Monday, 12 July 2010

Container gardening

We have blue skies again here in Co. Down, after a couple of days of rain, which was very good for the plants.

Anyway, I thought it was time that I shared my cobbled together attempt at container gardening this summer.

It was a bit of a mish mash, as I'd planned to garden on site in Leitrim, but, that wasn't to be, so luckily, I put together a few containers so that I wouldn't miss my gardening and home grown veg fix - whatever the circumstances!

My aunt's fantastic barn with the glass roof (see above picture) has become home to lots of crops this summer and works great as a greenhouse .. but I'm trying not to take it over too much.

The picture below shows the half of the barn that I've been using. In the foreground are peppers - sweet and chilli, behind that is the sweetcorn, to the sides are tomatoes and right at the back are some cucumberesque vines, a cucumber and a late bloomer of a melon .. and some peanuts.

Here to the side are some squashes (do I ever learn??) - both are courgettes in this picture (do courgettes officiallly count as squashes? .. they do to me) and another tomato.

One of the courgettes has good flowers and already a growing fruit (you can see it in the middle of the picture if you look carefully).

I tried cucumber, in too small a pot really, and was pleasantly surprised that I already have a lovely fruit forming and couple more looking promising.

Here are the sweetcorn. They are the riskiest of all. I'm not sure if they are meant to do well in pots, but as I had seed ready I thought I'd try. I half thought of trying them outside, but it gets windy up here and I thought they would be stressed. Anyway, the barn is warmer.
They are very close together, so it will be interesting to see if they do ok.

You can already see the stalks forming that will have the tassels and cobs, so I might be in with a chance - as long as I keep them well watered etc. I just can't pass up the chance of super fresh sweetcorn, there's nothing quite like it.

I have a few different tomatoes. This one is a purple ukrainan plum variety, you can see it starting to elongate already.

My other type are cherry tomatoes I think. The seeds are from plants that I grew in this barn in 2008, so I'm hoping they will do well. They already have good fruits forming.

I also tried some peppers this year and they are flowering also. I think this one is 'Nigel's Outdoor Pepper' from Real Seeds. I didn't risk him outdoors!

This is Sweet Chocolate Sweet Bell Pepper, as from Real Seeds. I get lots of my seeds from them.

Here we have hot purple pepper, the foliage is quite dark on the plants and the flowers have a lovely purple hue.

I also started a couple of peanuts - in big pots this time - to see what happens.

Well, that all that's in the barn. Of course, I did do a few things outside as well.

We have some carrots (that I forgot to photograph) and some celery that is nearly ready.

I put a few flowers in containers to brighten the place up. They got a bit slugged, but there are some survivors. I think this is a scabious - from a mixed annual packet.

I'm very excited about the broad beans. The pods must be nearly full size by now. (I can be caught hovering nearby with a pan of boiling water, desperate to get shelling and eating them)

The ducks are enjoying their pond lots - here they are 'poolside'. As for the chickens, Bennie is doing well but unfortunately Madeline passed away, soon after my last post. So, Bennie is our only chicken right now. The ducks keep her company so she's not too lonely, I hope. We'll figure out what to do soon enough. I don't really want to get any more hens until we are back down in Leitrim. We shall see.

I love this kale, with it's pink stems and veins. It's really tasty too.

Further into the garden - Elvie suns himself near the teepee (his favourite spot when he's not on my knee).

I took the risk of putting a couple of squashes at the base of the teepee, to see if they would grow up well through it. (It also means they aren't hogging valuable barn space and it's ok if they get thuggush - as squashes ofthen do).
On the right is a blue banana squash (the trick with them is to cook them whole, as the skin is hard to cut into) and on the left we have a summer yellow patty pan squash.

Here's a close up of a dianthis (carnation) - aren't flowers amazing natural works of art?

We also have some fruit in the garden - not in pots. Here are some of the raspberries we brough over in 2007.

Here are some of our lovely apples, also brought over in 2007. Can't quite remember wnat variety they are .. some sort of Russett maybe .. but I do remember that thy're very tasty.

Here are some of my aunt's currants - black and white. They've been here for years, never fertilized or tended to and yet they come back strongly year after year.

I couldn't have a summer without a calendula somewhere (in a pot this year). I never have the heart to eat them, they're just too pretty.

I have no such hesitation with the parsley though. This is a french curly parsley ..

and this one is an italian giant flat leaved variety.

Well, thats about it for now.
I may not have a polytunnel, or a dedicated garden this year, but it doesn't matter. There is always room for a pot or two!
I also have some salad leaves and new potatoes .. and peas .. and beans .. that I forgot to photograph.
I'll let you know how well everything crops.
X Ferris