Sunday, 2 August 2009

winter porch update thought I'd show you how my force plants are going this winter.  First, the snow peas have become a bit of a disaster.  I grew two climbing varieties and it turns out they want to climb waaay more than I have space for.  As you can see the roi de carouby outgrew its teepee, and the winter winds have not been kind to it.  Also, I grew them in a mix of soil and sand from the big pile of dirt I used to have in the driveway.  I didn't bother to add fertilizer of any kind because I was told that peas make their own nitrogen from the air which they then add to the soil to enrich is.  Turns out they still need more nitrogen than I was giving them, as you can see by how pale and yellow it became.  I have it a drink of Powerfeed and some fertilizer pellets and it shot out dozens of new green shoots, so at least I got that right. 

In the background you can see my punnets of marigolds (no sprouts yet) and some aloe vera plants I was recently given. the right side of the porch there's a lot going on.  On the right is the broccoli raab that's been fighting a horrific aphid infestation.  I finally got rid of the aphids but they're still looking thin and unhappy.  But behind them the spring onions are still going well.  Once they're full grown you just snip them at ground level and within a few weeks, with amazing speed, they've grown back!  But I've also got a fresh crop coming up, once they're full sized I'll pull up the old crop and start another round.

The golden-podded peas were on this side but they fared even worse than the roi de carouby and didn't taste nearly as good.  So I pulled them up and planted some seedlings of a snowpea called Oregon that's a "bush type" - hopefully that means they're short and busy enough to stay within the teepee and not get whiplash!  In the background you can see some more roi de carouby in the pot where I grew potatoes last year.  The soil in there is a lot richer, hence the dark green colour, and I'm hoping the larger teepee will hold them in place better.

I've also got my spinach coming along, though I've been surprised at how slowly it gets started.  Maybe I need to shoot it with some Powerfeed to get it going., my broccoli isn't on the porch but I wanted to show you the side shoots that grow once you eat the main head.  I've eaten all the heads now, I'm just waiting to eat a few more side shoots before I pull up the broccoli and fill in the bed with more compost and dirt.  The dirt settled quite a lot from the first time we filled it. 

I'm still toying with the idea of growing an avocado tree in that bed, but in the short-term I've decided to grow veggies in there this summer.  There's always time to plant something more permanent in later years.


Mrs. Phillips said...

You astound me.

Dot said...

My snow peas have the same issue being dry and pale (though they turn greener as they go up). I had assumed they were getting burned up by the sun but guess I should look into adding more nitrogen too. Your shoots look lovely and healthy!

Also, may I ask how you got rid of your aphids? I've got some inside that I can't seem to shake.

Thanks for your positive comments btw Alexa. I'm new to all of this and its been so nice to hear your feedback =)Its heartening to see you're growing many of the same plants, and your blooms are just beautiful!

Alexa said...

I was trying to use white oil to get rid of the aphids because I was trying to be eco-friendly. But then I found out that pyrethrum, the stronger spray, isn't that bad - it's made from a type of daisy, it doesn't harm birds or soil and you can spray it on things you're going to eat. The only problem is, if you spray a "good" bug (like a ladybug or praying mantis) it will kill it. But for example if you spray a plant and then a bee lands on it, the bee should be fine.

So with that in mind I went on a rampage and coated my broccoli raab and hellebores with pyrethrum and the aphids shriveled right up. But as you can see the broccoli raab now has some weird discolouration going so who knows?

Dot said...

I guess you never do know with those types of things but sometimes you just get desperate. Boy are those aphids are a bugger to get rid of!