Kitchen Gardening

Started by Jubal, April 29, 2020, 10:11:39 PM

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Jubal

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

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.






Tomatoes

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.






Strawberries

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.






Cucumbers

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!






Cress

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?
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Carad├Člis

That is so cool! Druid approves! :D
"Those who don't beieve in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl

Jubal

Thank you! :)

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

The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

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 :)





The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

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.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

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!)



The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

So, I didn't add any updates on my garden last year, but here we are again. 2021's kitchen gardening did have some herbs and tomatoes grown, though my oregano didn't make it through the winter. I had a lot of problems with mice eating herbs through 2021 as well. I didn't try cucumbers again last year or this year, which may have been a mistake as they've probably been my best crop to date. I also got a small fig and an aztec sweet herb, and started trying to grow pepino and physalis last year, though only the latter flowered and neither fruited which isn't great going. I also had some big plants spring from seedlings which turned out to be pokeweeds, which I've kept around this year just for the additional foliage.

The worst catastrophe last year was the collapse of the big vine going up the next-door building, which looked like this:



And took a long time to clear up to say the least.




This year, my biggest problems have been lack of time to care for plants compared to recent years. My tomato plant has produced one tomato thus far, my pepper has a couple of small peppers growing on it but hasn't been super productive. My physalis and one of four propagated pepinos did pull through last winter, though neither seems interested in flowering. My fig has a single fig: I'm hoping it'll be more productive next year, but it'll be nice when that ripens which should happen quite soon. I now have an alpine strawberry as well as the regular strawberry, neither is producing a lot. I suspect I've not been able to water things consistently enough for good productivity, and I may need to feed some things more as well as the soil for several pots has been used a few times over now.

In terms of herbs I have lots of tiny bay trees which I got at a market and potted into individual pots rather than leaving as a stand. My rosemary is doing alright but had a bad winter and hasn't done much shooting out at the base, so I'm not harvesting it: I've got an oregano or marjoram (honestly I can never tell the difference) which I've had one harvest out of, and a sage which keeps having some sort of mildew but is alive regardless. My most successful plant is probably a lemon verbena, which I have a whole dried jar of and could probably produce a second with, though it's not something it's easy to use in quantity so maybe I just need to make a lot more teas with the fresh leaves.



Anyone else been doing any kitchen gardening of late?

The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

psyanojim

I'm enjoying a nice harvest of potatoes (Pentland Javelin) and cherry tomatoes (Garden Pearl) right now.

Will plant some more spinach after the hot weather has passed, it grows quickly in small pots but HATES hot weather. Its a Spring/Autumn veggie round here.

Also had some nice results with lettuce but dont really eat enough to justify it.

I tried growing some cucumbers once, ended up with a couple of mutants about the size of my legs from the knee down, but they tasted horrible. Also managed to destroy my kitchen clock by cucumber creepers reaching up and grabbing the clock hands preventing them from moving ;D

Tusky

I am not particularly green fingered, nor do I have space for a specific garden for the kitchen, but instead I have something I am growing in the kitchen.

He is called Citizen Spikes:



He started life as a whimsical purchase from a country fair about 10 years ago:



As you can see over the years he grew a fair bit.

I've been travelling a couple of times in the past for some months where I didn't have a kitchen to keep him in, so at such times Citizen Spikes went to stay with my mum.
During one such stint, mum took a cutting and planted a spiky sibling, which she also has in the kitchen.

This year, around late spring the brother decided it was time to flower, which apparently consists of an insanely long tendril! It's grown to 58cm so far, with some buds towards the end.





Not sure why my one has never done that!

Anyway, as I say it's not really a "kitchen garden" as it would take the direst of emergencies for me to attempt to eat Citizen Spikes (because it would probably kill me!), but thought a mildly interesting contribution  :D
<< Signature redacted >>

Glaurung

Quote from: Tusky on August 16, 2022, 06:16:27 PM
Not sure why my one has never done that!

It might depend on the soil quality or how much plant fertiliser has been provided: some plants need that extra dose of nutrients to justify growing all that non-photosynthesising stuff.

Jubal

The last couple of days ended up a bit of a frenzy of plant buying for this year's version of my garden!

First, on Friday, the vegetable plants. I've still got the physalis (which is yet to produce a fruit despite its age) from previous years but have given up on pepinos after two years with nothing from them. The new plants are tomato, cucumber, cucumelon, pepper, aubergine, and nasturtium - nasturtium is more a flower but actually both the leaves and flowers are edible in salads etc. Tomato is an obvious staple, cucumber is actually the plant I've had most success with in the past so I thought that'd be a sensible one to go back to. Pepper I've never done as well with and I've had aubergine without it producing at all in previous years but we'll see how those go. Cucumelon is a new one for me. I got all these at the supermarket, except the nasturtium which came from farmers' market.



And here they are planted out:



The day after, it turned out there was a flower market just down the road from me: I went there, got choice paralysis, and got over the choice paralysis by buying everything I could see that I wanted, which basically filled up all the rest of the slots in my garden. Three of these are food plants: the long leaved flower-less plant is a tarragon, which I'm excited by as it's so key in Georgian cooking and I've never had one before. Then the other flower-less plant is an oregano, which is a good standard staple herb, and the little one with light pink flowers is a savory.



And here's the garden as it currently is, some tidying to do but I think most of this year's planting is now done. As well as plants aforementioned I still have a rosemary, sage, marjoram, way too many strawberries and mini bay trees, and a lemon verbena, on the food front. My little fig tree looks like it might produce up to five fruits this year too, which will be nice (generally a fig that is going to produce a full fig will have the fig at pea-size already at the start of the season, apparently). So here's the current setup, hopefully there'll be some more interesting updates to come :)

The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

Also I never replied to above stuff from last year so:

Quote from: psyanojim on August 14, 2022, 04:00:07 PM
I'm enjoying a nice harvest of potatoes (Pentland Javelin) and cherry tomatoes (Garden Pearl) right now.

Will plant some more spinach after the hot weather has passed, it grows quickly in small pots but HATES hot weather. Its a Spring/Autumn veggie round here.

Also had some nice results with lettuce but dont really eat enough to justify it.

I tried growing some cucumbers once, ended up with a couple of mutants about the size of my legs from the knee down, but they tasted horrible. Also managed to destroy my kitchen clock by cucumber creepers reaching up and grabbing the clock hands preventing them from moving ;D
Cucumber creepers can get really vigorous! And yes, I think you want them small, enormous ones would be tasteless. I've never tried potatoes, both because I don't have the space and because I don't eat them. I imagine spinach would hate my place. I should try cress again for salad veg, I've always failed with lettuce because it gets eaten too fast (more by mice than molluscs I think).




How is Citizen Spikes doing, Tusky? :)
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

kjelda

I am currently in a plant phase! In my procrastinating of other tasks, I've been taking care of my plants and expanding my little herb garden :)



Here's my tiny balcony garden, with some herbs (basil, chives, parsley, mint) and also one plant that I randomly bought somewhere and forgot the name of! The chives are new and slightly confused but I hope they'll be alright. I generally like adopting and rehabilitating supermarket herbs (any extra tips on how to make sure they don't die are appreciated!! I usually just split them, give them some nice soil and put them outside).

I've also been expanding my inside plants, mostly a small collection of pancake plants and monsteras. I planted a new lil monstera, which I think is taking pretty well:



And am currently taking care of a small pancake plant cutting, which is thankfully developing some tiny roots!



ok that's it, gardening kjelda out
you can't make an omelet without breaking a few metaphors.

Jubal

I should do basil again, it's one of those things I never get round to growing though it's not too difficult and super useful. Do you ever dry herbs or just grow them to use fresh?




Summer garden update from me! Here's the overall state of play:



Unfortunately, fruits are doing less well than foliage by and large, I've had one cucumber and I've got two tomatoes coming along but generally the flowering/fruiting really isn't getting going well. Possibly needed to be doing more feeding earlier in the season. I have a few figs coming along though.



The other problem is I think I'm getting badly hit by snails and mice again. My tarragon is not dead but also not happy:


That said, the one cucumber has now been eaten and was very good, and I'm around much more this month so hopefully I'll be able to coax a bit more food out of the garden in general :)
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

psyanojim

The tomato batch has been weird this year - we had a super-hot June, then July/August has been wet and miserable.

So the early tomato plantings have thrived (they are so sweet and juicy they are almost like candy), but the later ones have been stunted.

And yeah, don't get me started on snails. Damn things are the bane of my life. Especially during wet periods like we've just had. I often go out at night with a torch on snail hunting missions to keep their numbers down.

Thats one reason I'm a big fan of potatoes - they are very snail resistant, and also seem to tolerate these weather variations well. By far the best and most consistent vegetable I grow.