Off-topic and Chatter: The Jolly Boar Inn => General Chatter - The Boozer => Food Discussion - The Jolly Boar Kitchen => Topic started by: Jubal on April 29, 2020, 10:11:39 PM

Title: Kitchen Gardening
Post by: Jubal on April 29, 2020, 10:11:39 PM
So, I've been accumulating pot plants at a terrifying rate since all this started. I now have a whole bunch of extra things in pots outside. The best news? They will pretty much all produce edible stuff or are directly edible.


As such, here's some thoughts on what I've been growing and why. :)


Herbs are easy-ish, even if Cara still occasionally defines my ability with plants by the one time I let a rosemary die shortly after moving to Vienna. It's a good climate for rosemary, thyme, and oregano here and in well drained soil they should do OK. I've also got a herb pot with outer loops which I'm trying to establish basil and bit more thyme in.

Here on the left we have my main herb plants - the big trough has my rosemary and oregano in it and the little pot to their right is the thyme. I'd like to repot the thyme into another trough with something else but I'm not sure what yet & my local hardware/home/plants shop doesn't do plastic rectangular planters.


I've not much to show on the basil yet - if you scroll down to the cucumbers you can see the first few seedlings coming up in the herb pot.

My herb growing is fairly successful, in that I haven't had to buy rosemary or oregano in quite a long time now, I basically produce enough for my own needs, which given I'm pretty liberal with herbs isn't bad going. I just hang them to dry in bunches in the stairwell:


And then it's a case of stripping the leaves. Easy with rosemary where the stems are woody and the leaves easily separable, much harder with oregano where one almost always ends up with bits of stem etc.



Not much to say here, I have a tomato (principe borghese variety, it should produce small lunch/snack size plum tomatoes), I got it from the supermarket, it is now in a bigger pot than it was. It's currently producing nice little yellow flowers which is hopefully a good sign.

This variety can apparently grow very big (like taller than me) but I'm hoping it won't get quite that high... I have a bamboo cane ready for when it needs to climb higher.



I have three strawberry plants, kept in a pot together. Unfortunately I just had to cut some of the flowers/early fruits because of a possible mildew infection on them, but hopefully it won't get any further or reappear. They seem to be flowering nicely anyway.



So I got some cucumber seeds free with a bottle of gin, and expected them to be rubbish, so I sowed them all in a pot (the green one on the right here) to see if any would come up...


And now here are my two cucumber plants in their nice big pot outside, with canes to climb up! Cucumbers naturally are ground-spreading, but they can climb, and it's much better to get them to do so if growing in a small enclosed space which I am, so I'm going to get them to go up these bamboos as they grow.


And here are ALL THE OTHER SEEDLINGS, because every single seed I planted germinated successfully. About three died when transplanting between pots, but I still have a lot of spares. I will need to find new forever (OK, for the season until they probably die over winter) homes for all these little ones in the near future!



Finally possibly the easiest and neatest of the lot, cress, grown on folded damp kitchen towel. When it was a bit colder my flat was too dry for it and it was drying out overnight, and often I think it wants more light than my one functional windowsill gets, but I've had some good crops all the same. The "in bag on windowsill for a few days, then take out and water 1-2 times a day, soaking the kitchen towel and draining run-off" system seems reliable.


And it's largely a lunch utility food for me at least, or versatile as a garnish. It probably isn't as much of a culinary heavy lifter as e.g. the herbs, but it's a nice thing to grow now and again and as you're eating the seedlings it's neat and harvested, eaten straighway, sorted and done with in a fairly short span of time.


Have any of you been doing food gardening during the pandemic/anyone have any particular thoughts on the above?
Title: Re: Kitchen Gardening
Post by: Carad├Člis on May 01, 2020, 01:41:55 PM
That is so cool! Druid approves! :D
Title: Re: Kitchen Gardening
Post by: Jubal on May 01, 2020, 05:22:25 PM
Thank you! :)

Today, unfortunate news, severe aphid infestation on my tomato plants. I spent most of an hour removing them with a paintbrush.

Title: Re: Kitchen Gardening
Post by: Jubal on May 17, 2020, 11:09:21 PM
More pics and new stuff, all nicely repotted (except the cucumbers which I still haven't managed to give away...)

The biggest addition is the second trough, which is a new home for the thyme and also for a new savory (right end, pink flowers), and in the middle there's a lobelia (blue) and a black-eyed susan to add some colour to the plant collection - they're the only things in the outdoor set that don't in some way produce food. The first herb trough is still fine AFAICT: the round herb pot seems to be struggling meanwhile, but there's still some stuff alive in it so I'm hoping that a bit more sunlight and it'll get going properly.

As well as cucumbers, tomato, and strawberries, the final big pot on the bench has a red pepper alongside a purslane, a succulent plant which can apparently be eaten as a leaf vegetable in Greek salads etc.

Speaking of the bench that's also newish as a home for the bigger pots, which I think works well :)


Title: Re: Kitchen Gardening
Post by: Jubal on August 01, 2020, 11:12:10 PM
Today was a Very Bad Day in the garden :(

This is where my garden had got to by a few days ago. Really nicely overgrown, with lots of cucumber plants climbing everywhere and getting ready to fruit as well as the creeper and tomato doing fine:

Unfortunately, heavy cucumbers plus light soil drying out fast in this week's hot weather caused a fairly severe weight imbalance. And once something started tilting, the tangled mass of cucumber stems took *everything* with them. So there was a very major and unanticipated crash from outside late this morning, with the following result :(


It took ages to clear up. My pepper plant lost its only fruit of the season, so I decided to just eat that at its slightly unripe stage (which one can do with peppers), and had that this evening. I'm not sure how a lot of the other plants will do honestly - we'll see. More pictures to follow in a few days when I know what's alive and what isn't.

I can at least say that it's not as bad as it might have been - I got everything disentangled and other than one of the smaller cucumber plants I don't think anything has what's likely to be irreparable damage, though it'll probably greatly reduce productivity having everything needing to repair itself at this point in the season. I've re-rigged up what I hope is a more stable, and denser, structure of strings for the cucumber and creeper to climb on, and we'll see how that all pans out.
Title: Re: Kitchen Gardening
Post by: Jubal on August 14, 2020, 02:17:43 PM
Here's the repaired garden: it's done surprisingly little longer term damage. Though the weather and wildlife have killed off the last of my purslane, and my savory has had its ends eaten which is sad as it was doing well. Between that, the badly nibbled lobelia, and the dying thyme, the big green trough hasn't done very well overall. My cucumbers still seem willing to produce stuff though.

I've also been harvesting tomatoes, which haven't tasted hugely good fresh so I roasted & froze a whole bunch of them with garlic and some of the remaining savory, for use in winter sometime. (Don't worry, I removed the bad ones that are visible in the first picture!)