Tag Archives: growing strawberries in pots

Growing Strawberries in January

Growing strawberries in the Algarve -  Jan 2018

Growing strawberries in the Algarve – Jan 2018

In the Western Algarve growing strawberries in January is relatively easy. Dare I say we do not have ground frost and temperatures can reach a high of 18c during the day and from between 2C to 12C at night.

Growing strawberries in containers Jan 2018

Growing strawberries in containers Jan 2018

I have found the best method of growing strawberries during the winter months is in containers which I move to a sunny location. I then cover with a a plastic cloche to not only retain the heat but also deter greedy blackbirds.

strawberries undercover -Jan 2018

strawberries undercover -Jan 2018

As an experiment I also moved some strawberry plants to my raised vegetable bed and have a selection of plants which are not covered – the plants are okay but they are not as advanced as the plants pictured below which are covered.

Strawberries in raised bed - Jan 2018

Strawberries in raised bed – Jan 2018

Soil for both container and raised bed is a mix of manure, home and commercial compost. I also feed with fruit feed once the plants start to flower.

Related Posts:

Strawberry Quest
What does growing strawberries and recycling have in common?

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What does recycling and growing strawberries have in common?

With a little creativity it’s amazing what containers you can use to grow strawberries.

I love Strawberries

I love Strawberries

Deep plastic crates prove excellent containers for growing strawberries, lettuce or rocket. Line the crates with black plastic and make holes in the base area to allow for drainage. Add stones, then good quality compost and voilá!

Because the containers are not that deep I do keep the soil moist and once the strawberry plants start to flower I usually water with a liquid feed about ever two weeks. So far so good and I have an abundance of sweet strawberries through the spring and summer months.

I usually buy the strawberry plants from local markets, or if I am being really ‘thrifty’ I repot the strawberry runners from mature plants.

Strawberries also grow well in crates

Strawberries also grow well in crates

Recently, a family of blackbirds discovered my stache of delicious strawberries and were eating them before I had my share. I don’t mind sharing, but they were just plain greedy!

I tried various tactics to deter the birds until I hit on the idea of using …

How to protect your strawberries from the birds

How to protect your strawberries from the birds

Yep you’ve guessed, upturned crates as covers. They not only provided a rigid protective guard they also filtered the strong summer sun which in turn helped with moisture retention.

Happy days!

Do you grow strawberries in unusual containers? Any success, hints or tips?

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

***********

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.

April: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots

April 23rd 2012 – My monthly diary for April continues with my ongoing experiment to grow fruit and vegetables in pots and various containers.

Red and orange peppers

Red and orange peppers

This year I planted some orange and red peppers seedlings which I bought from São Teotónio Market in March. At 25cents each they were quite expensive, but still easier and cheaper than buying the packets of seeds and germinating myself. Next year I will see if I can save seeds from these plants and grow some from seed. Orange peppers are always very expensive in Portugal (€5.64 per kg) so I felt if I could persuade them to grow and yield at least two peppers per plant, they should actually save me money!

My first cucumber!

My first cucumber!

This variety of cucumber has a very prickly skin which you need to remove before eating. I only bought the seedlings in February so they have progressed really quickly! It’s great to pop out to my garden and pick my own lettuce, radish and now cucumber.

Tomato plant

Tomato plant

I bought several tomato plants in February which are now all doing well and are in flower.

Strawberry plants grow well in pots

Strawberry plants grow well in pots

My strawberry plants continue to flower and produce a regular crop.

Strawberries grown in containers

Strawberries grown in containers

The blackbirds have discovered my delicious strawberries so I’ve now covered the plants with mosquito nets which I bought very cheaply at a local flea market. However, I need to think of an alternative option because once the nets are wet they cling to the plants and the birds just peck through them.

Strawberries can be grown in a variety of containers

Strawberries can be grown in a variety of containers

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

The Rhubarb continues to grow however, I do need to plant directly in the garden but finding the right location is not going to be easy. I may find some old bricks and build a raised bed just for my rhubarb!

Noname - all I know it's a cross between a blackberry and a rasberry

Noname – all I know it’s a cross between a blackberry and a rasberry

I bought this fruit plant at a charity flea market for just €2.00 All I know is that its fruit is a cross between a rasberry and a blackberry and it needs to be kept moist. I am going to transplant into a larger pot next year. Any ideas?

Lemon tree

Lemon tree grown in a large pot

Lemon tree – continues to produce an abundance of fruit and massess of blossom. However, I do keep it well watered and feed regulary.

Physallis – The seeds I planted last year have grown well over the winter and I have now transplanted into larger pots. The orginal plant produced fruit all through the winter, but I’ve now pruned the plant to encourage new growth.

Chili and piri piri – last years plants are now straggly and I’ve used discarded seeds for new plants.

Melons – seedlings are developing slowly, but at least they are still alive!

To do
Buy Auberine and more lettuce seedlings and rasberry and blueberry bushes. Plant radish seeds, cherry tomatoes.

I now use organic feed to spray the leaves of all the above. This is an experiment as I’ve previously only used liquid feed. We will see.

To Do

Related posts:
How did I kill my tomato plants?
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in April
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in March
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in February
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in December

Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in February

My monthly diary continues.

Over the next year I’m keeping a monthly diary of the fruit and vegetables I grow in my urban garden here in the Algarve. Gardening is one of my passions, and although my efforts are not always successful my tenacity makes up for what I lack in knowledge.

Despite a couple of weeks absence in France my vegetable patch continued to prosper under the watchful and no doubt terrified “eye” of one of my dear friends. Even so,  I still had nightmares that an army of hungry snails would munch their way through all my cabbages, spinach and strawberries.  I awoke in a cold sweat,  trembling in terror my nightmare may indeed be a reality. Should I email my friend ‘just in case’ it was a premonition? No, I resisted the temptation and of course my veggies were fine.

RAISED VEGETABLE PLOT

Comparing this month’s photographs to those of January, I can really appreciate how much everything has grown!

Seedlings planted in this area on the 28/11/12

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 26th February

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 26th February

…and in this area of the bed on the 23/11/12

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February

The broccoli plants are exceeding my expectations. Each plant is now yielding flower heads and will be ready for harvesting in the next month. The cauliflowers are not faring well and have yet to produce anything more than an abundance of leaves. Strange, because according to my gardening books cauliflower are easier to grow.

I’ve just discovered Broccoli many nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, fiber and calcium. Broccoli is a useful source of calcium for those who don’t consume dairy products. Great, because I avoid dairy.

Apparently broccoli grows best during cooler weather and once the head is removed side shoots should grow yielding an extra crop. We will see!

The flower heads are just beginning to appear on the broccoli

The flower heads are just beginning to appear on the broccoli

Lombarola cabbages? No, according to google there is no such thing – this is just another example of “lost in translation”. The market trader must have misunderstood my request for the name of the cabbage and probably gave me his name instead! Shame because I was keen to know the variety, as they are growing well!

The heart of the cabbages are now begining to form

The heart of the cabbages are now beginning to form

The rosso lettuce have grown exceptionally well and quickly. I now eat fresh lettuce most days. However, I only remove the outside leaves rather than cut the whole lettuce.

The Rosso lettuce are just perfect!

The Rosso lettuce are just perfect!

The outside leaves of the red cabbage are enormous so I am gradually removing them, shredding finely and using in soups or as a green vegetable.

The red cabbages are huge!

The red cabbages are huge!

CONTAINER GROWN FRUIT & VEGETABLES

The strawberries continue to bear an abundance of fruit. However, I noticed recently several are being nibbled while still on the plant. I initially thought it could be mice, but then I spotted Mr and Mrs Blackie having a real feast. One standing guard, while the other had a right royal feast!

Winter strawberries

Winter strawberries

The baby courgettes along with the baby cucumbers are growing ‘reasonably’ well. I’ve had to grow these in large pots because there is no room left at the Inn. Namely, in my raised veggie plot.

Baby courgette plants from the market

Baby courgette plants from the market

Do these look like cucumber seedlings?

I think these are cucumbers seeedlings?

I think these are cucumbers seedlings?

FRUIT TREES

I struggle with fruit trees as our garden is subject to strong salt winds straight off the Atlantic. However, I am ‘pig-headed’ and persist with my quest, regardless.

The tiny lime tree below is finally in flower. It’s in a secluded location, but during the winter the area is too shaded. I I’m tempted to transplant it elsewhere, but I may kill it in the attempt. So probably best to leave well alone. Limes are really expensive here in Portugal, so I am keen for this little tree to grow well.

My baby lime tree now has several buds

My baby lime tree now has several buds

We planted this orange tree at the beginning of February. It’s a winter fruiting variety and should give us plenty of delicious navel oranges from November onwards. Fingers crossed.

Our new orange tree

Our new orange tree

Fig Tree
I won’t take a photograph of my black fig tree as it looks like a dead twig!

General

Radishes: I continue to sow seeds at regular intervals between the leeks and red cabbages.
Leeks: I should be pulling these shortly. However, they are so cheap in the shops at the moment at only 72cents per kilo these were probably not a good choice as space in my veggie plot is at a premium.
Spinach: Growing well and I continue to plant seeds every month so the crop is ongoing.
Carrots: I really need to thin these, but so far so good.
Rhubarb: Still dormant at the moment. Hope it’s still alive.
Physalis: The mature plants growing in pots continue to provide lots of delicious fruit. The seedlings are still growing, but slowly.
Chili and piri piri: Growing in pots and lots of peppers.

I’m always open to suggestions (or encouragement) so please feel free to leave a note in the comments section below. December was the first entry in my diary.

Related posts:
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in December
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January

Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January

My personal diary.

Over the next year I will be keeping a monthly diary of all the fruit and vegetables I grow in my urban garden here in the Algarve. Gardening is one of my passions, and although my efforts are not always successful my tenacity makes up for what I lack in knowledge. I’m always open to suggestions (or encouragement) so please feel free to leave a note in the comments section below. December was the first entry in my diary.

When I look back at December’s entry and study the pictures – Wow what a difference. My vegetable seedlings have grown beyond my wildest expectations! Yes, I know, I’m easily pleased.

Salad in January

Salad in January

This is my first bowl of winter home-grown salad: Rosso and green lettuce, baby spinach leaves and chives from my herb garden.

Herb “garden” is a very loose description as I no longer try to grow herbs in “twee” little rows. I allow them to self-seed and grow where they are most happy.

CONTAINER GROWN FRUIT & VEGETABLES

Due to lack of space in my urban garden I grow several fruit and vegetables in containers. Some more successfully than others!

Radish

The radish sown in November are unfortunately struggling due to lack of sunlight. While the pot is in full sun during the summer months, the sun is lower in the winter so the pot remains in shade for most of the day.
Mental note: do not use this pot in winter! Use for Zucchini or cucumber in summer. Discard radish and use pot for to recycle “green” waste during the winter months.

I scattered radish seeds between a row of leeks in my raised vegetable plot on the 1st of January. There is no sign of growth as yet.

Strawberries in January

Strawberries in January

Strawberries

Some of my strawberry plants continue to give monster strawberries. They are absolutely delicious!

To do: repot any strawberry runners from these plants and label. “Monster” strawberries

Container grown strawberry plants - planted in November

Container grown strawberry plants - planted in November

Baby strawberry plants planted late November are now in flower.

Physilis seedlings

Physilis seedlings

I planted seeds from Physilis fruit in late October. The seedlings are still alive.

Other container grown fruit and vegetables

Chili: The mature chili plants continue to bear fruit, but the seedlings are less than enthusiastic and are fighting for life.

Lettuce We ate our first “feast” of organic home-grown lettuce last week.
Rhubarb This appears to be dormant. Friends tell me repeatedly “You can’t grow Rhubarb in Portugal” I disagree (I’m an optimist) and firmly believe “Where there is a will there is a way!” I may have to admit I’m wrong, but at least I tried! Hey I’m a Capricorn and Capricorns are stubborn right?

RAISED VEGETABLE BED

Raised bed as at 4th December
(Cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and carrots)

I cheated and bought the seedlings

Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots. Planted beginning of December

Today! Look how much they’ve grown in only a few weeks!

The broccoli, caulitflower, carrots and spinach as at 14th January

The broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach as at 14th January

Raised bed as at 4th December
(Leeks, red cabbages, rosso and green lettuce)

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce seedlings

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce. Planted beginning of December

…and on the 14th January

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 14th January

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 14th January

I talk to my vegetables every day!

I’ve never grown vegetables during the winter months in Portugal before so I am astounded by the results. Daily temperatures have been as high as 22C and night temperatures falling to about 4C.
Over the last month the sun has shone almost everyday and rainfall almost non-existent. (Rained yesterday and last night the first time for ages)

Finally…

Plants for free! It amazes me that I can spend weeks trying to grow seedlings in seedtrays or pots with limited success. Why bother?
I found several self-seeded tomato plants growing between the spinach and rosso and red cabbage, plus rosso seedlings growing in the gravel and it’s only January!

Self-Seeded tomato plant

Self-Seeded tomato plant

The Portugal News (A weekly free newspaper in English) now have a bi-weekly gardening section which relates to Portugal! Yay!

Any gardeners out there? Anyone growing leeks – I need some advice please…

Related posts: Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in December

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Humble Strawberry “Flower”

The theme of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Flowers

I have many beautiful flowers in my garden but their beauty soon fades and their flowers wither and die. Now consider the flowers produced by the humble strawberry plant.

Strawberry Flowers

Strawberry Flowers

I grow all my strawberry plants in various containers even plastic crates. These humble plants have flowered continuously since the beginning of March providing lots of delicious strawberries.

March 2011 "Strawberry" plants in flower

March 2011 "Strawberry" plants in flower

My home grown stawberries!

My home grown strawberries!

We are now in the last week of August; they are still blooming and still providing sweet, pesticide free strawberries. I have had very little success with “green” vegetables this year and my attempts to grow Zucchini also failed miserably. However, as strange as it may seem, I could grow anything “red” such as strawberries, radish, chili peppers, red cabbage, red lettuce etc

Nancy of Spirit Lights the Way kindly lifted my spirits (no pun intended) when she kindly pointed out” I have a “red thumb” instead of a green one!

You may also like to view:

Yellow Flowers by Walk A Mile In My Shoes

This is my beautiful niece-in-law on her wedding dayby Tilly, The Laughing Housewife

Sunflowers by Dave Farmer aka Noobcake

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Portugal: May

The diary of my challenge to grow my own fruit and vegetables in Portugal continues. Seasons,  soil conditions and climate are totally different from the UK,  so gardening here is one big experiment.
 
I am not a knowledgeable gardener, nor do I have a “green thumb”, but my enthusiasm makes up for what I lack in these areas.
 
Unfortunately, I am unable to grow enough fruit and vegetables to be 
self-sufficient as my humble plot is really small. The “return on investment” in terms of time, effort and cost is zilch, but I enjoy the challenge and the convenience of organic fresh salad, veg and fruits just a few steps away! 
My Raised Vegetable Garden 14/05/11
My Raised Vegetable Garden 14/05/11
How quickly everything has grown since last month!
 
SQUASH
Squash plants 150511

Squash plants 150511

I’ve never grown Squash before but as a friend in Northern Portugal sent me some seeds I thought I would try.

Although my squash plants are still very small they are just beginning to produce flowers. Seeds planted 7/03/11
I think I’ve planted them to close together – they looked so tiny when they were first planted!
Although a different variety I hope they grow as well as the ones I spotted on “Enjoy Creating’s” blog : http://enjoyingcreating.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/round-squash-my-favorite-garden-veggies-to-grow/  Squash plants in flowers 22/05/11
 
CUCUMBER 
  
First cucumber 15/05/11
First cucumber 15/05/11

Cucumbers grown from seeds planted 10/2/11

 
ZUCCHINI
 
Unfortunately, the white mold that appeared on the leaves of the Zucchini plants caused many of the Zucchinis to rot. I am unsure as to the cause of the problem – perhaps humidity or overcrowding?
Any suggestions please?
Zucchini Jungle 15/05/11

Zucchini Jungle 15/05/11

 I braved the mosquitos and removed most of the leaves to improve air circulation. Not sure if this will help but it certainly cleared some space as you can see below.

Zucchini leaves removed

Zucchini leaves removed to encourage air circulation

 
Zucchinis rescued from jungle
Zucchinis rescued from jungle
 I rescued the above Zucchinis and used them in my Zucchini and Tomato Chutney I made on Saturday. I used the same recipe as last year… hmmm delicious! 
 
GARLIC
 
Garlic grown in pots
Garlic grown in pots – is it ready?
I planted cloves of garlic last December. I am not sure if its ready to pull but the leaves are starting to go brown and leaves in the other pot of garlic are have rust spots.
 
STRAWBERRIES

Prolific strawberry plants
Prolific strawberry plants

I rescued this crate and it is now home to some strawberry plants. I use netting from potato sacks to protect the strawberries from birds.

What else am I growing?

Sorrel, spring onion, spinach, chilli peppers, peppers, tomatoes and rhubarb. No show for the carrots I planted – I will try again in the autumn.

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? 
 
I am looking for some ideas on how to get rid of slugs, snails, blackfly and ants without using chemicals any suggestions folks? 
 

Growing Fruit and Veg in Pots and Plot: April

My favourite hobby is gardening and I love “trying” to grow my own vegetables both in pots and in the ground. This year I have a new raised vegetable garden which I hope will yield great results. This is a record of my successes and failures usually just kept as notes on scraps of paper. The wonders of blogging and modern technology!

Bumblebee pollinates Zucchini

Bumblebee pollinates Zucchini

Last year I tried desperately to grow Zucchini (courgettes) without much success. There were plenty of flowers but as the fruits formed they just withered and died. I was told this was either due to overwatering or the lack of bees. If it was a bee problem the only solution was to pollinate the flowers by hand, using one of my artists brushes. This year we have been blessed with numerous bees in all shapes and sizes so fingers crossed!
Related post: Poorly Zucchini

Vegetable garden 14/03/11

Vegetable garden 14th March

My vegetable plot in March looked a little bare. The zucchini (courgette) seedlings I’d purchased in February, at the farmers market, were now growing well and producing buds. Fingers crossed this year they were going to do well. Lettuce and red cabbage seedlings were also planted plus rows of spinach seeds.

Vegetable garden 14th April

Vegetable garden 14th April

In the space of just one month, everything has tripled in size and my vegetable plot is beginning to look like a productive area and not a patch of earth. I now have red cabbage, squash, cucumber, tomatoes, radish, spinach, zucchini, beans, and spring onions.

French beans 14/4/11

French beans 14/4/11

The green beans were grown from seed planted 23/2. They are now beginning to flower.

First crop of radish 14/04/11
First crop of radish 14/04/11

This is my first crop of radish grown from seed planted 23/2

“THINGS” I GROW IN POTS

Strawberries grow well in pots

Strawberries grow well in pots

I now have four pots of strawberry plants which are all beginning to bear fruit. I  protect the strawberries from the blackbird family nesting in our garden by covering the plants with the net bags from my potatoes.

Yummy, my first crop of strawberries 14/04/11

Yummy, my first crop of strawberries 14th April

We had our first dish or strawberries on the 14th April. They were delicious!

Rhubarb experiment 14/04/11

Rhubarb experiment 14th April

I was given a Rhubarb plant last year and because it was so tiny I decided to try and grow it in a pot. Not sure it will work.

Garlic experiment
Garlic experiment 14th April

Garlic cloves planted in pots last December.

Beef tomato plants 14th April
Beef tomato plants 14th April

Beef tomato plants grown from seed started 24/2. I add corks to the end of the canes for eye protection.

Which fruit and vegetables are you growing in your garden or in pots? Please share your successes and failures…we can all learn from each other