Running out of windowsill to sow Courgette and Dill

Whilst clearing windowsills to make way for some newly sown vegetables, an unwelcome pest gets its comeuppance.

I’ve just sown a couple of Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ and some Dill seeds into some pots and popped them into my propagator with the Cineraria ‘Maritima Silverdust’ that’s busy germinating.

In a couple of weeks i’ll also be sowing some French Bean ‘Blue Lake’. I last grew these in 2010 and was kept in a steady supply of green beans for the whole harvest season. Fingers crossed that they will be as successful this time too.

Harvested Courgettes and French Beans.
My harvested Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ and French Bean ‘Blue Lake’ from 2010.

I’ve been rapidly running out of windowsills, so I’ve cleared an entire windowsill of my Spider Plants ‘Chlorophytum Comosum’ – which i often add to containers as bedding.

Scale Insects
Close-up of Scale Insects. Photo: Gilles San Martin.

However, whilst clearing the windowsill I’ve discovered that these plants had Scale insects – tiny brown/orange sticky bugs that suck the sap and secrete a sticky solution over the leaves and anything else they come into contact with.

So, I’ve really had to clear the windowsill with hot soapy water (and a blast of Dettol spray for luck!). Those Spider Plants are now outside where they’ll spend the rest of their days – dodging frosts.

A sweet feast goes sour

The Sweet Peas have come under attack from a colony of aphids; the garden gets another roasting; and some houseplants find their way outside.

I came home this afternoon after a day away in Northamptonshire, to find the garden seriously roasted once again and in desperate need of a drink (the Parsley Japanese ‘Cryptotaenia Japonica’ seems to be the first to wilt but is soon upright again) but also to find that my Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’ were absolutely covered in aphids.

Aphids swarming on Sweet Pea plants
The Aphids were having a great time on the Sweet Peas.

Every leaf, and in particular every bud, had a flock of marauding green bugs clinging to it.

So, out came the plant sprayer containing some tap water and a liberal helping of Fairy Liquid. This is an old trick, and one that i used a few weeks ago when aphids started appearing on the rose bush next to the Sweet Peas. The aphids soon vanished from the rose so fingers crossed that it will swiftly work here too.

It’s pretty simple to do: Just get one of those cheap water sprayers, fill it with cold tap water, add some washing-up liquid and spray this sticky oily mixture onto the aphids. Aphids breathe through their skin, but with a sticky oily coating all over them, it seals their skin up and they suffocate (nice).

One of the plants to suffer in the heat whilst I was out was the lovely blue Salvia ‘Nemerosa Ostfriesland’ – adored by bees. So I have decided to pot it up into a spare medium-sized container. Around the edge are some of the left-over but more upright of the Antirrhinum ‘Chuckles’ plants and inbetween those goes some Spider Plant ‘Chlorophytum Comosum’ plants – a native of South Africa but generally grown indoors in the UK as easy-to-keep houseplants. These won’t survive our winter, but they are so easy to grow and their foliage will be a great contrast to the blue Salvia (fingers crossed it recovers) and the mixture of the Antirrhinums.

The Rocket ‘Skyrocket’ salad leaves have had their day now. So I have pulled out the tired plants that have been desperate to flower, and will re-sow the pot. Last time it took them 3 days to germinate.