The Veg Diaries 2020 - April

Regular readers may recall that last year whilst worrying about the B Word I decided to be more serious about growing veg.  Do we even recall the B Word anymore?  How times change.....  anyhoo, fresh from fresh veg to eat success I decided I would try even harder this year.  I also decided that I would grow more veg in containers.  There were three reasons for this:  firstly I find them easier to look after as long as I remember to water them.  Secondly I could grow them closer to the house and the closer they are to the house the more likely I am to pick them (I should add here that the veg beds are already the closest part of the garden to the house but never underestimate how lazy I can be) and finally because, way back in the dim distant past (11 years ago) I lived in a house with a back yard rather than a back garden.  I grew lots of veg in pots as I had nowhere else to grow them.  They grew well and I enjoyed growing them.  The luxury of more space actually made my veg growing decline.  So lessons learned: apparently size really does not matter and stick to what you know.
Best of all whilst planning and writing this I am still eating the Purple Sprouting Broccoli planted last year.  It is motivation enough to want to grow more.
Similarly to my approach my last year, I decided I would buy various vegetable plugs rather than rely on my patchy seed sowing skills.  I am aided by being on the Thompson and Morgan trial panel where I am allowed to choose any plants/seeds and I only have to pay half-price for them.  So whilst I do have a financial commitment I  do have to be transparent about the transaction.  I am not expected to write them and my opinions and words are completely my own.  I made my order in February and waited for the plants to arrive.  Firstly the chilli plants arrived: 3 x Cheyenne F1.  These have buds on already and are growing nicely in the greenhouse.
Then the courgette plants arrived.  Now I have never bought courgette plugs previously as even I can grow these from seed.  But that was actually why I decided to buy plugs this time, I wanted to give them a go.  As they develop I will talk you through which ones I am growing.
Then the brassica collection arrived.  40 various broccolis, caulis and cabbages.  Now also all potted on in the greenhouse.
I also needed some containers to plant the veg into.  This is not a vegetable, this is Flossy who decided that the Elho 'Veggie Wall' planter might be the best place to sleep in the greenhouse.  She was not happy when I put it into use.  Again I have to be transparent.  I was given this container to trial and have not paid for it but as ever I write what I think.  When asked if I wanted to trial something I specifically asked for this as I thought it was just what I needed to grow climbing beans in.
You get everything you need in the kit.
It has very good stability features and it is wonderfully robust.  If you look at the picture below you will see the simple metal brace that goes across the middle of the planter.  It really is well thought out. I soon had it made and ready to go.
Whilst I am conscious of not using a lot of plastic in the garden and Elho do state on their website that 70% of the materials they use are made with recycled plastic.   For me the important things I keep in mind are that this planter will be used for years to come.   It is also light enough to be moved around.
The planter comes complete with its own netting ready to be clipped on.  I have planted some Thompson and Morgan Climbing bean Monte Gusto into it and they are already settling in well.
It is also easy to fleece up if it becomes chilly at night, though it has taken on rather a ghostly air....

In the greenhouse I have sown some dwarf runner bean seeds I had left over from last year and some peas from last year as well.  I am hopeful they will germinate but I would not expect as many to germinate as if they were fresh.  I have more seed sowing to do and I will update on these in the next post.

Of course everything has changed from when I first decided to grow vegetables this year.  Suddenly online sales of seeds and plugs and compost have got to higher levels than I think ever before. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) have launched a website Plants Near Me where you can find local nurseries who may allow timed collection or even delivery.   There can be long delays in waiting for a delivery as demand outstrips supply and businesses have to work safely.  Quite rightly businesses cannot and should not put their staff in danger to supply what we might want.

We all know that there has been panic-buying and I might have accidentally panic-bought a pond.
Only a little pond.  It was a Thompson and Morgan offer that I might have succumbed to after a glass or two of wine.  This is not part of the trial panel at all, I bought this the same as anyone else would.  I have looked at these patio ponds for a few years now.  You can get some very expensive ones carved from stone or  copper or heaven knows what and whilst they are very beautiful it was a commitment I could not make even if I wanted to.  These Thompson and Morgan ponds are resin bowls and come with everything you need apart from the water.
I planted it up.  Put on the compost and wetted it thoroughly (if you don't do this it all jumps out of the basket when you dunk it in water (voice of bitter experience).  I then put the gravel over the top which makes it look nice and also weighs down the compost.
I am now watching it every day, absolutely every day, to see how it is doing.  It already makes me very happy.  I placed it where I can see it from my kitchen window.  It also makes the cats happy as apparently it is a large outdoor water bowl.  I shall report back on progress.