Kitchen garden catch up

Here’s a quick catch up for what happened with the windowsill kitchen garden last month. First of all, the cherry and plum tomatoes set their first trusses and gave us some tiny toms. The cherry tomatoes ripened quickly and lived up to their tasty reputation, giving us about 14 tomatoes between two plants with more still to come.

Garden Pearl cherry tomato

The plum romas are not quite there yet, so I can’t tell you if they’re as good as people say. We’re still getting 2 or 3 French beans each week from the dwarf bean plant, and the cut and come again salad pot containing land cress, rocket and baby leaf spinach is on its third round. I’m also sowing sequentially in little pots to make sure we have fresh supplies of parsley and basil.

The cucumber plant went outside. It is very healthy and has given us three chunky cucumbers during June. Here’s what it looked like last month:

People say you should peel outdoor cucumbers to remove the tiny spines, but I’ve found that giving it a scrub with an ordinary pot scrubber does the trick perfectly and with the minimum of waste – the skins are completely edible that way. The baby lettuce round the bottom of the pot helps to retain water, and the peas seem to be helping the cucumber and lettuce grow stronger too. Three crops in one pot, quite handy for a small garden with almost no topsoil.

The courgette not only got too big for the windowsill, it outgrew the mini greenhouse too. Here’s what it looked like in June, when it started giving us two green courgettes per week. It hasn’t stopped since. The small flowerpot is sunk into the compost, which sends water straight to the roots on hot days, rather than evaporating off. We should be OK if the proposed hosepipe ban happens at least.

I did originally say that I wasn’t going to grow potatoes because it’s very hard to make it cost effective – it’s my first year here and there’s no home made compost, and the combination of large container, bought compost and seed potatoes usually works out as more expensive than buying the spuds in a shop. Fortunately I was given some free seed potatoes and a potato grow bag by Beau’s Mum, who had a spare set after a bulk buy:

This is what they looked like directly after their final ‘earth up’. I’m looking forward to a bumper crop of Charlotte salad potatoes some time during July, and there’s also a way to recycle this year’s compost by sowing enriching plants in it during the Autumn and letting it overwinter, so there should be very little waste.

Quite a lot of people have given me free seeds or done swaps with me, so there’s plenty to try out this year, including a pot of borlotto and runner beans, and some rocket. Here they are as baby plants:

I’m also making good use of the things that we find, Womble-stylee, things that the previous folks left behind. This includes a shed full of pots, planks, perspex sheets, plastic window boxes and hanging baskets. The window boxes turned out to be good for lettuces, rocket, radishes, round carrots, pak choi and mini cabbages. Not sure how the turnips and beetroot are going to turn out, we’ll see at the end of July.

All the hanging baskets needed was a water reservoir and a £1 pack of gel retainer liners and hey presto, salad bowl hanging baskets with lettuce, chicory, spring onions, and edible marigolds and trailing nasturtiums:

So that’s what happened in June, and I’ll sort out a July update next week. What have you been growing?

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