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Thread: First year growing - renter problems!

  1. #9
    TrixC is offline Rooter
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    Hi Terobi. I gardened for years in pots before I had my own garden, there are loads of things you can grow! Soft fruit is quite doable, particularly blueberries (need acidic potting soil) and currants. I would consider salad veges as they are super easy to grow and you can save a lot of money on supermarket bagged salads. If you want to grow outdoor tomatoes and chillies from seed and you donít have a warm, bright place in your house, the two things that made this possible for me were an electric windowsill propagator (chillies wonít germinate without heat) and a light box with grow lamps for growing on the small seedlings until itís warm enough to plant them out - usually around late May where I live, June in the north. Even if you have a greenhouse this will be too cold at night for tender seedlings. If that sounds too difficult you could consider buying small plants rather than starting from seeds - the company Simpsonís Seeds has a good range of chilli seedlings for example. I would say tomatoes and chillies are some of the more difficult crops for beginners, they do need a lot of attention to detail.
    Last edited by TrixC; 02-02-2018 at 09:39 AM.
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  2. #10
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    hamamelis is offline Tuber
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    Hi and welcome Terobi!

    Regarding your heat mat, heat without lots of light makes plants go leggy (etiolated, if you're feelin' fancy), so you probably don't want to use a heat mat under your windowsill propagator once seedlings have germinated.

    When you say your house is cold, how cold are we talking? Southerners say it's cold cold? Geordie girls put a coat on cold? 12C feels cold inside, but it's not going to kill chillies. They might grow a bit slowly, but that's all.

    For your kitchen windowsill, without seeing how much light it gets, it's hard for anyone to say; probably best to just try it, and if your herbs start looking leggy or just stop growing and sulk, then move 'em to a sunnier spot.

    You never really know with plants unless you try, ask Veggiechicken

  3. #11
    ESBkevin is offline Cropper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terobi View Post
    Hi burnie,

    Thanks for the response!

    I've read around a bit and I think you're right, so I've held off on everything else for the time being. However, from what I've read, reasonably hot varieties of chillis should be planted earlier in cold climates, else there's a risk they won't mature enough to bear fruit by the end of the season. Is this not the case or have I misunderstood something?
    This is true but you need a sunny side window sill (south facing). Once he plants germinate you need to reduce the undersoil heating or they become 'leggy' where they grow tall and thin trying to find more light which just isn't available in February. Also much later when the Chillies start to flower you need to shock them into reproducing by not watering for about two weeks. The plant decides to reproduce before it dies and so you commence fruiting, you can then recommence watering to sustain the plant.
    i hope that makes sense.

  4. #12
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    Jungle Jane is offline Early Fruiter
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    If you’re wondering about the size of final pot/plant size,looking at the square foot gardening images online,getting some 12” wide pots at least,will fit all the plants shown in the diagrams. Home base & b & q sell black buckets for £1 I grew one melon per bucket last year,would’ve been better in a bigger pot though. Tomatoes & sweet peppers did alright in the buckets,that size is fine.

  5. #13
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    Lesley81 is offline Seedling
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    Hi Terobi,
    Welcome to the world of Rented GYO! 😁

    I too live in a rented house, which is not the warmest (as you say Yay for renting), and our garden is completely laid with decking, so EVERYTHING has to be container grown.
    We moved in last May, and I didn't really think about the garden until Mid June, as we were away for a few weeks. So I missed a lot of the season for planting from seed. This year I am more prepared!

    Our garden gets sun throughout the day, one half in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon and evening, and for this reason, most things grew like crazy last summer.

    I had some massive success with Chillies and tomatoes, although as they were started quite late, some of the fruits didn't quite ripen before the temperatures dropped.
    With the chillies, I had most of them in 4 or 5 inch pots and they still flourished. There was one which I potted up to a 9" pot and this particular plant (a Spanish red chilli, not 100% on the exact breed), was absolutely & insanely covered in chillies.

    In my experience, some plants will struggle if they are under potted. My toms needed larger pots, around 9-10inches, but some herbs and chillies were happy in 4 or 5" pots. I played it by ear with most of them, and only potted them up if I felt they needed it. There is no one size fits all.

    In terms of starting things off, I have a cheap windowsill propagator, which I just use until things germinate. Then the lid comes off and they are placed on a window sill in the sun (whichever window offers the best light). If they start to look a bit limp, I just sit them back on the base of the prop with the lid off and make sure they are well watered/fed.
    Once the weather warms enough, they are introduced to the greenhouse gradually, which is a simple cheap plastic one from Wilko's.
    I have a few rocks in the bottom of this to help prevent it from blowing over. I also find if you place stronger plants in the lower levels, this helps to balance it out. You don't want it too top heavy, as that will lead to it toppling over. I also placed in it the most sheltered area of the garden to try and offer some break in the wind. It's up now, and has stayed up in the recent winds 😁.

    Much like you, my kitchen window doesn't get any direct sunlight, other than in the height of Summer. As we have a row of 4 spotlights in the kitchen, we purchased a UV bulb, which just helps the plants whilst it is darker, greyer and lacking true sunlight.
    This was about £13 on Amazon, and is really helping my basil, coriander, and a few sapling citrus tree's through winter. They will all go back outside when its warmer.

    Depending on what you hope to grow, and how much you want to spend, Wilko's have some good value products. I have just picked up some Hessian vegetable & herb bags, which are deep enough to do things like garlic, onion etc. Check out their website or local store, as they also do some keenly priced pots. Although a word of warning, they often do not have drainage holes, so remember to drill a few in before you fill it with compost.

    I hope this helps, although I am sure I have repeated some answers from other members, but good luck with getting everything going. It's a lot of fun!
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  6. #14
    More basil is offline Sprouter
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    Just one addition to the great advice above- I too garden in containers. My first year mistake was not to consider watering. Containers, especially smaller ones, dry out very quickly on a hot day and once compost dry out, it's a bit tricky to get wet again. On a basic level, start gathering stuff that can be used for saucers and have a search on the vine for lots of great ideas. You can easily find a way around it but it's easier to do now than in a sudden heat wave (oh how I long for a heatwave right now).
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  7. #15
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    Lesley81 is offline Seedling
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    Quote Originally Posted by More basil View Post
    Just one addition to the great advice above- I too garden in containers. My first year mistake was not to consider watering. Containers, especially smaller ones, dry out very quickly on a hot day and once compost dry out, it's a bit tricky to get wet again. On a basic level, start gathering stuff that can be used for saucers and have a search on the vine for lots of great ideas. You can easily find a way around it but it's easier to do now than in a sudden heat wave (oh how I long for a heatwave right now).
    Great point, and I got around this by using empty plastic bottles buried 2/3 into the compost, and pierced with several small holes. Then you just fill the bottle and let the water penetrate down into the compost and root ball. Also a good tip if you are going away for a few days and have no one to water your garden for you.

  8. #16
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    Aunty Social is offline Sprouter
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    Can I just add my best wishes for your success?

    Like you we live in rented accommodation, on top of a moutain where the wind is chronic. I bought a cheapo Home Bargains mini greenhouse which my husband then lashed to the side of the house - also a paving stone on the bottom rack - despite the usual high winds it's stayed in place. I don't think a regular greenhouse would last up here.......


    From Planet of the Apes to Animal Farm: a record of our first year in a microscopic country village with more cows and stars than people -

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