - Old plastic water bottles are up-cycled as plant cloches to protect the young plants from cold winds and inclement weather until they are more hardy.

Mini cloches – Old plastic water bottles are up-cycled as plant cloches to protect the young plants from cold winds and inclement weather until they are more hardy.

The reason I always buy more plants than I need is because some of the seedlings will probably be enjoyed by my pet snail ‘Sid’ and his family, and the runt of the seedlings usually die due to cold weather or just bad luck.

So out of six small plants I end up with three healthy specimens.

When the plants are a little more robust I then plant in one large container in good quality compost and some rotted manure (when available). I initially protect the plants by making plant collars from plastic water bottles

plastic collars to protect plants

plastic collars to protect plants

Once the first flowers appear I feed with liquid tomato feed available from garden centres, supermarkets or DIY stores which seem to sell everything bar toilet rolls. It seems to work well and as yet I’ve not found a more general purpose vegetable feed other than manure tea which if you are living in a confined space is probably not a good idea.

About ten weeks later your first cucumbers are ready to pick. Usually several at once!

Cucumbers grow well in pots

Cucumbers grow well in pots

I will plant my next batch of seedlings in June so these will take me through to October/November – depending on the weather.

Growing Tips:

– Feed every couple of weeks.
– Water daily
– If you let the the cucumbers grow too big the seeds become tough and bitter. I usually pick when the cucumbers are about 6 inches long.

My first crop of cucumbers - May 27th.  2017

My first crop of cucumbers – May 27th. 2017

When I have a glut of cucumbers I now pickle in vinegar with onion. They are delicious!

Pickled Cucumbers

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.

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So who is going to take up the challenge?

Growing Cucumbers in Pots

Growing cucumbers in a Pot

Growing cucumbers in a Pot

One of my many ‘container’ gardening successes is growing cucumbers in pots. Rather than plant seeds and wait weeks for them to germinate I buy the seedling plugs from local markets.
The only downside is that there are no “fancy” varieties to choose from, or perhaps I should view that as an upside because the plants they sell are hardy and more suited to the climate of the local area. If the veteran Portuguese gardeners are buying them for their hortas, then the varieties are good enough for me.

Growing cucumbers in pots

Growing cucumbers in pots

When to plant: Cucumber plants are available in the Algarve from January onwards although this year I never planted any until March and then not again until May.

Containers: I use a 12x12inch plant pots planting three plants per pot.

Soil: I use a good quality general purpose compost which I mix with sandy soil. Three parts compost to one part soil.

Feed: Once the flowers have formed I feed weekly with MiracleGro or liquid manure which I make from soaking Alpaca or horse manure.

Watering: Water daily and don’t let the soil dry out. I made that mistake and the baby cucumbers withered and died.

Related posts:

Piglet’s Plot in July

It’s now September and here’s me wittering on about my garden activities in July. I’m so far behind with this year’s “Vegetable Diary” I was almost tempted to abandon the idea. However, as I have all the notes and photographic evidence I thought it would still prove useful to other Algarve gardeners and a reminder of my successes and failures for next July.

Raised Vegetable Plot - July13

Raised Vegetable Plot – July13

I harvested the red onions in mid July,  so apart from the Galega cabbage, two white cabbage, a few lettuce and a self-seeded squash plant, which was growing, and is still growing like a triffid, the plot was empty. Rather than replant with peppers and salad I decided to plant these in pots to conserve water – extreme heat makes for thirsty vegetables!  Another point for consideration was the cost of water as it is charged by the cubic meter. Once you exceed a certain level of usage, water is almost as expensive as wine!

Red Onions

Red Onions

The red onions, I planted in December, were a great success.  This year I will plant more onions – reds because they are expensive to buy in the shops, and normal onions because we will grow enough for Mr Piglet’s pickled and spring onions.

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers

Growing squash in pots

Growing squash plants in pots

Growing squash plants in pots

The self-seed squash plants continued to thrive and much to my surprised produced a couple of squash.  I fed with liquid fertiliser once every two weeks and kept well watered.

Growing melons in pots

Melon plants can grow in containers

Melon plants can grow in containers!

Growing melons in a large pot (or in this case a plastic paint pot) was purely experimental. They adapted well, and while several flowers failed to fruit at least I had two fairly good specimens to prove it can be done. I fed the plants fortnightly with liquid MiracleGro and kept the plants well watered. I think these were planted as plugs in late May.

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

The cherry tomatoes were once again extremely successful. I did not attempt to stake the plants and instead just let them trail so they were more compact. I fed approximately every two weeks with liquid fertilizer and kept them well watered (not drowned). I tried other varieties such as beef and plum tomatoes but these needed stakes which proved difficult in pots. Next year, I, or should I say Mr Piglet, will create a trellis area so I can grow other varieties.

Cherry tomatoes grow well in pots

Cherry tomatoes grow well in pots

Aubergines growing in pots

I planted two aubergine plants  in February. One in the raised bed and the other in a pot. The latter survived while the former disappeared without trace (zombie snails)
They grow well in pots that’s Aubergines not snails, albeit a little slowly. I fed approximately every two weeks with MiracleGro liquid fertilizer.

Aubergine growing in pot

Aubergine growing in pot

Peppers grow well in pots

The orange pepper plant pictured below was planted as a seedling plug at the end of May. I also grew green peppers planted the end of February, and red peppers planted from April onwards. I staggered the planting dates to avoid a glut of peppers and the dreaded ‘feast then famine’.

Once the first flowers had set I fed approximately every two weeks with MiracleGro liquid fertilizer. I kept the soil moist but not wet.

Orange Peppers growing in pots

Orange Peppers growing in pots

Growing blackberry plants in pots

The blackberry plant continued to bear fruit but for some reason they seemed to take a long time to ripen.

Blackberries

Blackberries

As I know very little about growing blackberries I conducted some research and discovered this brilliant website: www.almanac.com

Fruit Worms
Gray Mold
Viruses

If your plant is suffering from the blackberry disease known as Raspberry Bushy Dwarf virus, the leaves will be have some bright yellow on them, and the leaves of the fruiting vanes may have a bleached look in the summer. The disease known as Blackberry Calico will cause faint yellow sublotches on the leaves of the plant.

I’ve quoted the above from the site, because as sure as God made little apples my blackberry plant is sure to get one of the above.

The website states blackberries need full sun and sandy soil. As luck would have it I can tick both of those boxes. diseases? It is early days but as they say “forewarned is forearmed”.

What else grew in Piglet’s plot during July?

Strawberries, cucumbers and rocket. The orange tree still had two oranges which should be ready  by Christmas. The lime tree had one lime, the fig trees had no leaves and there was a partridge in our nespra tree (just kidding).

Weather
Temperatures ranged from 17C to 30+C

Pests and diseases: Snails and caterpillars.

There was very little white mould despite the high humidity.

Piglet’s Plot in June

This year I’m keeping a photographic diary of my humble vegetable garden; what’s growing when, where and how well. Yes, I know it’s August and I’m writing about July June, but with recent trips to the UK and France I am way, WAY behind on my blogging activities. I took all the photographs, so at least I could backtrack and post at a later date.

Raised vegetable garden June 2013

Raised vegetable garden June 2013

The white onions planted on the 19/11/2012 are now ready for harvest while the red onions planted in January are not that far behind.

Red and white onions

Red and white onions

June Harvest

June Harvest

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers

Tayberries - first flower and fruit

Tayberries – first flower and fruit

My experiment to grow tayberry and blackberry bushes in pots seems (fingers crossed) to be successful. They have produced many flowers which are now forming into fruit. (Toes crossed we get to eat them before the birds or insects)

Tayberry bush growing in pot

Blackberry bush growing in pot

Strawberries growing in containers

Strawberries growing in containers

The rhubarb is doing reasonably well. Not brilliant but it’s still clinging to life. Unfortunately, some white fluffy bugs, which I believe are the dreaded mealy bugs have taken up residence. The only thing I’ve found to kill these annoying little critters is diluted hydrogen peroxide 3% volume. However, I do not want to apply this concoction to something I plan to eat!

Rhubarb growing in pot

Rhubarb growing in pot

The groselhos bush I purchased last year at Lidls continues to thrive but as yet has not yielded any fruit. I think it’s a cross between a gooseberry and a raspberry. We will see.

Groselhos

Groselhos

Can you name these fruit bushes?

The following are stem cuttings I took last year from my daughter’s garden. One is a raspberry the other two are either blackcurrant, or blueberry.

Mystery fruit bushes

Mystery fruit bushes

Yay! I finally have two tiny limes. Despite removing all the leaves affected with the citrus vine weevil it has returned. Nothing seems to deter these tenacious little critters!

Lime tree growing in pot

Lime tree growing in pot

The cucumber plugs planted in March have a couple of healthy cucumbers ready for harvesting with more on the way.

Growing cucumbers in pots

Growing cucumbers in pots

In February I bought two aubergine (beringela) plugs. One I planted in the raised vegetable bed and the other in the pot pictured below. Only the plant in the pot survived and it is now bearing fruit!

Aubergine growing in pot

Aubergine growing in pot

The myestery plants courtesy of God, or the birds proved to be squash plants. There seems to be two varieties – well put it this way, the squash are two different shapes. I’ve never been successful growing squash in previous years so I’m naturally delighted by the gift. This variety must be Piglet proof, so I better remember to save some seed for next year!

squash plants growing in pot

squash plants growing in pot


Squash

Squash

What else am I growing?
Galega Cabbage: Thes cabbages are now over 1m (3′) tall. These are brilliant if you are limited for space. You remove the individual leaves as you need them and you are eventually left with what I can only describe as a cabbage tree!
Red cabbages:
Tomatoes: masses of cherry tomatoes. I was given other varieties but they did not survive or grew too leggy to grow in pots.
Yellow and red peppers: Flowers but no fruit
Raspberries: no fruit
3 peach trees: no fruit
Physalis: fruit, but unripe
Orange Tree: this now has two baby oranges which should be ready by Christmas
Fig tree: all the leaves turned yellow and then fell before turning brown. I was told it was either too much water or not enough. Don’t you just love that tidbit of advice?

Insects

My cabbages are plagued with cabbage white butterflies and then hundreds of squishy green caterpillars. I spray the cabbages with a weak solution of washing-up liquid and water, although over time I’ve manned up and now squish the caterpillars with my bare fingers.

Ants! We have five different types of ant. We’ve tried most branded treatments but none seem to work. I was once given a recipe for a homemade concoction which included a powder called borax. Unfortunately, after spending ages sourcing the borax I lost the recipe.

Related Posts

Piglet’s Plot in May
Recipe: Salada da Favas
Piglet’s Plot in February
Category Archives: Growing fruit and vegetables in Pots
Category Archives: Growing Fruit, Veg and Herbs

Piglet’s Plot in April

This year I’m keeping a photographic diary of my humble vegetable garden. In theory, if I take photographs on the 19th of each month they will offer a direct comparison as to what’s growing when, where and how well. The purpose of the exercise is to provide a record for next year so I can learn from my successes and, hopefully my not too many failures.

Piglet's Plot  19th April

Piglet’s Plot 19th April

Weeks of nigh on continuous rain has resulted in my broad beans developing rust. Apparently rust is an airborne fungal infection.

Useful tip from The Greening of Gavin

You can spray the fungus with a 1 part milk to 10 parts water mix which also works on powdery mildew on any of the cucurbit family (zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, squash).

I hope he does not mind me quoting his words, but I thought the tip was worth sharing. Unfortunately, I ignored the signs and lost my remaining crop. A valuable lesson learned for next year!

Rust Attacked my Broad Beans

Rust Attacked my Broad Beans

Thankfully, I did manage to harvest several kilos of favas (broad beans) before I removed the infected crop. Check out my delicious Salada da Favas.

Favas (Broad Beans)

Favas (Broad Beans)

The onions, planted in mid November continue to thrive.

Onions

Onions

Much to the delight of the snails and slugs the french bean seeds, planted on the 13th March, are peeping through the soil . In desperation I did scatter some organic slug pellets. (Piglet hangs her head in shame). However, an army of ants removed them in the dead of night.

French Beans

French Beans

This year I only planted four red cabbages. Last year I planted twelve which was far too many.

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage

Fruit Trees

Nespra (loquat) tree

Our nespra (loquat) tree is now 6 years old and this is the first year we’ve had an abundance of fruit. In fact, I’ve even made some nespra and onion chutney.  Researching loquats on Wiki I discovered they are high in Pectin. I think I will freeze some and then add to my strawberry jam.

The loquat has a high sugar, acid, and pectin content. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and mixes well with other fruits in fresh fruit salads or fruit cups. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly, and chutney, and are often served poached in light syrup. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts.

Nespra Tree

Nespra Tree

Orange Tree

Last year we had blossom, then tiny oranges however, they withered and died for no apparent reason.

Finally some blossom on my orange tree

Finally some blossom on my orange tree

This year fingers are firmly crossed the oranges will set and we will be eating our own home-grown oranges by Christmas.

Fruit trees growing in containerS

I now have three peach trees growing in pots which were all looking healthy until two developed a strange disfiguration to the leaves.

Problem with peach tree

Problem with peach tree

growing Fruit and Vegetables  in containers

Green peppers

This is the sole surviving green pepper from the plugs I planted back in February. It’s a tenacious little soul…

The pot is a recycled plastic paint container.

Red Pepper

Red Pepper

Strawberries

My strawberry plants just started to yield a bumper crop and we went away for two weeks. Sigh… Still there were still plenty when we returned. They are so sweet and far more flavoursom than the forced strawberries we used to uy in the supermarkets.

Strawberries growing in a container

Strawberries growing in a container

raspberry bushes

I’ve never grown raspberries before, not even in the UK so not quite sure the best way to care for them. I have three growing in pots and another three in the ground.  All are doing well, so fingers crossed.

My first raspberry flowers

My first rasberry flowers

Baby Leaf Salad

I only planted these on the 13th March! Have you noticed the container in which they are planted? This is definitely pushing the meaning of “salad bowl” to the limits.

Growing Baby Leaf Salad in a Container

Growing Baby Leaf Salad in a Container

Cucumbers in pots

I inherited these baby cucumber plugs from a friend who mistakenly bought them for zucchini.  The plastic collars (made from water bottles) will hopefully deter the snails. However, the snails and slugs in our garden all possess Olympic gold medals, so I doubt it

Baby Cucumber Plants

Baby Cucumber Plants

Aubergine plant growing in pot

I bought two aubergine plugs back in February. One I planted in a pot, the other in the ground. My intention was to make a direct comparison, month by month. Unfortunately, I forgot to take the other photo. If I had a brain I’d be dangerous.

Aubergine

Aubergine

Mystery plant

This pot was originally home to cucumber plants which fell victim one night to snails on a recki mission.  Then about a week later, three seedlings appeared from nowhere. I called them a gift from God, because was I cursing those wretched snails. I don’t know what these are – maybe melons?

Mystery Plant

Mystery Plant

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Notes
20/3 Harvested first crop of broad beans planted from seed on the 24/10
1/4 I bought another fig tree (green fig)
1/4 planted 12 perpetual spinach and 4 cucumbers

Weather in April
Cold and wet!

Related posts
Recipe: Salada da Favas
Piglet’s Plot in February
Category Archives: Growing fruit and vegetables in Pots
Category Archives: Growing Fruit, Veg and Herbs

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.

Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – December

Better late than never!

I don’t know whether the excitement of our imminent trip to the UK for several weeks was sapping my enthusiasm, or just the December blues due to the long dark evenings, but I really had to dig deep (pardon the pun) to motivate myself to work in the garden. I’m not usually given to bouts of lethargy so perhaps the virus I picked up in France still made me feel sluggish. However, we can only reap what we sow and I kept plodding along.

Favas (Broad beans)

Favas (Broad beans)

The Favas seeds planted on the 24th October have grown well and the plants are now in flower. Hopefully we will be eating the beans by the end of February

Broccoli - Brócoloss

Broccoli – Brócoloss

******

Cauliflower - Couve-flor

Cauliflower – Couve-flor

The Broccoli and Cauliflower plugs planted the end of September are growing are also growing well and have already yielded enough for several meals. I’ve finally worked out if I only buy three plugs of each at a time this is more than enough. This, in theory, gives me four plants for me and two for the slugs!

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage

The four tiny red cabbage plugs I planted at the end of November are growing really quickly. Last year I planted far too many red cabbages and several were wasted as even my friends were red-cabbaged out! Perhaps four is still pushing it, but the snails are bound to enjoy at least one.

Red Onions

Red Onions

This year I planted 20 baby red onions, as an experiment, because they are expensive to buy in the shops. The guy at the market tried desperately to persuade  me to buy a 100! I mean, what would I do with 100 onions? He even offered me a discount of 50 cents as an incentive.

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers

Strawberries growing in pots in December

Strawberries growing in containers – December

I’ve discovered one of the keys to successful strawberry growing in containers is to regularly remove the dead leaves so they do not rot into the soil.  Strawberries are the one thing that seem to grow well providing I can keep the mealybugs at bay. Removing the dead leaves and letting the air circulate seems to help. They are still selling bunches of strawberry plants so I’m going to buy some more.

Growing Sweet potatoes in pots

Growing Sweet potatoes in pots

I planted two pots of sweet potatoes (batata doce) on the 18th September, but I have the horrible feeling they are not growing.

Potato Blight

Potato Blight

The potatoes I’m growing in bags all got potato blight. The potatoes although small were fine, but unfortunately all the pots of potatoes had to be destroyed. I will not attempt to grow potatoes again as I had exactly the same problem last year when the blight spread to my tomatoes.

Blackberry and Tayberry plants growing in pots

Blackberry and Tayberry plants growing in pots

Mr Piglet kindly built me a frame for my blackberry and tayberry plants. It’s nothing fancy as we utilized posts and wire we already had, but it will do the job. Because of the proximity of the hedge and its aggressive root system I’m growing most of my fruit bushes in large containers.

Peach trees in pots
The two peach trees growing in pots are still alive, even though they look dead.
Lime tree
Citrus leaf weevil is still attacking the leaves despite various applications of olive oil and soap solution.
Groselhos
I’m not entirely sure exactly what this fruit bush is, but my guess is that it is a cross between a gooseberry and a redcurrant.
Blueberry
The blueberry cuttings I made in France are still holding onto life by their fingernails…
Rhubarb in pots
My Rhubarb plant – well there is nothing much to say except it looks dead. It’s put up a valiant fight for survival over the years, but I think I must concede defeat. We will see.

***********

raspberry canes
I bought three sticks from the market in Sao Teotonio and planted these directly in the ground. At just one euro each it was worth taking a chance.

Related posts
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – November
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – October
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – September
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in July
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers – July
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots – June
Problem Cucumbers – Is it Anthracnose, Downy Mildew or…?
Garden Diary: Container Gardening – Cochonilhas or Mealybugs?
How did I kill my tomato plants?
Global Warming and Zucchini
Growing fruit and vegetable in December

Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – October

Orange peppers are still growing in October!

Orange peppers are still growing in October!

Here we are hurtling towards the end of October enjoying the sun when autumn arrived quite suddenly. One minute we are swimming in the sea and enjoying temperatures of 25C while the cloudless blue sky suggested not a hint of rain and then it turned cold and wet…

I should have known better, our wedding anniversary was looming and it ALWAYS rains around that time. True to form ominous clouds gathered in a slate-grey sky and obliterated the sun. Howling winds alerted us just in time to batten down the hatches in preperation for the onslaught of rain which continued for two days and counting. When it rains in Portugal it rains! And as I write this it is still raining…

As the summer season ends and we move into autumn I dug up all the  tomatoes growing in pots and in my raised vegetable area.  There’s not much growing in Piglet’s Plot at the moment (as you can see from the pictures below) until I visit the market and buy whatever vegetable seed plugs are in season. I really want to plant some broad beans! (Favas)

Piglet's Plot mid October

Piglet’s Plot mid October

Piglet's Plot mid October

Piglet’s Plot mid October

At the end of September I bought two Couve Galega plugs (cabbage) from the market. The stallholder assured me this is the type of cabbage the Portuguese use for Caldo Verde (Cabbage soup).

Couve Galega

Couve Galega

Time will tell! They should grow really tall just like the ones pictured below.

Are these Couve Galega?

Are these Couve Galega?

Container grown fruit and vegetables

The experiment to grow potatoes in pots (prompted by a friend) proved to be a great success. I returned the pots on loan and found other suitable containers. Namely a potato bag designed for growing potatoes as pictured below and an abandoned and now re homed plastic paint tub. This is the true meaning of recycling!

Growing potatoes in bag

Growing potatoes in bag

I’m attempting to grow sweet potatoes. I planted these in large containers on the 18th September and so far so good, However, again time will tell. They weren’t seed potatoes but ones I rooted myself.

Sweet potatoes growing in pot

Sweet potatoes growing in pot

The lettuce plugs planted at the end of August are growing slowly, but at least they are still growing! The container is an old bowl which I drilled holes in for the drainage. It is perfect!

Lettuce growing in a recycled container

Lettuce growing in a recycled container

The cucumbers plugs planted at the end of August much to my surprise are growing well. Baby cucumber plants and parsley have self-seeded and are growing in the raised vegetable area.I always enjoy free plants – makes up for the ones the bugs eat! To help prevent white mould I’ve regularly sprayed the cucumber leaves with a solution of half milk and half water. Strange, but it seems to work.

Cucumbers growing in pots

Cucumbers growing in pots

Earlier this month I gave all my strawberry containers a good clean up. I cleared out all the dead leaves, potted up runners and gave all the plants a good feed. Two weeks later strawberries are beginning to appear!

Unfortuntely, some of the plants had mealybugs so I destroyed the infested plants and sterilised the containers. To be honest the old plants have produced so many runners I now have plenty of young strawberry plants. I never win the mealybug battle no matter what deterrents I use.

Strawberries growing in containers

Strawberries growing in containers

And finally!

Mr. Piglet very kindly constructed a simple frame for my tayberry and blackberry plants which I’m growing in very large containers. It is in a nice sheltered location in full sun. I can even put a net over the plants once they start to fruit to protect the fruit from the birds!

Tayberries and Blackberries growing in pots

Tayberries and Blackberries growing in pots

Until next month!

Related posts
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – September
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in July
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers – July
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots – June
Problem Cucumbers – Is it Anthracnose, Downy Mildew or…?
Garden Diary: Container Gardening – Cochonilhas or Mealybugs?
How did I kill my tomato plants?
Global Warming and Zucchini
Growing fruit and vegetable in December

Telling Porkies

When my son and fiancée moved to their new home in the UK they inherited a neglected, but nevertheless healthy rhubarb plant which had masses of thick juicy stalks. I was green with envy as the plant was growing in a small container and I’d desperately tried for years to grow rhubarb in containers, with little success.

Healthy rhubarb growing in a small container

Healthy rhubarb growing in a small container

Thinking of my ailing rhubarb plant in Portugal I jealously stared at it in disbelief; it defied EVERYTHING I’d been advised about growing rhubarb in containers – the container was too small, the soil was of poor quality and dry as a bone!

My sickly rhubarb in Portugal

My sickly rhubarb in Portugal

Why did this neglected plant look so healthy and my loved and nurtured plant, so sickly?

Healthy thick stalks of rhubarb!

Healthy thick stalks of rhubarb!

Six months later, while celebrating our grandson’s first birthday, I reminded our son he’d promised to cook me a rhubarb crumble.

True to his word he duly picked a bowl full of thick healthy rhubarb stalks and I left him in the kitchen to prepare the desert.

Rhubarb stalks ready for cooking

Rhubarb stalks ready for cooking

I asked him to take some photos once cooked, so I could share the recipe of his delicious creation on my blog. However, when I later questioned him in detail about the recipe he began to squirm, prevaricate and then admitted he’d cheated by using a prepacked crumble mix.

Cheats Rhubarb Crumble

Cheats Rhubarb Crumble

Prepacked crumble mix!

All the time we were eating he must have dreaded the moment of truth. He’d been telling his Mum *porkies.
*(Porkies is a version of cockney rhyming slang: Pork pies which rhymes with lies).

Please can someone share an easy crumble recipe so my son does not have to cheat…

A Simple Way to Propagate Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Hibiscus are my favourite plants (shrubs) because they are SO easy to grow and reward me with an abundance of beautiful flowers throughout the year. Unable to grow them in England I was naturally delighted to discover not only did they grow well in the Algarve, but also the amazing different varieties to choose from.

I began experimenting, as to the best method of propagating hibiscus from cuttings, a couple of years ago when the cost of buying plants in Portugal rose significantly. A 100% rise is a great incentive to master the technique of growing your own!

There are several different methods used to propagate shrubby plants, but this one consistently works for me…

Article continues over at my new gardening blog Piglet’s Plot http://pigletsplot.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/how-to-propagate-hibiscus-in-10-easy-steps/

Yellow Hibiscus Flower

Yellow Hibiscus Flower

Hibiscus growing in pot

Hibiscus growing in pot