Brian Kidd says if you want to fill your greenhouse, plant sweet peppers and cucumbers
This is a very good time to sow seeds of plants which can be grown to fill the greenhouse or conservatory to achieve colour in summer.
I am suggesting annuals which means once summer is over the whole lot can be cut up during late autumn and composted so the greenhouse can be thoroughly cleaned ready for next year’s seed sowing.
First of all, let’s look at two plants the fruits of which are edible. You may not like either of them as the plants suggested are sweet peppers and cucumbers, so in your case stick to filling the greenhouse with tomatoes!
Sweet peppers are easy to grow. You get about 15 seeds in a packet and they are sown in seed compost so each seed is about a quarter of an inch apart from the next. Now cover the seeds with a fine layer of compost.
At a temperature of 15.5C (60F), they will germinate in about 10 days. Once they are large enough to handle, prick each one into a 3in diameter pot.
If you go for cucumbers, they need a constant high temperature of 21C (70F), although 26C (80F) is better.
You may be shocked at the cucumber seeds, especially those which don’t have male flowers. They really are expensive, but if you try the well established one called Telegraph, which has been around for years, they germinate far more easily. Provided you remember to take off all the boy blooms while they are growing, they will give a good crop.
Remember too, it’s one of the best varieties to grow with tomatoes as it’s not in the least bit fussy.
The original variety has been improved and in some catalogues you will see it as Telegraph Improved or one seed firm markets it as Telegraph Improved Exhibition.
When watering cucumbers, always avoid the base of the plant’s stem because the plants get badly affected by stem or collar rot. This can be avoided by putting a collar, five inches in diameter around the base of the stem to avoid water-splash.
A washing up liquid bottle cut into rings three inches wide is ideal for this.
You will get wonderful crops of cucumbers as long as the plants are fed regularly and Maxicrop diluted in water is an excellent one to use.
If you see little roots coming to the surface of the compost, that’s wonderful. It’s a sure sign they are really growing well.
Just use a scattering of potting compost over the tiny white roots and the same thing will happen again a week or so later. So keep on top dressing them.
For flowers and foliage to provide a solid mass of colour, sow some seeds of coleus.
These nettle-looking foliage plants are brilliant and so easy to grow too.
Sow the seeds straight away. They very quickly germinate without any fuss as they are not dependent on any particular temperature.
TIP OF THE WEEK
If you are short of space in the greenhouse, have a look in the garden centre.
You should be able to find shelf brackets which will slot into the upright glazing bars.
You will find it cheaper to buy wood to fit on top of the brackets.
Metal shelves are expensive.