Greenhouse and Raised Bed Learnings

Wednesday, October 26

The growing season is coming to an end and although I still have tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse I wanted to give an overview of the highs and lows from my first year with a greenhouse. 

It was built in September 2021 so too late to start anything last year so when the first signs of spring started to appear I was desperate to get outside and start planting. Although it was a challenge this year with the unusually hot weather there are lots of success stories to share.

In May I planted eight different varieties of tomatoes in grown bags that were kindly donated by family. It was difficult to know how many plants I'd need but I think I got it about right with plenty room to grow other things.

My Dad also gave me two cucumber plants which I happily planted - I don't like cucumbers but I like growing things so why not... I think that was a big mistake. They were hugely successful and I had way more than we could hope with or give away. At least they were a success!

Similar to the cucumbers I was given this tiny cucamelon plant from Scott's family and it really took off in the greenhouse. It got out of control and maybe I should have cut it back quicker but I got loads of fruit. Not my favourite but they were nice in a pickle... for the room it took up though I'm not sure it was worth it. 

Home grown tomatoes are a million times better than the shop bought ones so it was what I was most looking forward to growing in the greenhouse. All eight varieties did really well and we've been harvesting for a couple of months. I'll be sad when they are all finished.

Again the two plants above were gifted from Scott's family - his Grandad's partner likes to try different things so this year I also gladly received a cape gooseberry and two aubergine plants. 

I found the cape gooseberry really easy to grow. They were outside at the height of summer and I moved them back into the greenhouse when the nights started getting cooler so they could ripen up. They've been a great snack while out pottering around the garden.

Finally, the thing I'm most proud of in my greenhouse this year is the aubergines I've managed to grow. I didn't do anything special, apart from maybe deadheading the flower when it was finished so it didn't rot the vegetable, but I was the only one who managed to grow them and I got four reasonable sized vegetables. Plus they have the coolest purple flower - who knew!?

On to my raised bed which sits just outside the back of the greenhouse. Again it was built in September last year as part of the huge effort that went into creating the area for the greenhouse and it's turned out to be the perfect size.

The planting in this area started much earlier because in between Christmas and new year (when there was a tiny puppy running around) I planted the garlic but more on that later. 

Courgettes are a staple in any vegetable patch and they are such a great vegetable for cooking. Mine have been really successful this year with some growing massively in size before I spotted them. I think I got my last crop from them at the weekend which is sad. 

Garlic is also another great thing to grow and use in the kitchen. My mum and dad have been growing it for years so these starter cloves came from them. The varieties 'Caulk' and 'Carcassonne' were a success but 'Doo Cot' didn't come at all... neither did my mums so maybe it was an issue with those cloves. 

Unfortunately, because of the dry weather early on in the summer they didn't grow as well as I hoped but they'll still get used and I've learnt a lesson in watering for next summer. The other lesson I've learned is not to put something I won't touch all year in the most accessible part of the bed.

Again, the onions were successful up to a point but most of them were small. Probably due to the dry weather or a puppy we couldn't stop jumping in with them...

I was poor at taking photos this year but I also grew peas, radishes and beetroot in the raised bed. Late in the year I planted leeks so we'll see if they've got time to grow before the frost comes. I'm excited for next year after reading 'Veg In One Bed' by Huw Richards. I'll be able to spend the winter planning properly. I only wish these was the same style of book for my greenhouse.

Post a Comment

Would love to know what you think about the post! I read every single one but if you have a question tweet me @gisforgingers. P.s. Comments make my day...