Slow progress

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The veg seem to have slowed down quite a lot. I have been watching them for the past week or more and it seems like nothing is happening. I wasn’t sure why. But yesterday Adam inspected them and decided that I have been starving them by not watering them enough in a fear of the mould returning. He made me give them a good soaking of water once the sun moved off them and to be honest it seems to have helped. I did read somewhere that over-watering is one of the biggest problems with container growing but I suppose the weather in Kunming tends to be very dry so I need to be more generous with them. We are definitely going to have to get some sort of low powered fan going on them though because a couple of days ago the radishes from the supermarket had some black mould on them. I pulled one out to thin them and the root and bottom of the stem was all black so I think it was infected by the mould. I picked it all off and checked the rest, which seem to be ok. Hopefully they will bounce back.

I am a bit concerned about the radishes. They haven’t grown at all in a week and now they are bending towards the window for more sunlight. We should be able to eat them in two weeks according to the growing instructions but they are currently just spindly shoots with no real roots or leaves.

The basil has finally sprouted, three of the six seeds I planted have come through. I wasn’t sure if it was warm enough for basil and it is progressing slowly, but it’ll be great if we can get a couple of good pots of basil going as we currently eat more basil than any other herb!

Actually, the one thing we might eat more than basil is garlic and I am VERY pleased with the progression of the garlic cloves I planted. They sprouted almost immediately and now they are a good 6” tall each after only two weeks. I’m not sure how long it will take until it is edible in this climate, as it takes 6 months at home with the cold winter, but seeing as it is progressing so well I am seriously considering planting some more soon.

The tomatoes are all growing and looking very healthy. I think I will transplant one or two of them in the next few days, once they get over the neglect of being underfed and get strong again! We bought some big pots last weekend in the market so I am going to plant one into each pot for now and organise some bamboo canes to help support them when they get big.

The lettuce all sprouted very quickly but unfortunately there were a couple of overcast days and they all stretched up too quickly towards the window. So now all the stems have fallen over and seem very week. A few sprouts came out a week later and they look healthier than the first ones. I’m not sure how to help them, apart from trying to create some breeze on them to strengthen them. Hopefully they will still produce some edible leaves, but it really is a shame to see them in such condition after they sprouted so quickly, I was sure they were going to provide tons of delicious leaves for us to eat!

Still no sign of the strawberries, I guess it was a bit too ambitious. Last week I bought and read the book Vegetable, Herb and Fruit Growing in Small Spaces by John Harrison. I bought the ebook version which I read on the kindle for pc software, so convenient! He suggests that although strawberries are ideal for containers they are better grown from plants and can be slow to propagate from seed. I guess he is right. Maybe we should give up on them, or at least until the spring. I also read somewhere else that the seeds should be frozen first to simulate the winter months so when you plant them they will think winter is over. It seems a bit time consuming! It’s a shame because they grow so easily in the wild but I don’t know where I might be able to get a plant here in China. Fortunately strawberries have just come into season here again so we can buy some big juicy ones from the vegetable market to munch while we ponder how to try to grow our own!

Emma

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