Thursday, 26 June 2014

June greenhouse photos

Asides from a few chillies developing on the Cheyenne, there's been no major developments this week, just plenty of growth and a steady stream of aphids to kill.

Random chillies on the nursery table including Superchilli & Black Pearl
Chillies, melons and even a Christmas poinsettia on the nursery table
Not much top-growth from the seedlings but plenty of roots developing below

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bits and Pieces

With the greenhouse up and running successfully I wanted to finish off the guttering and get both gutters feeding into the same water butt.  The downpipe kit that comes with the greenhouse is somewhat limited, only allowing you to feed the water straight down or at a slight angle.  I checked on-line and found the parts I needed from the greenhouse supplier. Whilst the cost of the elbow joint didn't initially seem too unreasonable, the cost of the pipe was astronomical.

After a bit of shopping around I found suitable replacements from Screwfix at a fraction of the cost and, yes, they do fit the existing parts.  It's a little misleading labelling the guttering as 36mm as in truth it's 32mm internal and so a perfect match for the standard 32mm waste pipe.

£3.00 per elbow joint...
...or £3.59 for a pack of 5
£10.00 per meter...
...or £3.49 for 3 meters.

So the guttering is all fixed together now. I may need some wire mesh to stop the leaves falling into it as they do block quite easily. But other than that, the water butt is filling nicely and I'll soon be able to rig up the watering system for the pots in the garden.

Fed up with plant labels washing off or fading in the sun I decided to get a little artistic and make my own engraved labels.  The copper ones I'm using are fine but a little slow to mass produce.  With some preliminary design work, some scrap Perspex and a laser cutter I had the Mk. 1 versions ready in no time. I've since tweaked the design somewhat and have suitably bright coloured acrylic en-route for the Mk. 2 versions.

The Mk. 1 Chilli labels, hot off the laser cutter.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Flaming June

With the hot and humid weather recently the greenhouse has really taken off with plants springing up all over.

The third batch of seeds that I planted have popped their heads up and started growing. They're so late in the season that I'm not expecting any fruit off them this year, it's just to replace the more valuable plants that I killed in the "Aphidgate" incident.

Ancho seeds popping their head up
The Padrons harvested from Spain are growing well

The bought plants are growing well in the Chilligrows and putting out plenty of new leaves. There have been some Aphid incursions but I've been dealing with them with a jet of water (no soap this time!) and so far, so good.

The Habs in the second Chilligrow are beginning to settle in

Fed up with plant labels washing clean, I invested some time in stamping out copper labels with the aid of a letter punch set. Not too bad for Loco and Padron but a bit time consuming for Black-Tongued Scorpion. Still, they should last a few seasons, at least.

The shiny new copper labels

The drip feed system is working well (except when I forget to switch it off)

Even some of the casualties of the super-soaping have begun to recover. Again, it's unlikely that they'll fruit to year but if I can overwinter one or two of these more slow-growing varieties then it'll give me a head-start next season.

A 7 Pot Hab making a slow recovery

On non-chilli related issues, the new compost heap is working well with plenty of heat being generated. The hotter it gets, the faster it'll break down the cuttings and sterilise any seeds or roots that have found their way into it.

The compost bin is generating plenty of heat thanks to copious grass cuttings

Meanwhile, the tomatoes are racing away and now need to  be supported. Rather than go for the traditional canes (A.K.A. Punji-sticks-of-hideous-eye-death) I've opted for these string Yo-yos which are altogether neater and safer. It did require an additional bar to be screwed into the roof to support the strings but a piece of aluminium profile took care of that. 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Green for go...

The greenhouse is now up and running with all the Chilligrows and Quadgrows planted up. It's looking suspiciously neat at the moment, a sitiuation which I doubt will last.

The greenhouse now looks settled in the garden.  Once they become established the poppies will help to hide the galvanised base. 
Looking neat at the moment. 2 Quadgrows, 2 Chilligrows and some Root pouches
The tomato plants that I put in a couple of weeks ago are looking amazing and I've started pinching out side shoots.  Likewise, the Scotch Bonnet in the second Quadgrow has got so big I've had to pinch out the top to prevent it getting too leggy.

The tomatoes in the Quadgrow are looking fantastic.  The sorry looking chillies in the front are the overwintered plants that are a bit slow off the mark.
 The Chilligrows are planted with the plants I bought from Dundry Nursuries recently (having killed most of my seedlings in a misguided 'aphid-scorched-earth attack).  The surviving seedlings are on the potting bench and slowly recovering but I'm not expecting much fruit from these slow-growing varieties.

The tomatoes are for my father-in-law, the Chilligrows contain freshly planted Habaneros.
In an effort to further automate my greenhouse I've invested in a drip-feed watering system from Greenhouse Sensation. The watering tube has holes every 30cm and is fed from a 25 litre reservoir which I can add liquid fertiliser to. I've bought enough connectors and pipe to feed dozens of plants but for now it's just being used on the overwintered chillies.  The Friar's Hat is looking great but the others are a bit slow taking off.  They all have small leaves forming so hopefully a little sunshine and feed and they'll burst into life.

New drip-feed system for the overwintered plants in the Root Pouches.
At least one of the gutters has now been plumbed into the water butt.
I intend to use more of the drip-feed pipe to route the overflow from the water butt into the fern garden. This will not only prevent the rainwater from flooding the greenhouse but also also keep the damp-loving ferns and hostas happy.