Planting out the brassicas

The brassicas we sowed and pricked out a few weeks ago are now ready to plant out. We had a few cauliflowers and one broccoli plant to plant out.

Dad gave us a bit of his vegetable patch to plant them out in as they need a fair bit of space to grow properly. We have tried them in 30 litre pots before (with some success), but they are definitely better if they can get their roots in the soil.

First things first, we had to dig over the soil which had already been used once this year!

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Then, before planting out, we soaked each plant in a solution of maxicrop seaweed. We find that this gives them a little bit of a boost as they start to get established in the soil.

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We then planted the plants out, around a foot apart. Making sure to firm the plants in so that their roots can get away into the soil as quickly as possible.

The plants were then watered in thoroughly to settle the soil around the plants.

Unfortunately, some of the wildlife in the garden is not as beneficial as you’d like it to be. Therefore, we always have to cover the brassicas to protect them from pigeons and rabbits! We therefore built a corral out of pieces of wood and then covered the plants with some netting.

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Planting out some more cucurbits

The cucamelons have continued to grow away as quickly as they started, and were moved outside last week to harden them off before planting out. We’ve never grown these before, so we’re not sure what we’re doing, but a quick Google search gave us some ideas.

They grow like a vine, so we fixed some plastic coated metal fencing up for them to climb up. You can see the little tendrils they already have growing which will help them to climb their way up. In fact, they were already a bit difficult to untangle from one another in the seed tray, so we don’t think they’ll have any trouble climbing up the fencing.

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We didn’t have much space left, so we had to plant four cucamelons in a 30 litre pot, with a small cane to support their journey up to the main fencing. Let’s see if they carry on growing at the same pace they have been!

One of the cucumbers we took from a cutting a couple of weeks ago was also ready to plant out. Similarly, it was planted out in a 30 litre pot, making sure not to put too much damp compost around the stem of the cucumber, as they can be a bit temperamental and we wanted to give it the best chance of not rotting off.

Like with the cucamelons, we have used a bamboo stick to support the plant until it reaches the batten that we’ve fixed to the fence for it to be trained along.

We’ll keep a close eye on the plant, as they can be difficult to get going, making sure not to water too heavily, and certainly not near the base of the stem.

Container courgettes

There are an increasing number of great varieties of courgettes these days that are bred specifically to be grown in containers. Some examples are Parador (which is also a lovely yellow variety of courgette), Patio Star and Midnight.

Last weekend, I planted a Patio Star and a Midnight in 30 litre pots. We’ve grown these varieties for a number of years now and they are both fantastic croppers and very tasty to eat – which is key!

With anything we plant in containers, we always put some soil in the bottom to give the pots a bit of weight and keep them anchored if the wind creeps up.

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We then filled each container with multipurpose compost before planting one courgette per pot.

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We then put a stake in each pot for the courgette to grow up, securing this to the fence so that the plants can’t blow over once they get courgettes growing on them. As you can imagine, the plants get quite heavy once fruiting, so its important to make sure they’re tied up the stake at regular intervals to prevent the plant falling over.  The ones we grew up stakes last year grew taller than me, so let’s hope for some of the same from this year’s plants!

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Go Go Gogorez – Potting on the Peppers

 

**From 20th April 2018**

…Better late than never with this post!

Despite the overly enthusiastic title of this post, peppers really aren’t the quickest growers. These were sown back in February, and some two months later they are ready to be potted on.

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Step 1. As you can see above, the 6 peppers were big enough to move on to larger pots (or, at least 5 and 1/2 of them had come on well to date!). I raided the garden for whatever pots I could find.

Step 2. The new pots were filled with compost, roughly 3/4 of the way to the top. I only used a multipurpose compost and 3 weeks on nothing has died – so no problems there!

Step 3. Make a hole in the middle of the pot big enough to fit the incoming pepper.

Step 4. (as above) Turn the pepper upside down, and, gently supporting the stem in between two fingers, pinch the pot with enough force that allows the plant to fall through – you may need to alternate between the sides.

Step 5. Slot the pepper into the hole you’ve just made in the new, bigger pot – as below…

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Step 6. Fill the pot up with some more compost, enough to ensure that the stem of the pepper is not too exposed, as this won’t be helpful to its growth once it starts to be left outdoors as it could be blown over in the wind. Instead, we want a strong, sturdy plant to give it the best chance. Don’t worry if this means some of the lower leaves are submerged.

Step 7. After repeating the above steps for all of your pots, they’ll need a good watering. The pots should be moist but not completely saturated:

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The process for potting on is very similar for a lot of plants and vegetables, but I don’t think it hurts to demonstrate that fact!

The peppers can be left outdoors during the day for the next few weeks (as long as the weather is set fair), but to begin with they are best brought indoors overnight. They’ll need to be watered regularly to keep the compost moist.

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