With all the Gingers safely planted in the hotbed most have started into growth and are visible above the surface of the compost. Compost temperature remains at around 33°C and even those not yet visible have started into growth below ground. Now that we’re getting almost 14 hours of light, some of which has a very strong UV component it’s time to put up the shade netting. In the main, Zingiberaceae are plants of the forest floor and they don’t respond well to masses of direct sunlight. We’re pretty pleased with the state of the bed now. There may be a few gingers for sale in May.
This year we are going to use external shading. This is a first for the Greenhouses as we usually use internal shade netting. But this artificially limits the available growth height. Some of our gingers are giants. We expect the Hedychium stenopetalum, the Zingiber spectabile and the Alpinia zerumbet all to reach over 6 foot in height and several others won’t be far behind. External shading give us another 50cm of height. Quite how we’re going to get up to fix the netting on the cold frame side is going to be a question of trial and error.
Henrietta has finished painting the end display panel which also provides shade from the South. Once the shading is up this panel will be screwed back into place and the ‘jardin ombragé’ will be complete. Now we need to pay attention to the side and back of the greenhouse.
Along the West wall we intend to grow Melons. We are going to grow two charentais varieties. We’ve grown Cucumis melo ‘Alvaro’ F1 AGM from an early sowing in February. These have been kept in the 20°C propagator even after pricking out into 1L pots. ‘Emir’ F1 has been grafted on to a squash rootstock and is already pretty vigorous also in 1L pots. These will be potted on to a growing sack made out of a Sainsbury’s ‘Bag for Life’ at the workshop. We’ll probably leave the ‘Alvaro’ in the propagator for another two weeks. We also want to grow Melothria scabra – Cucamelon. We’re had some success we this fun fruit before but at present they’ve not germinated.
We want to produce more fruit in the greenhouse this year and of higher quality. We’re going to pay attention to ensuring each plant carries the optimum amount of fruit. We’ll be hand-pollinating the Melons. We’re also going to restrict fruiting on the Passionfruit and possibly on the Nectarine where our earlier hand pollination has set quite a bit of fruit. As for the Cucamelons, we’re going to force feed them and get them to the roof. It’s great to have a greenhouse…
For the East wall we will have a display of exotic flowering vines and lianas. These have been grown from seeds and rhizomes and will also need to be planted into grow bags in the coming weeks so that they can establish, climb and flower before our opening date.