Gardeners’ Question Time

Purple sprouting broccoli plants

Here’s a little mystery for you all: where are all the caterpillars? We picked some kale a few weeks back and despite them being netted, there were a few green caterpillars lurking on the leaves, more or less as I expected. Since then we’ve had lots of lovely weather and lots of white butterflies fluttering about the plot but when I pulled up the netting to have a look and pick off the worst of the infestation before it got out of hand there weren’t any. And nor is it the effectiveness of my netting, either, because there are none on the purple sprouting broccoli either, which is unnetted. Very odd. And yes, I do realise  that by posting this I will be completely inundated with the things before the week is out.

greenhouse in walled garden

And here’s another question: if a gardener who doesn’t particularly like tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, cucumbers or chillies were to suddenly find themselves with the use of a greenhouse (what can I say, it was just looking sad and empty and I couldn’t resist), what should she grow in it? Beyond ‘extra salad’, I’m struggling a little, frankly, although there are some in the village who use theirs to get extra early potatoes. I suppose I could grow tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, cucumbers and chillies for the other half, who likes all of those things and has been struggling bravely through a diet of kale and, er, more kale in recent years.

greenhouse interior

In other news, the dinosaur eggs are flowering.

mystery beans flowering


11 Responses to Gardeners’ Question Time

  1. Well I did hear Eric Robson on GQT saying he was growing a peach tree in his polytunnel in the lake District, so that’s what we’re going to try next. And the sweet potatoes are growing well. And the grapes.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Ah yes, I heard that too. There was a lovely nectarine tree in the greenhouse but it was rather ancient and succumbed to red spider mite. Grapes might be a bit long term for rented accommodation

  3. commuterjohn says:

    Well, I was going to suggest a nectarine as I have one in my own greenhouse and have just started picking them but that is a non starter for you!
    Grapes are quite fast growing and you would soon be able to pick them.
    Otherwise it’s some plants a small table and chair and a good book in the sunshine, with of course a suitable drink to put on the table…..

  4. bbooker7 says:

    Where are all the caterpillars? It might be the caterpillars have completed their life cycle, moved on! The greenhouse does offer late and early season growing potential for salad crops. What about potted house plants, bulbs in potts or even cut flowers for house decoration! Imagine, a potting bench, radio 4 on in the background, perfect. Just a thought …

  5. John Gibson says:

    Well, I am very disapointed to see that the dinosaur eggs look nice.

  6. disgruntled says:

    @CommuterJohn – that does sound rather tempting, just add sunshine
    @bbooker – in my experience, once they have completed their life cycle, your brassicas are in ribbons
    @John – there’s still time

  7. You could turn it over to the other half and let him grow stuff he likes. I pity him if all he gets is home grown kale!

    Aubergines are another option. Courgettes you would start off in the greenhouse and plant out.

    And yes, small trees are good. Runner beans of all sorts are an idea as well. We have a community garden in Dunbar that has a polytunnel and it is chock full of interesting stuff.

  8. disgruntled says:

    He has started weeding the cobbles, which frees me up for the fun stuff.

  9. Charles says:

    Basil is always nice. Also bulb fennel which costs an arm and a leg if you buy it. Lemon grass would work as would (maybe) root ginger. Failing that you could grow an early crop of dwarf French beans. Perhaps some melons and aubergines? I think aubergines would be an aberration but some people like them.

    Just had a week outside tomintoul, walking in Cairngorms, doing a bit of fishing and drinking, well everything. Very pleasant but am now sitting in rain drenched Peebles on the way back to London

  10. […] up to pick kale for our supper tonight, I thought I might have solved the mystery of where all the caterpillars had gone, or rather one of them at […]

  11. […] (although I did later manage to acquire a greenhouse The Brompton and I survived cycling in London […]

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