Friday 3 April 2015

Windowsill veg

I'm sure most readers will empathise when I say that the windowsills in our house are full of plants now! Since I don't have a greenhouse, it's really the only viable option if I am going to get my plants started soon enough for them to reach maturity at a reasonable time - especially if we have one of our frequent nondescript Summers.

This is not your usual bathroom ornament...

These are Broad Beans ("Stereo"), destined perhaps to form my second crop of this vegetable. I'm still not sure if it is going to be possible to squeeze them in anywhere. They were sown in a "knee-jerk reaction" to the loss (to mice) of my first sowing of beans. They are also a bit of a safety measure just in case the ones I planted out the other day get damaged, possibly by pigeons.

Broad Beans "Stereo"

Alongside the Broad Beans are my Sweet Potatoes.

This is very much an experiment for me, initially sparked off by noticing vigorous shoots on some stored tubers originally intended for cooking. Getting information about how to grow them is easy enough, and I am also swapping notes with one or two fellow gardeners on Twitter, which is a good way of judging my efforts alongside those of others. So far everything is going well, and I have two nicely rooted slips, another just about ready to be detached from its parent tuber, and several more shoots emerging too.

I will soon have to decide where these slips will be planted and grown. I think maybe they will initially have to go into smallish pots which I will be able to keep indoors or in one of my plastic mini-greenhouses. Later, they will be transferred to a big tub (maybe).

On the Dining-Room windowsill reside some little Celeriac seedlings ("Monarch").

They are just producing their first true leaves now, and beginning to look recognisably like Celeriac. They start from very tiny seeds which really need to be reared indoors and planted outside only when they are big enough to fend for themselves.

Next to the Celeriac are four pots of Basil.

I sowed about a dozen seeds in each pot, and have been progressively thinning them, with the ultimate aim of keeping only the best seedling. They are looking good so far, and it will be tough deciding which ones go and which ones live on.

Of course there are also lots of chillis on the windowsills now:

I'm trying to shed the excess chillis now, by giving away some spares. As you may remember I sowed many more than I really needed, just to be sure I had enough good ones. Apart from a protracted (and ongoing) battle with a plague of aphids, the chillis are looking fine now, and I feel relaxed about parting with a few. I plan on retaining about 20 or so - possibly up to 24 - but space limitations will as always be the deciding factor.

Before long I will need to find room for some Tomatoes.

I'm hoping that the weather will improve dramatically fairly soon, because some of these plants are going to have to move outside before long. Their next home will be the mini-greenhouses - though these are currently full of brassica and leek seedlings! "Juggling" is the right word to use here, I think.


  1. It's definitely a case of juggling everything at this time of year. My windowsills are filling up and once the seedlings get to a decent size I move them in to a mini greenhouse inside my proper greenhouse just for a bit of added protection as the greenhouse itself is still rather cold for tender plants.

  2. We have completely given up trying to grow celeriac or celery. Neither will grow for us. This year we are trying at leaf called Par-cel which is something like parsley but supposed to have the flavour of celery.

    1. Sue, I think Par-Cel is a bit like the "Leaf Celery" that I have been growing. Mine is great for flavouring stock etc, and the little leaves are a good salad ingredient, but the stalks never get big like the "proper" Celery.

    2. My celeriac plants don't always make much of a crop, even though I have tried lots of varieties, but they do make vigorous growth of stems and leaves which I use to flavour cooked food in place of celery. A single celeriac plant will make a lot of useful leaves in a small space all season and will shoot again in very early spring even if eaten to bits by slugs (covered I'm sure they would keep leaves in winter).

  3. Your sweet potatoes are looking great - much farther along than mine. Hopefully as the weather (and my windowsill) gets warmer, it's growth will speed up.

    It would be so nice to have a nice sunny spot to place some of my seedlings. None of our ledges are wide enough other than in the kitchen, which is where my sweet potato is living right now. Some sort of solarium type room off the kitchen would be perfect, but that's likely a pipe dream.

  4. I'm in the same stage. I've moved the onions outside to harden off, but really to get more room under the lights. In a few days I've got to start some more. And I've been starting to root the sweet potatoes that have grown large enough. I'll have to get them into soil at some point.

  5. You always take such nice photos, but these ones, in particular, make the plants look so pretty.

  6. Very good sowing activities Mark! I dont have the permission of my wife to use all the windows of our house. You are lucky! :D

  7. It'll be really intersting to see how your sweet potatoes turn out, I'd like to try growing them sometime. The seedlings are looking really good too.


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