Getting ready for the second crop

By Andy McIndoe

As we head towards midsummer it’s time to prepare my VegTrug for another crop. We’ve done well so far and harvested plenty of leaves, salad and chard. The carrots are growing well; the beetroot have been a bit smothered by the beans and leaves but I hope they will make progress as some of the competition is removed. The broad beans are big and bushy; I’m glad I planted them at one end of the VegTrug otherwise they would take up a lot of space. The bean flowers are fading and with plenty of bees around should have set well and should soon be showing signs of the pods developing. I hope I’ll be picking in about a month or so.

2 The Vegtrug after replanting

I’m going to have a last picking of salad leaves and then remove the row of plants. The rocket leaves seem to retain their flavour better than the mizuma at this stage and those rocket flowers are edible too. It’s surprising just how much more you can pick if you remove the plants and pick off remaining leaves. The plants make great compost material too.

3 A last picking of salad leaves

I’m also going to remove the chard which is starting to bolt; this gives me space to direct sow some bush runner beans. Those I started in individual pots indoors I’ve planted in my smaller VegTrug close to the house. Down on the plot where it is warmer and sunnier they should have plenty of time to grow and crop from a direct sowing. Before sowing I am going to add some fresh growing medium and a little extra general fertiliser.

4 Chard starting to bolt

There has been plenty of rainfall here this spring so I haven’t had to water the VegTrug as much as I might have done in drier weather. However I have used a liquid fertiliser specially formulated for vegetables. This has undoubtedly made a difference to the vegetable crops. In any container it is important to give a supplementary feed after 4-6 weeks. As the VegTrug holds a big volume of growing medium the food supply is not exhausted as quickly, but it still needs feeding.

5 Watering with a liquid fertiliser

I am trying a bush chilli in the VegTrug. I’ve chosen the variety ‘Prairie Fire’ for its compact habit; it is recommended for pots and containers so should not need support or take up too much room. Although the chillies are small they are hot, 70,000 to 80,000 on the Scoville rating. Chillies need bees and other pollinating insects around to set fruit so I’m hoping for a good crop from the VegTrug on the plot which has been swarming with bees so far this year.

6 Chilli 'Prairie Fire'

I have kept a couple of tomato plants for the VegTrug. I’ll grow these at the back against the hedge. I’m not too hopeful because so far the variety I’ve grown ‘Rosella’ seems to be reluctant to flower. This is a small tomato which is dark red-purple and is supposed to have a stunning, fruity flavour. We shall see. The other reason I’m sceptical about success is the warm, muggy, damp weather we’ve been having. That usually means tomato blight which so often seems to be a problem when I grow tomatoes outside.

7 tomato 'Rosella'

The replanted VegTrug immediately gives more space to the remaining and newly planted veggies. After only a day and a good watering the carrots and beetroot already look happier. I pulled one of the carrots and the tiny round root is starting to swell. I reckon another two or three weeks and the first ones could be ready. I can never believe just how long carrots take, but then most gardeners are impatient.

8 The replanted Vegtrug

The tomatoes I’m growing in VegTrug Poppy in the conservatory are doing famously. Considering the smaller volume of growing medium they have put on a fantastic amount of growth and are blooming beautifully. These are the variety ‘Tumbler’; a “trailing” variety which produces small, red tasty fruits. As the first flowers look like they have set I’m now feeding weekly with a liquid tomato fertiliser. With the amount of growth they have put on they need watering a couple of times a day in warm weather.

9 Tomato 'Tumbler'


Andy McIndoe

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