My Bathroom Greenhouse


I realised last week that I’d not updated you all since my post from March where I contemplated doing a spot of gardening. Well, t’was not long after that I turned my bathroom into a makeshift greenhouse for a variety of seedlings, etc. I have still got the outside plastic one, but find that if I put things in it I forget to water them.

My 3 tomato plants are a couple of feet high now? Something like that. The first flower buds came through last week and are slowly opening. I think this is a good sign :) I did try and put them outside (I’ve got them in big pots) but they started to wilt quite badly. I had remembered to water them, and the weather wasn’t too hot or cold, so I’m not sure why. Anyway, I’ve brought them back inside and they have since recovered, but some of the stalky-branch-type bits are curling around themselves. It’s quite weird, and I’m not sure if it’s normal!

tomato flowers

Two strawberry plants that I bought from the gardening centre are doing well. What I don’t understand is why although they were bought at the same time, and are receiving the same amount of light and water, one has produced 7-8 flowers (a couple of which are visibly turning into fruit now :D ) and yet t’other one is all leafy with no flowers or fruit? My strawberry seeds came to nothing. Only one actually did anything and is still sat at an inch high, despite having been planted at the same time as the tomatoes.

strawberry flowers

My (sweet) pepper plants are about 6 inches high and I’ve no idea what happens next with these things. Do they flower? Do they magically produce fruit from nowhere? Do they even do anything in the first year?

Talking of “first year”, I bought some rhubarb with the intention of making it grow nice and big for next year, but ended up killing it. Yes, that’d be my watering problem :P Nearly did the same to my courgette but have rescued it and it’s growing again. I “stressed” my coriander, which is now flowering, and forgot that I’d put some seed potatoes in the back of a cupboard so ended up up with 12 inch high sprouts. I don’t think they’re any good and have chucked ’em out.

So I figure I’m really not a green-fingered goddess, but I’m getting there. I’ll try and remember to update you on the success of my front garden at some point…

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

22 comments so far

  1. Ed said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    I don’t know much about gardening, but my mother has a vegetable patch/fruit garden area at home and she keeps tomatoes in the greenhouse!

  2. Hanna said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Are those pink flowers strawberry flowers?

    I should buy cactus soil because I’m going plant some cactus seeds and I also should change the soil of my two cacti.

    Anyway I hope your plants will stay alive :P

  3. Vasili said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    My grandmother plants tomato plants every year. Last year she planted them in her garden and they died, we think that it’s from acid in the soil. I’m still getting strawberries from plants that I planted 3 years ago, they just keep coming up!

    As for your pepper plants, when we had some at our old house, they produced little yellow flowers and then the pepper started to form. However, they’re probably a different type! ;)

  4. Katy said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    if you haven’t already thought about it, grow some catnip. hehe.

  5. Han said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    my chilly plant is just leaves now – I don’t think it’ll flower any time soon lol!

    Plants are hard to look after :(

  6. Belinda said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    That’s awesome Jem! The plants sound delicious, practical and in the case of the strawberry plant, also rather pretty! I’m personally rooting for them strawberries since I love the fruit, but I hope your tomato plants do well too!

    It’s like Harvest Moon but the crops are harder to grow and they don’t grow to be as big as your head. :P Still, how exciting it would be when you finally get to eat something you grew yourself!

  7. Chans said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    You are lots better at it than I am even though my grandfather used to have a greenhouse and I used to help him out. I completely forget about the plants and they eventually die. It’s not just vegetables but any plant that comes into my house that has a big chance of being murdered by yours truly.

    My mum wants to start a small greenhouse so I guess I’ll just get my fresh veggies there!

  8. Aisling said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I can’t believe you killed rhubarb! That’s impossible! It is June 1st here, we had snow up until mid-May, and my rhubarb is already about 2.5ft high!!

  9. Stepherz said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Fresh produce is the best. Especially strawberries! All my plants die though… I have a death touch.

  10. Josh said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Exciting times! I guess plants which produce edible stuff are the best because they don’t just look pretty and attract wildlife, they also let you eat organic, free-range and less-expensive-than-in-the shops vegetables and fruit.

    BTW, this bit doesn’t make sense:

    but find that for if I put things in it I forget to water them.

    Get rid of the for?

  11. Jem said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks Josh. It’s the fault of my proof-reader again ;)

  12. SarahG said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Pepper and chillis grow in the same way, as already mentioned, a flower will form then the fruit will grow through that, similar to how your strawberries are forming. Your strawberry plants could be first year plants, which means that last year they were formed from existing plants. Basically you have a plant in the ground, after the first summer (where you should remove the fruit and allow the energy to go into the plant and not the fruit) it will shoot out runners, these can then root into a couple of pots or the ground, and when they’re strong enough you can disconnect them from the main plant, remove the runner and repot the new plant ready for the next summer when it will be on its first year. In the meantime the original plant will then be in its second year and the fruit it will produce will be perfect. This process continues with all the plants you have, then after about 3 years of fruiting the plants will start to produce less quality fruit. So you can think of it as a rotation process, have a section for your first year plants produced from the runners – no fruit, then second, third and fourth year plants, then the fourth year plants go and the new runners can be planted there (if you had a strawberry garden for example).

    Anyhow, my point being, your strawberry plants could be first year plants, sometimes first year plants produce small fruit, sometimes they don’t. You may just get a handful of small strawberries this year but then come July/August they’ll start to grow runners which you want to get rooted into more pots and then next year you’ll have 2 second year plants and a few new plants and your strawberry kingdom will grow ;)

    Not sure why your tomatoes wilted though. Have you got then tied up to a cane? Don’t let them curl up and also pick off any side shoots that may be growing (a shoot between a leaf and the main plant). Are they in a growbag yet or are you keeping them in pots? As for the wilting, it may just be because they’re not used to the outdoor weather yet. Not sure when you tried them outside but if it was a little cooler then they may have not been happy. However I’d get them into a grow bag, put them in a good sunny spot, make sure you’ve got them tied into a cane, a small (loose) tie every half a foot, and just keep them lightly watered every couple of days. You mentioned you were originally going to put them into your portable greenhouse, so make sure you don’t close it all the way to the bottom so that a bit of air can get in as those things get really hot! Perhaps, if you’re not too concerned, make a hole or two at the top of your greenhouse. My tomato greenhouse has these and it just allows the hot air to escape so that you don’t suffocate them.

    Oh and loving the pink flowers on the strawberries! Mine are all white. Probably a different variety, but never seen pink flowers on them before!

  13. Tanya said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for the update Jem. I’m very impressed, all I’ve managed since your last gardening post is a few poxy flowers! :p

  14. kachii said:
    On June 1, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Plants do actually get burnt by the sun, so maybe your tomato plants were a bit too overwhelmed, did you put them into direct sunlight?

  15. Brenda said:
    On June 2, 2008 at 7:00 am

    I want to see your strawberry plant once it starts bearing fruit! :D

    Green fingers, you have. On the contrary, all plants will die under my care. :(

    Amazing how you managed to keep Hex off your plants though! (Considering how he practically murdered your Christmas tree half a year back.)

  16. Mumblies said:
    On June 2, 2008 at 7:09 am

    SarahG said it all, perfect advice :) However I think you will find that your tomato plants were just suffering with a little shock having been taken from indoors to outdoors I think they would have been fine to leave, just taken a little while to adjust is all. The strawberries may be too young to flower and fruit this year, but they should produce fruits next year. It is so easy to overwater plants, so do be careful. An easy guide is to press the soil next to the plant stem, if the soil feels dampish, then there is no need to water just yet, if dry then obviously it needs a drop of water. Don’t forget that in the wild, it doesn’t rain every day ;) I am sure you will be ok Jem, trial and error is a good way to learn what works and what does not.

  17. Alexandra said:
    On June 2, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Aw, Jem, I wish I could garden. :(

  18. Hayley said:
    On June 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Woah! There awesome.
    I’ve never been one for the gardening and stuff but my sisters really into it, she does some thing at college and one day a week she does like a gardening sort of course and she always helps every year at summer with the college garden, shes pretty good at it but I find all a little too boring and dull lol. x

  19. Arwen said:
    On June 2, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Aw, it makes me wanna garden. Although, living in the basement apartment of a 3-family house in urban New York with two other roommates kind of puts a damper on that.

    Do you have your tomato plants tied to sticks?

  20. Erin said:
    On June 2, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Jem, the Domestic Diva! Congratulations on your plant’s mild successes. I cannot wait to try to grow green bell peppers next year. I chickened out this season because I was worried I’d have too much going on and forget to water them.

  21. Alex said:
    On June 4, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I’m an idiot. I have no idea why I commented on the March entry instead of this one. Anyway! Kudos to you!

  22. Veg Box Scheme and Growing My Own — said:
    On June 24, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    […] (lack of canes, although this was fixed this weekend courtesy of Karl’s mum); and my rhubarb (the one I thought I’d killed) has recovered and is getting bigger […]