Our ‘impulse’ herbs have been confusing us. I keep reading that many herbs thrive on neglect but if we do neglect them they look very sad. Adam has decided that they are all a bit cramped in their pots and that we need to transplant them and give them a bit more space. The other advantage of this is that they will also be in one container so they are easier for us to manage, instead of many small pots to keep track of all over the garden.
We did not necessarily need to buy a self watering container for the herbs, considering their lower water requirements, but the price difference was so little that is seemed worth paying a little bit extra for a really good container that will ensure they don’t all dry out if we go away on holidays or forget about them!
I think they look really nice together in one pot, instead of three separate pots. These are our lemon balm, jerusalem sage and marjoram. We also transplanted one of our small mint plants but it had to go into its own pot as mint would take over in this one. We have given the mint lots of room because more mint means more mojitos!
We bit the bullet this afternoon and bought three more large self watering containers for the tomatoes and courgette. We also bought bamboo canes, a smaller self watering container for our herbs and two bags of compost to pot them all up. This all came up to a fairly hefty bill. We hope (fingers crossed) that this will be the end of our initial, large outlay for our vegetable garden.
Of course the first year will always be the most expensive because from now on we should have almost all the paraphernalia we should need to keep us potted for, um, I don’t know how long! We are also hoping that our investment in these self watering containers will pay off in terms of reliability of our crops and also by minimising the amount of time we need to spend tending to them. There always seems to be something that needs to be done with the plants but hopefully after today we will have a bit of a break, apart from the impending strawberry picking. Although I don’t think we will ever see strawberry picking as a chore!
As mentioned in my previous post we have been neglecting our ‘seedlings’ a bit. We have neglected them to the point that the tomatoes are almost a metre tall each! We have not, however, neglected to water them regularly, so they do seem to be surviving surprisingly well considering their cramped conditions.
When we took them out of their pots they were looking a bit pot bound. The main thing that has appeared in the last week is that the leaves have started to look a bit yellow, like they have not got enough nutrients. This is probably because the plants have sucked every last nutrient out of the small amount of compost they had in their pots.
We potted them into a large self watering container each and watered them well. These two will be inside the shed for now. I suspect these two might stay indoors in the long run, when we move to our new flat.
We bought some tall stakes today as well so each tomato plant got a 6’ stake. We replaced the stakes on the older plants too as we were using borrowed ones. I doubt the tomatoes will grow to 6’ but I wouldn’t like them to be stunted by a short cane so they are now welcome to grow as tall as they like! The picture below is the two bigger tomato plants who have been in these pots for a while. They seem very happy with their new containers.
We had an extra day off work today so we decided to make the most of it by doing all the gardening jobs we have been meaning to do for a few weeks. If it is possible to have plant cruelty then we are probably guilty of it because the courgette and tomato ‘seedlings’ have been in need of transplanting for weeks and we haven’t gotten around to it until today.
We moved the previously transplanted tomatoes, beans and courgette outside on Saturday for good. They now have to fend for themselves a bit. Hopefully the wind will strengthen them up and not break them.
I accidentally left the un-transplanted courgette outside for a day as well and it looks like it might be a bit damaged. The plant still looks strong and healthy despite the roots and stem suffering a bit from the wind. I think it will probably be fine. It even has the beginnings of flowers like its bigger brother.
Amazingly there doesn’t seem to be much between the two courgette plants now in terms of size, despite more than a month of time difference between planting them. They are two different varieties so that might have an influence but it also seems that rushing to plant them at the earliest possible date did not necessarily save us much time in the long run.
On close inspections it turns out that the tomatoes are developing their first flowers. Flowers means fruit so this is good news. Soon we are going to have to move the tomato plants outside into the elements. Adam is keen to get them outside but I am worried about the wind these days. At the weekend we might try leaving them outside for the daytime to harden them off. Once they have flowers they will need to be outside for pollination.
The French beans needed a lot of water in the reservoir of their self-watering container last weekend, after their first week. The self-watering containers are a bit of a life saver for us as we don’t have a lot of time to look after the vegetables. This week I have been making the effort to top up the reservoirs again mid-week. If we didn’t have the self-watering containers we would have to check the plants every day and possibly water them most days as well.
Before we got around to transplanting them the French beans were already tangling around each other and trying to climb the walls. They needed to be untangled in order to be planted but the long tendril on one of the broke a bit in the process. It didn’t snap off completely but it did look withered after a day or two.
Now that they are settled into their container with their canes I is clear that the plant with the strong tendril has made itself at home and started climbing the cane.
The one whose tendril broke still hasn’t managed to start climbing. The leaves look healthy so the plant itself seems to be in good shape. I hope the tendril recovers so it can climb up and produce lots of lovely beans for us. Adam has tied it to the cane with some string. I hope it recovers.
I think that in the long run we will need to either add longer canes to tie some strings up above the bean plants. The canes we used are a bit short so the plants will be restricted and we won’t get as many beans as we could.
Since moving the tomatoes into the self-watering containers they have been doing well. Last week the reservoirs needed to be refilled with more than a full watering can of water each. This week they didn’t take a full can each. Maybe they needed extra water while they were settling in to their new homes.
They are both growing tall and have needed to be tied back again this weekend. I have noticed that the joints are getting big. I am not sure if this is normal. Hopefully they are supposed to do this. Hopefully they will develop flowers soon.
The pea plant is not very strong. It keeps falling over. We are not sure what variety it is but we guess it might be a bush variety as it was in an open field with no support. Nonetheless we have decided to give it a stake to climb if it would like to. It is definitely alive and growing but it seems a bit slow to me. It now has its own stake and has been tied in loosely with string to help it along the way.