Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Potted Garden, Winter Update 2012

Last weekend was a rare one of fine weather and no illness, so it was a perfect opportunity to get into the garden and do some work. We're both really pleased with how well our potted garden is doing now, after about 3 years of persistence which is now paying off. There's wasn't a lot to do this time, just some maintenance and harvesting!
some of this winter's harvest from our potted garden, limes, turmeric, capsicums and chillies
I have 3 large bushes that are still going strong of the all-year-round variety. David keeps persisting with the sweet basil because he likes to cook with it, but I couldn't be bothered fussing over something that will probably die every year. One of my mature basil bushes has a case of scales so when I see some I scrap them off which is the most organic way of removing the, but there are quite a few there. I have a new basil plant that has shooted from a cutting that I might give as a gift to someone.

We now have 4 pots of capsicums that produce very small fruit infrequently. We must remember to keep up with the fertiliser better! This winter, these pots all received a top dressing of new compost.  These plants prefer conditions similar to chillies, so nice and easy to grow as we have lots of chillies!

These two herbs grow very easily in our sub-tropical potted garden and didn't require any extra work at the moment. We harvest more chillies than we can possibly use, so we hope to dry and grind them to give as gifts to those we know like the hot spice. We often use the chives in our cooking, snipping of a bunch with scissors whenever we need to.

I was so very disappointed when my first attempt at growing coriander failed during the first summer we started our potted garden. I just love fresh coriander on my food! A couple of months ago I bought a bunch of fresh coriander for a curry, and it still had roots on it. We didn't use all the herb and the leaves started perking up in the fridge. So I planted it and since then its been in my 'nursery hospital', where I can take special care of it while it sits on my outdoor table. So far we've even been able to trim off a few sprigs, yum!
my second attempt at growing coriander, wish me luck please!
We're giving garlic a try this winter, planting some sprouting bunches into Tom's planter box. Already the couple David planted a month ago have started growing strongly, so the rest were put in alongside them. I wonder how much garlic we will get?

I just love lavender, unfortunately its proven to be quite fussy to propagate. I finally managed to get two more young plants and repotted them this weekend after nurturing them carefully over the last few months. These are the results of a heavy pruning I gave my mature bush in the summer. Now my mature lavender plant is flowering and looking lovely! Rosemary prefers similar conditions to lavender, currently my two handsome plants are flowering prettily.
two new lavender plants with top dressed pots of capsicum in the background
Advice is to remove the potted tree and prune the root ball, something that strikes fear into my heart so I refuse to do it! What if I kill my beloved lime tree? So this winter we did what we did last winter, we gently scraped the top layer of soil away from the roots then replaced it with a new layer of soil. It seemed rather happy when we did that last year, and it still doesn't look too sad, so that will do again for now! We just pulled off 5 good sized limes, with lots still more on the tree. And the tree is covered with a new flush of flowers, more limes to come!

These herbs are still going well now they have communicated to us their desired conditions. The mint is doing fine in part shade in a moist pot, and the oregano and marjoram sit side by side in full sun. I gave them a prune and selected the choicest cuttings to dry in our dehydrator.

I was worried about how poorly the parsely was doing. Since then we moved it all into three very large pots, and they have become more bushy and looking happier, although they still do not seem to be reproducing or seeding yet.

We've not had a lot of success with tomatoes, but after visiting Brian and Freya in Stanthorpe at Easter, we saw all their cherry tomatoes growing like weeds so we wanted to give them another go. We collected all the seeds from a large box of cherry tomatoes and put them into the planter box that had rocket in it last year. They've shot up and now look decidedly bushy! A few are even starting to flower! Its going to be really important for us to remember to keep the fertiliser up if we're going to get any fruit.
will this attempt at growing cherry tomatoes prove fruitful?
This winter's surprise has been the tumeric plant that David's dad Brian gave us. It quietly bubbled along all summer, and the leaves died off at the start of winter. When we pulled out the roots we were both very surprised at what we found. The pot was almost full of freshly grown turmeric, so much so that we now guess we have a year's supply! We're going to put the roots in a cool, dark place until they sprout before choosing the root to start next year's supply. We're so buoyed by this success, we're ready to give ginger a try too!
a surprise awaited us inside the pot of turmeric!
I had earmarked this planter box to grow beetroot in this winter, and prepared the soil with blood and bone. But before I got around to soaking the beetroot seeds overnight in water, some tomato plants had popped up. Since then, lettuce has appeared and David planted some garlic in the space left. I guess I'll have to wait until next winter to plant some beetroot in this box, or find another pot to put them in!
Tom's Garden Winter 2012 with our top dressed lime tree for company

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