As we near the end of April I thought I would grab the camera and capture a few images of what’s going on in the greenhouse. It’s a time of transition there, as much of the space is put to use growing flats of seedlings for planting out later on. I have shelves installed around three sides of the greenhouse, and this time of year they are always full of flats. All of the tomatoes and peppers are now potted up in 3.5 inch pots, so they do take up quite a bit of space.
I’ve been battling an outbreak of aphids in the greenhouse since early March. They were on the greens growing in the beds and salad boxes, as well as on many of the early seedlings like the brassicas and lettuce. With cilantro, parsley and spinach bolting it was time to clean up the beds and put everything on the compost pile – aphids and all. Now I have flats of plants sitting on the ground in the bare spots. Soon they will start spending some time outdoors during the day so they can begin the hardening off process before they are planted. And I will plant cucumbers in the larger of the two beds, the one in the below photo.
I started petunia seeds for several different varieties of Wave petunias back in March. I got great germination on the purple and pink color, but the red and blue did not do well at all. I wound up with only two of the Wave Blue and none of the red ones. I’ve heard of other gardeners having problems with certain colors, but I’ve not really had problems until this year. I got my seed from Parks, and I plan on switching to another supplier next year. At least the ones I have growing are sizing up and some are even showing flower buds. I will have plenty of petunias, but I will have to buy a few red ones which I plant for the hummingbirds.
I had much better luck with pepper and tomato seed germination. I have a nice supply of plants for those, though some of the peppers are having issues with the aphids. I’m getting the aphids under control, spraying with insecticidal soap, but it takes a while to get them all. The bigger pepper plants are doing well, but some of the smaller ones seem to be more affected by the aphid damage, or by the soap spray itself. It’s always something, it seems, and this year for me it is aphids! I rarely have issues with them once plants are in the garden, but in the greenhouse and indoors they are almost a perennial problem for me.
Some of the flats on the ground in the greenhouse were quickly hit by sowbugs. They seem to be fond of the basil, though not so much the tomatoes or peppers. The one in the below photo is, ironically, Sacred Basil. There’s nothing sacred about it to the sowbugs! I got the basil plants up off the ground and spread some Sluggo Plus on the beds to see if I can get them under control.
The salad boxes are continuing to give us a small but steady supply of salad greens. There’s a few aphids on the lettuce leaves, but nothing that can’t be remedied with a good rinsing off once they are harvested.
The overwintered kale plants are flowering. We’re eating the leaves and the rapini, and those plants don’t seen to have many aphids on them. Go figure! I am thankful for that for sure, though it’s possible the aphids will migrate to the kale since I pulled the other plants from the beds.
The first kale to flower was the lone plant of one called Western Front. I harvested all the leaves and rapini, and left the plant to produce more leaves and shoots. The other plants are all True Siberian, and they are starting to flower too. Both varieties did well in the winter greenhouse and I will grow them again.
Also blooming are the early tomato plants I am growing in containers. I have one plant each of Spike and Maglia Rosa. Spike was the first to bloom, and is now the first tomato to set fruit. I am hoping to get some small fruited tomatoes planted behind the greenhouse soon, once the soil warms up a bit more. The bed is on the south side of the greenhouse, and the microclimate there lets me plant things a bit sooner than in the main garden.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the greenhouse here in April. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!