Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Urban Food Growing Tuesday:

The weather has been magnificent but at 39 weeks pregnant, there's only so much you can do even in a tiny garden. Still, there's planning and harvesting to be done:

What I grew this year and some attempt at summarising my relative gardening successes and failures:
- My sunflowers are starting to bloom (see yesterday's post) and it makes such a difference to see - maybe I can even get a few seeds out of them? Who knows.
- Potatoes: Cubling helped me harvest the last two of three pots of potatoes. The pots were the biggest flower pots I had, but still not particularly large. One of them had a decent yield. I know what I did wrong: I should have planted the potatoes deep and then added compost to them as they grew (which I did partly with the one pot that had a good yield). So I'm all set for a much better harvest next year. For now, we have enough for the next month, which is pretty amazing considering I just stuck some potatoes into soil and let them be.
- Cabbage: Out of all the cabbage I planted in my raised beds, one is forming a head, but I guess the leaves can be eaten too. Of course there's lots of butterflies having a meal as well.
- Leeks: I planted leeks between cabbage and broccoli, but they didn't get any sunshine because of the massive cabbage leaves and haven't grown at all. I wonder if they may still grow now that the cabbages and broccoli have been thinned out
- Beans: full fail - all three plants that I planted out got eaten up. Not sure by what, but there are only stalks left
- Courgettes: tiny fruit, leaves full of mildew. I remembered that I'd planted courgettes in the same raised bed last year so this may be why they didn't do so well.
- Pumpkin: one plant has grown properly but no flowers or fruit to speak of yet. I'm still hoping.
- Spinach: I planted out spinach a couple of weeks ago but it doesn't seem to have grown at all. I have this problem with spinach all the time, although it should be ideal for the Scottish climate. A shame really because it's my favourite veg and I don't get why it doesn't grow.
- Lettuce: most of my lettuce did well initially, then got eaten by aphids , one lettuce got spared and is still doing well.
- Soft fruit: I had a handful of raspberries, brambles didn't grow and strawberries didn't go red. They all grow in small containers so I wonder if that's the problem.
- Herbs: Mint is growing well, shame I don't like it, chives look a bit ill, sage needs treated.

Plans for next year, with some action to be taken during the autumn:

Front garden jobs: 
- Put lime on front garden which is rich in clay and add manure in early spring
- Thin out plants in front garden that are old and no longer nice (it's all flowers and there's plenty of need for improving the borders)
- The old and woody sage plant in the front needs thinned out. In its place (with some cuttings) I'd like to put a herb garden of herbs that can grow in semi shade.

Back garden jobs:
- I'd like to plant raspberries in raised beds along one fence, taking out half of the slabbed path. For this, I need to find out if raspberries will grow well in containers.
- Now that some of my larger containers are empty, plant winter veg in them.
- Talk nicely to leeks and spinach so that they grow a bit more.

- As both front and back are quite shaded, I plan to research any veg that does well in semi shade and shade, to avoid disappointment form this year when lots of my plants didn't do well even in the south facing patches. Similarly, most of my garden grows in containers so whatever I plant, it needs to be able to deal with container location.
- I must avoid overplanting. It just doesn't make sense to plant too close and then not end up with anything edible.

- Source manure to improve the soil
- Turn the compost bin content and add brown matter to it so it may actually become usable compost

I'm also considering getting 2 or 3 hens - not necessarily super soon, but I'd like to find out more about it, how they can be kept, how much work they involve. Then there's my hope for an apple tree. I haven't got the faintest idea where to put it, but I wants one.

What have you been up to in your gardens, containers, window sills or community gardens this past week? If you've written about it, please share your link in the linky below, or if you haven't, just use the comment box.



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