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Great Weather – Greenhouse Sorting

It’s nearly a fortnight since I had my cataract operation and the weather is lovely so I just couldn’t resist doing a few jobs. I’m being very careful, all the same. No straining – I don’t want my eyeball to pop out!

Sorting out Greenhouse

Sorting out the Greenhouse. De-leafing the tomato plants

Up in the polytunnel there’s not much to do that is urgent apart from water and harvest a load of French climbing and runner beans. Plus a few carrots and courgettes. Because it’s so warm, I’m leaving the doors open at the moment. Even at night it’s above 15ºC

Marketmore Cucumber

Marketmore Cucumber – enlarge and see just how many fruits are hanging.

The greenhouse, however, was in urgent need of attention. I’d 2 gherkins, one in an ordinary pot the other in a self-watering pot. Both have gone down with verticillium wilt and are finished, so they’re out. I can’t complain, we’ve had dozens upon dozens of fruits. Even the postman runs before he’s forced to take a bag full!

Happily the Marketmore cucumber is unaffected. This was very slow to get going but now it is I can see where it got its name. There’s about 8 fruits on the one plant at the moment!

The aubergines have been a real disappointment this year. The four plants have grown well enough but only one has set fruit. And that has produced one rather good fruit and one that may develop. Loads of flowers but that’s it. Anyway, harvested the aubergine and kept that plant in the hope the small fruit grows, the other three plants went to the compost.

I’m blaming the weather – it’s been so up and down this year. Last year the plants were hanging heavy with fruits and I was removing some of the smallest to ensure the remaining ones developed well.

Aubergine with Ripening Tomatoes

Aubergine with Ripening Green Tomatoes in the windowsill

De-leafing Tomatoes

Now the big job – sorting out the tomatoes. There’s signs of botrytis starting and a couple of the heirloom plants (Ukrainian Purple and Black Russian) have blight. It’s been a bad year for blight. Loads of Hutton periods. Happily the Sarpo potatoes are resisting this year’s strain of blight.

The first task was to go over every plant removing any leaves and fruits that looked as if they might be affected. I took the opportunity to weed the greenhouse border too. It wasn’t bad but the trick with weeding is always to sort them early – before they establish.

Removing all these leaves looks drastic – well it is! But I want the fruits to ripen and more light getting to them will push ripening along. It also means there’s more air-flow which will certainly help with botrytis and may just have halted the blight.

Indigo Rose Tomatoes

Indigo Rose Tomatoes – lots of fruits but very slow to ripen

Black Russian Ailsa Craig Tomatoes

Black Russian and Ailsa Craig Tomatoes

Blighted Tomatoes

Blighted Tomatoes

Chilli Pepper Success

It’s not all blight and problems – the chilli peppers are fantastic. I’ve tried growing in the Chilligrow from Greenhouse Sensations for the first time this year. I’ve never had such healthy, big and productive plants!

Chilli Peppers

Chilli Peppers – from left to right: Padron, Piri Piri, Tabasco.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
5 comments on “Great Weather – Greenhouse Sorting
  1. Emma - Yogi Gardener says:

    I love your updates, so honest about the real-life of trying to grow stuff in the unpredictable British weather which is definitely not-friendly to our food-growing efforts!

    I love aubergines but always seem to get red spider mite infestations on them.

    I’m pleased the Chilligrows have done well though.

    I hope the operation healing goes well, keep that eyeball in!

    • John Harrison says:

      Thanks Emma – I think people who grow their own appreciate it more because it ain’t easy! Got my post-op check and eye test booked on the 11th. All seems to be going well. Red spider mite is a pain but you can get a safe organic spray which will control them.

  2. JacsH says:

    Great web-site and info; I can see why it’s a most popular site. Here in SW Scotland we’ve had the same issues as you with Marketplace cucumbers (pot in greenhouse), Indigo Rose tomatoes and the aubergine – one whopper at 850g and a tiny one so far but that’s been found by the slugs now (all in tunnel). Tomatoes have done exceedingly well – 47kg to date so self sufficient in roasted,blitzed and frozen for the year. Tomande, Aviditas and Amish Paste especially good in flavour and yield, Bloody Butcher not as heavy as yield as previous years. Other varieties varied, mostly fine, and I love a variety. No blight fortunately. Outdoors sweet corn (Honeydew) is also very good – first cobs picked a couple of days ago, seed sown 4 April. Most plants have at least two good cobs on them. Sweetcorn Lark sown 18 May flowering but whether anything will ripen is doubtful now. Chillies in tunnel not quite a disaster but just haven’t grown except Red Apache. Hope eye continues to improve. I have cataracts in my right eye but not yet at the stage to operate and I’m terrified at the idea – like Carol I think on another posting – but will get through it!!

    • John Harrison says:

      Amazing that you can get a sweetcorn crop up in Scotland – that would have been thought impossible when I started growing!
      I was thinking about trying Amish Paste myself next year.
      After you’ve had the cataract done you’ll wonder what the fuss was.
      However do follow the aftercare instructions to the letter. I went and lifted a heavy box the other day. Really felt the pressure in my eye and scared myself. STUPID JOHN!

      • JacsH says:

        I did grow sweetcorn in Cambridge in the 70s but then we moved to 800 feet facing north west in County Durham and that was that – gooseberries did well. Kitchen garden here is ‘relatively’ sheltered and we’ve had successful sweetcorn over the last few years but yields have varied. No records for 2012-2015, 2016 hares ate the young plants (now plot is fenced against them and bambi). Last year poor, set and yield, but we were essentially in a drought so only tunnel got watered as our sump was down to 20cm mud (house is a well supply so weren’t using that other than for drinking/cooking). 2017 was good (other than husband being in New Zealand for two months Sept/Oct so I had a lot of corn to deal with by myself). I thoroughly recommend Amish Paste – massive solid fruit and excellent flavour when ripe. So far have had over 6.5kg from 4 plants (yes, I’m an anorak over yields etc.) starting 17 Aug. Sown 1st and 21st April, planted out in tunnel 2nd and 15th May. Another variety I’m growing again is Tomate de Colgar. Trusses cut entire when green just starting to ripen (not yet), hung to ripen in garage and we had the last ripened fresh ones on Christmas Day last year. Not that tasty to be fair but fun. Thanks for advice re cataracts.

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