Did I sun shock my kitchen herbs?

On my kitchen window sill has ben a group of herbs for a while, each growing reasonably so long as I remembered to water them. Chives, two batches of basil, mint, and some coriander.

The basil had been living in the same pot or so long that the soil level had visibly decreased. Instead of adding more soil, I decided it might be a nice idea to fill up one of the big pots I have and put them all outside together. (I don’t cook with these herbs very often, and so them being outside doesn’t hinder me too frequently.)

The mint seems to have taken root quickly, and is growing great. The chives – though very few in number – are also looking good. Better than in the pot, actually.

The coriander was actually browning in the pot. This all went away once I potted it outside.

It seems that the basil had been affected the most – the worst – to be point of nearly dying. The tips are blackened on some of them, others have browned and lost much of the beautiful green.

I mentioned this to one of the smartest of allotmentists I know and he immediately identified the problem; I took them outside too quickly. The kitchen is actually very sunny, but theres still a pane of glass between the sun and the herbs. Outside though, the temperature isn’t regulated at all and the sun is direct and day long.

I should have realised this because they even look burnt.

They’ve been out there for a while now. I’m hoping that it will settle in after the next harvest (which I’ll likely immediately toss into the compost).

You live and you learn.

Incredibly fast growing weeds

I’m including grass in that too; I only cut this two (or three) weeks ago. How is it this long again already?

One issue I have with this much grass is that it ends up almost entirely filling my garden waste bin. As its wet, the moisture all gathers at the bottom of the bin. I suppose this calls for very careful cutting of the grass the same week as the bins are taken away, otherwise it globs together and refuses to budge from the swampy bottom.

These unknown weeds are actually quite pretty. However, they’ve managed to amass themselves in force, now sixty, maybe seventy centimetres high. Culling them properly is taking me so long. I’m half thinking of just strimming them back and putting off removing them at the root until next year. However, that comes with the obvious disadvantage of not being able to use the soil they’re in right now for fear of them competing with whatever I chose to plant there.

This embarrassment is right at the back of our garden. The incineration bin is there only because we’ve not yet got a way of disposing of it. It’s ornamental by way of awaiting an empty enough bin. Those weeds beside it though, are horridly high. This area of the garden isn’t one I’ve yet found the time to touch. This feels like many evenings of work right here.

You see how the right side of the picture fades into darkness? That’s because that part of the garden is banked very steeply into the next door neighbour’s garden. A spot that I’ll have to work on, but maybe tethered to Tim in a bungee harness, or something.

Air Bug and Bee

There’s a small section of the garden which I’m sort of leaving to do its own thing. There’s actually a large area of the garden that’s currently doing its own thing, but this area of the garden I’m just leaving to be as it likes.

That seemed like the perfect place to put the newest of garden ornament we have; this bug home! It was given to us by Tim’s parents.

We’re both very excited to see what it’ll bring to the garden! Its ground dwelling, so I’m expecting smaller beetles and and bugs which aren’t scared away by the plastic creepy crawlies attached. I’m unsure if it’ll bring many solitary bees, but that’ll be fun if it does!

Regardless of what comes, the hope is that it’ll be filled with predators to pests.

Honey bees

I recently went to Mercato Metropolitano in South London where they have all sorts of food and drink stalls, its a good spot for lunchtime or after-work food as they have a big area with benches for you to eat at. There is also a little shop where they sell products you can take away, such as cheeses and breads. I suppose you could eat a whole wheel of cheese on site but I don’t think thats the point.

One of the things they were selling was jars of honey from Bermondey Street Bees. The honey is pretty decent and comes with a big wedge of honeycomb in the jar which I quite like. Mostly I got it because they were also giving out little booklets on how to attract bees to your garden and getting bees in the garden is one of our goals. I don’t think we’ll be going so far as to get a hive though but the booklet tells you what sort of plants they like.

They have a copy of the booklet on the bottom of this page
http://www.bermondseystreetbees.co.uk/bermondsey-street-bees/planting-for-bees

Rehabilitation for Aloe Vera

There were two aloe vera plants in my office just wasting away. I popped a message on the company chat asking who they belong to; a fellow that left almost a year before, so no wonder they were looking worse for wear. I declared that I was taking them, conspicuously enough that I felt like it wasn’t theft anymore.

Now, my only thinking that they’re of the vera variety is that whilst I was lugging one of them back home on the train, one woman said loudly to her husband, “is that an aloe vera?” And I immediately stopped and turned to quiz them. “Well, is it?”

I’m afraid I didn’t take photos of them on arrival. So I’ve no good pictures to show of that. However, lots of the ends were brown and dehydrated. One of them had definitely been overwatered by someone with about as much aloe experience as I have; the soil was sopping.

I allowed the plant sodden plant to dry off in the sun for a day before returning it to its pot. With both of them, I’ve chopped off the brown bits. I didn’t do this on any advice, I just figured a dead bit can’t be helping the plant.

The above all happened a couple of weeks ago.

This weekend I took another look at them. Unfortunately, because I didn’t take photos of them after my lopping I don’t know if the brown pictured is new or not. Nonetheless, I took my trusty scissors to the brown parts again. I also rechecked the roots; Pebbles looks okay, but No Pebbles (the one that was sodden, in fact) definitely has some root rot.

I’m not sure if there are next steps I should take, other than leaving them to see if the deterioration worsens. If it does, I might try changing them from their current soil to a soil with sand or perlite which it might prefer.

I just realised that I’ve once again not taken any decent photos of the plants after cutting them! I’ll add them tomorrow.