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!
Look at all that lovely kale…and so very jealous of those tiny tomatoes – one of the annual veg garden milestones! Mine are still weeks away from that stage.
The gardening season wouldn’t be complete without some seed germination issues, would it? I’ve had zero germination on one of the new lettuce varieties I’m trying, Freckles, and am quite disappointed as it looks so beautiful (on the packet, which I suppose is as close as I’ll come to it this year!).
I am so impressed with the size of your Wave petunia’s. I do not have that kind of patience. On the sacred basil–that is my least favorite tasting basil out of all of them and the bugs seem to like it the most. Very odd.
I grow the Sacred Basil as a tea plant, and for the pollinators that seem to really like the blooms.
It will be many weeks before I can harvest any tomatoes! I don’t have anywhere to over-winter them, and I’m not sure I would want to if I did, after the battle that I have had to keep some chillis from being overwhelmed by aphids. I have put my tomato plants into 5″ or 6″ pots now, but its’ still nowhere near warm enough to put them into their final growing-pots, and once I do that I will not be able to bring them back indoors. Having seen the success you have had with Kale, I’m growing some this year. I have “Winterbor”, which is a traditional-style green curly one.
Your tomatoes and peppers are looking nice and healthy. And tomatoes forming before May is impressive. I’ve just begun potting up the tomatoes into individual containers.
All your seedlings are looking great. Wish I had a greenhouse, mine are all stacked under lights on the bakers rack taking up room inside. But at least no aphids or sow bugs.
I think it’s been a couple of years since you put up the greenhouse. How is it holding up? Is it meeting your expectations? Is there anything you’d do differently?
I’m thinking of getting one and would like to have the benefit of your experience.
Carmel Valley, CA
I am completely happy with the greenhouse. If I would change anything, I would probably get the larger 8ft by 16ft model (mine is 8×12). Other than that, it has met my expectations completely. Some maintenance has been necessary as some of the screws holding the twin-wall panels have loosened, but that is all I have needed to do.
There are times I wish I had a greenhouse, like now when I’m schlepping my tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings inside for the night and outside for the day. The aphids have shown up on my seedlings also, they do love the baby peppers and eggplants. I’ve been wary of spraying them, I’m afraid I’ll do more damage than the aphids (been there, done that!). I’ll be back online with a big catchup harvest post Monday!
The aphids have been bad on the eggplants as well as the peppers. I was afraid to not spray something, because I believe the aphids would have killed the seedlings before they could grow big enough to resist them.
I just love petunias! I haven’t tried them from seed though as I usually just buy flats at the local market. Interesting that certain colours can cause problems …
Your seedlings all look wonderful. As my greenhouse is not heated, I think our chilly nights are still a bit too cool for me to think about leaving the tomatoes and peppers out there so they are still taking up a lot of space in the house. Another couple of weeks I think.
Gosh, you have a baby tomato already, amazing.
I had aphids in my greenhouse too but they don’t seem to have found the seedlings yet. My neighbour is kindly watering my seedlings this weekend…I expect they’ll be the second thing I rush to take a look at when we get home (after giving the cat some cuddles)