Monday, 7 May 2012

Seedling Spotlight: Week 3

Hello again dear reader, and thank you for coming back to read more about my organic odyssey here on the London Vegetable Garden blog!

It has now been three weeks and a couple of days since I planted my vegetable seeds and the progress since then has not only been pleasing, but thoroughly enjoyable!  The picture below shows a selection (not all!) of my current crop of vegetable seedlings:

As you can see, different vegetable plants are at different stages of their growth and development, but all were planted at the same time three weeks ago.  So here's a quick progress report.  Just to note, these have been kept inside under a skylight window, where they have enjoyed the warmth of the sun (the few days we've had it)!


I planted my peas in my home-made newspaper plant pots, which are ridiculously easy to make, cost nothing and can be planted directly into the coil or compost, decomposing to ensure no root disturbance – read how to make your own newspaper plant pots right here.  Peas are climbers and so when these are big enough, I will be transplanting these into a sack for the patio and placing canes for them to climb up.  At the moment, they seem to be doing perfectly well in their pots!


I simply love growing courgettes.  There are loads of great recipes, they are high-yielding vegetables and they are really satisfying plants, with huge sprawling leaves and clumps of wonderful sleek and shiny green fruit.  These plants have grown phenomenally over the last week and I will need to separate these plants into their own pots soon.  Depending on the weather, I may just plant them into the vegetable patch directly.  Watch this space...


I love everything about growing tomatoes – the range of varieties, the colours, the sweet taste of a tomato plucked fresh from the plant – and nothing can beat the warm smell of tomato plants in season; I love it!  I have a couple of tomato varieties growing: a large, suculent beef variety, as well as the colourful 'Tigrella' stripey variety that I grew on my allotment in 2010.  We can see here a couple of dominant plants, which I will look to transplant soon, thus giving the smaller plants more room and chance to grow themselves.


Like tomatoes, cucumbers are a warmth-loving plant.  As you can see, I have four seedlings here, but they have not progressed from this size much over the past week.  From previous experience, I find cucumbers slow starters that suddenly thrive when there is warm weather and lots of space.  I will keep you updated!

Runner Bean

Runner beans are simply a classic of vegetable gardening.  The thing I love about runner beans is how hardy they are.  Once they're in the soil and established up against some canes, they thrive and provide so many vegetables throughout the summer – wonderful.  Interestingly, many people find runner beans bland and boring – but when I crop my runner beans, I'm taking on a small quest to find out some fantastic runner bean recipes.  Keep your eyes on the blog!

French Bean

This is my first year growing French beans, so this is all a learning experience for me!  People often claim that vegetable gardening is never as pretty as flower gardening, but I disagree.  If you look at the wonderful forms and shapes of this seedling, it's easy to appreciate the diverse range of vegetable plants that hold interest for the gardener as they grow and change all summer long.

So, there we have it dear readers – a run down on what's happening with my vegetable seedlings at the moment.  I have some gardening jobs to do today, (since it's a bank holiday and it is not raining!) which involves preparing and weeding my vegetable patch, as well as looking at the flowers I have planted from seed.  As always, I will share my progress with you, dear reader, right here on the London Vegetable Garden blog.

Vegetable gardening is a passion and I believe that the best way to learn is through having a go, as well as sharing your experiences with other people.  I have learned so much from readers of the London Vegetable Garden and love hearing all your advice and tips!  The London Vegetable Garden community is what makes this blog tick – feel free to add your comments to this post, chat with me on Twitter @londonveggarden or come and join us on Facebook, where I'd love you to upload your own vegetable pictures, share your advice and chat with 400 other avid vegetable gardening fans.  Callum :-)


  1. Hi

    Just wondering have you ever grown aubergines on a balcony, if so, how did they fare?

  2. Hi there! I have never grown an aubergine on a balcony, so can't really answer this question with any authority! However, I have found that plants requiring lots of roots and space (squashes etc.) are more difficult to grow in pots - mainly because they require a lot of root space, but also as they need nutrients all the time - when in a pot, the compost can quickly lack these. Good luck - if you're trying it, would love to hear how you get on!

  3. I am indeed trying to grow aubergines, as well as bell peppers and courgettes all of which I'll be growing for the first time. Also chilli peppers and plum tomatoes, which I've grown sucessfully before. I think what I'm most worried about with the aubergine is the size of the actual vegetable and the space and height the plant might need. Anyway taking into account what you've said I will plant in a bigger pot and feed it on a weekly basis and see what happens. I'll post pics on my flickr page and send you a link if I'm successful. Thanks for the advice.

  4. Hi

    So I'm the person trying to grow aubergines in 2012, I was semi-successful, they kind of grew eventually, but not to an edible stage.In August they were looking like this:

    Basically the flowers were growing and then dying and dropping off without fruiting. But I went away in for a week mid Sept and when I came back I found this:

    This didn't last long however as winter started to set in and they did not grow any bigger and eventually died.

    I don't know if it was due to the terrible weather and lack of sun or late pollination? None of my crops did very well at all in 2012, hoping for a better summer this year, fingers crossed.



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