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My small sfg, near London, UK

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My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  suleika on 5/20/2010, 2:22 pm

I've got a small garden and the sunniest part is paved. Last year I grew some herbs and veg for the first time, in pots. This year I've replaced the pots in the sunny area with four 2'x2' boxes (the equivalent of one 4'x4'), with plywood bottoms. I'll use some Mel's mix in some of my shallower pots this year for shadier plants and next year I'll probably add more boxes.

I left it a bit late this year but we managed to start some things from seed and I've just bought in various plants.

My back row (8 sf) from left to right:
1. Hot chili pepper (not sure what type exactly)
2. Scotch bonnet chili
3. Tomato, "big boy" beefsteak
4. Tomato, gardener's delight
5. Tomato, plum roma
6. Tomatillo (started from seed)
7. Tomato, moneymaker
8. Gherkin x 2 (started from seed)

Front row from left to right:
9. Jalapeno
10 and 11 - Empty - would like another chili and more basil
12. lettuces x 4
13. lettuces x 4
14. rainbow chard x 4
15. thai basil x 2 at back, genovese basil x 2 at front (all from seed)
16. green chard x 4 (from seed)

Next job is to make a modified mel's mix for some pots and plant out the dill, chives and chervil (grown from seed) into shadier areas.

After that (but still very soon) is build a vertical support.

Photos next...

suleika

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  suleika on 5/20/2010, 2:30 pm

Empty boxes....



And after planting out


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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  junequilt on 5/20/2010, 2:50 pm

It looks wonderful! Amazing how many plants you can grow in just a few boxes . . .
I'm guessing from the Scotch bonnet that you like your food hot and spicy. What is your favorite way to use that pepper?

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  suleika on 5/20/2010, 3:22 pm

LOL it's my partner that does the cooking and had most say in the choice of plants!

We grew some chillis last year and used them in all sorts of dishes, but none of the chillis were as hot as Scotch Bonnet. We're thinking jerk chicken thoughts....

For some reason, Scotch Bonnet is the most common chili plant stocked in garden centres here, apart from generic un-named chilis.

suleika

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Chopper on 5/20/2010, 10:13 pm

That is certainly the beauty of the SFG - being able to get some fresh food in small spaces. Very nice.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  timwardell on 5/20/2010, 10:42 pm

Nice job. Another great example of how SFG can grow a lot in a small space.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  carolintexas on 5/21/2010, 5:30 am

Your garden looks great! What is rainbow chard and what do you do with it? I saw a pkg of seeds for rainbow chard at WalMart, looked very pretty and I wanted to buy it but since I have no idea what to do with it I didn't (well, that and my daughter said WHERE are you going to plant anything else!!?)

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  johnfromfl on 5/21/2010, 6:39 am

Nice looking SFG. Small spaces do offer potential for SFG.

Carolin, There is always pots to plant the SFG.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Megan on 5/21/2010, 7:18 am

I cook chard like spinach. Yummy!

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  carolintexas on 5/21/2010, 7:39 am

I thought it looked like big celery. Do you cook just the leaves or the whole thing? Think I'm going to have to plant some!

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Paintedlady on 5/21/2010, 8:56 am

That's a nice little garden! Is that a bamboo wall behind it? It's very pretty!

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  herbarium on 5/21/2010, 9:59 am

Nice garden!
You can cook the entire chard leaf or remove the more leafy part from the midrib.
I also use chard in salads. I have some recently from chard I planted last year. It came up last year but was small. I just left it and it was the first thing ready this spring.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  dansamy on 5/21/2010, 10:40 am

I planted some of the pretty multi-colored chard. I figured even if we don't eat it, the guinea pig will! It's getting darned expensive to feed him fresh veggies from the store. He's older and is now refusing pellets. He'll eat hay, but his diet is now mainly fresh veggies.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  suleika on 5/21/2010, 10:42 am

Thanks, all. Yes, that's a bamboo fence. There's a short wooden fence behind it but 4 years ago we added this higher bamboo for more privacy. It's faded to a lovely grey and has hardly worn at all.

My garden is the northern half of a south-facing shared garden. I live in a first-floor flat and I access my garden by going out the front door and walking along the side of the building and past the other half of the garden. We had it "done up" 4 years ago and it's mainly low-maintenance shrubs with some paving and some gravel. There's a mountain of ivy on the other side of the south fence, which has doubled in size in the last few years - we're getting rid of it next month. But even without it the ivy, there are a couple of large trees nearby, and with the high fences it means that a lot of the garden is in shade for half the day, and some of it for all but the early morning.

We left this area paved as somewhere to sit out, and barbecue. My work used to take me abroad in spring and early summer but I've not been away the last two years, so I get to grow things at home!

For some reason, people don't eat chard over here - or at least the mainstream supermarkets don't stock it. My partner is American and has introduced me to the taste - lovely! I already love spinach so I'm an easy convert. Last year we grew beet spinach (leaf beet?) but it tasted too beet-y for us - neither of us is keen on that particular taste. So it's chard this year. I think the rainbow stuff is just like normal chard really, but prettier, so it's quite popular here as a gardening veg, especially to persuade children to grow things.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Megan on 5/21/2010, 6:34 pm

We eat the whole above-ground plant. It wilts down more or less like spinach does. The rainbow is just like the single-colored chard, just the fun colors. If the stems are biggish you can separate the stem and leaf and cook the stems a little longer. I have some rainbow chard coming up, I can see some color on it though the plants are still pretty small. Can't wait!

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Paintedlady on 5/21/2010, 10:19 pm

I love the idea of planting the colorful swiss chard for our guenia pigs. That's why we're growing kale--for the pigs. The colorful chard would be so pretty too!

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Megan on 5/21/2010, 11:04 pm

Such spoiled piggies! Smile I love kale for fall / winter soups and stews. I don't think I would be inclined to share, personally!

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  suleika on 6/7/2010, 12:15 pm

Here's how it's all getting on.

My back row (8 sf) from left to right:
1. Hot chili pepper (not sure
what type exactly)
2. Scotch bonnet chili
3. Tomato, "big boy"
beefsteak
4. Tomato, gardener's delight
5. Tomato, plum roma
6.
Tomatillo (started indoors from seed)
7. Tomato, moneymaker
8. Gherkin x 2
(started indoors from seed)

Front row from left to right:
9. Jalapeno
10.
basi (planted outdoors from seed - 2 of the 4 are coming up)
11. dill (started indoors from seed)
12.
lettuces x 4
13. lettuces x 4
14. rainbow chard x 4
15. thai
basil x 2 at back, genovese basil x 2 at front (all from seed)
16.
green chard x 4 (started indoors from seed)



We couldn't find electrical conduit here - it's not often used in the UK, it seems - so we made three frames by lashing bamboo cane, threaded them with netting, stuck their legs into the pots and and fastened their tops to the fence behind.

We've also got some pots with mel's mix in the shadier part of the garden with parsley, chives and chervil. And some pansies, petunias and lobelias.

suleika

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  hookilau on 6/9/2010, 9:03 am

Hey I've got scotch bonnet too!
I'm from Trinidad so it's a must in my garden, we like it hot . This is my first year sfg'ing so I don't know how they'll do but I guess we'll see. I also started with little boxes like you have. I've got 2 of them that are planted up with tons of onion and garlic.

I have Poblano, Wiri Wiri and New Mexico green chiles growing this year. Currently they're in pots but I plan to transplant them this weekend into a new raised sfg box.

Can't wait to see how the SB grows in the box though....after years of growing it in the largest, most ridiculously sized pots possible, I'm kinda skittish

When do you expect fruit?....do you have flowers yet?

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  Chopper on 6/9/2010, 11:24 am

A little word to the wise when it comes to hot peppers - and everyone else probably knows this. I once picked a hot pepper from a nursery I worked at and then used it at home. In the processing of that one pepper, I got the oil of it on my hands and when I rubbed my eye I was blinded. It scared me and it hurt like heck. So if you are picking and processing a lot of peppers, wearing latex gloves is not a bad idea.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  LaFee on 6/9/2010, 11:35 am

That makes me laugh...I was at a pool party many years ago, and the host was making his fresh salsa, with lots of fresh jalapenos.

The beer and margaritas had been flowing rather freely, so he took a few minutes' break to, erm, make room for more margaritas.

A few minutes later, we heard an anguished howl coming from the bathroom, and he came crashing THROUGH the sliding screen door (which had been closed) in a full-body launch into the pool.

Lesson: always, ALWAYS wash your hands after handling hot peppers.

(We've never let him forget about that, either...not that I think he'd be able to!)

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

Post  hookilau on 6/9/2010, 12:26 pm

woah....

I had a friend a similar thing happened to but he was just chopping jalapenos...I can't imagine my what my ol friend SB would do to a person's, um, nether regions.

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Re: My small sfg, near London, UK

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