Season finale 2019 – final harvest

It’s that time again folks, the growing season here at Ar Bruidair is coming to an end, so this weekend we went about tidying, clearing out, cutting back and harvesting what needed to be harvested. I’m not going to look at it as a sad day though, instead I’m going to look at it as the beginning of next season.

Really happy with this year, the new greenhouse is certainly making life easier and we’ve had a constant supply of peppers and tomatoes this year. Even though I accidentally grew three bush types – not a lot of space. We did have a batch of unripened tomatoes which last year I used to make passata and chutney, this year we didn’t get quite that amount.

First time this year that we’ve grown Roma Peppers, and we’ll be adding that to our list. Awesome peppers and a bit fun. Although, word of warning, the smaller ones look a bit like large jalapenos so be careful 🙂

But generally, we’re pretty happy. We’ve had the usual courgette fun – find them before they become marrows. That’s always a fun game.

And I know you were all advising me to wear gloves when dealing with the courgettes, so I promise, I did for the final harvest – just for you guys.

A bit easier in the greenhouse, not as prickly or as cold, but big bowl fulls of jalapenos and San Marzano tomatoes. Yum! And not to forget the amazing mix of peppers.

The fun this year has to go to the carrots though, I don’t think I’ve had a single straight carrot, but I have had some Instagram stars…

The Jacob Reese Mogg (recumbent) of the carrot world went down a storm on twitter.

And I’ll leave this one to your imagination…

Going to put a bit more focus on flowers next year, so you’ll see a few changes in the greenhouse, namely a little bit less in the way of tomatoes and peppers, but hopefully, that will make for better-hanging baskets and borders, hurrah! And hopefully even BIGGER sunflowers than this year… which have been whoppers! Kate took some photos to show you… With an Eli for scale.

This is our tallest one

And our smallest…

I suspect the next few weeks will see lots of cooking to use up garden goodies, it may even be courgette fritters for tea tonight.

If you have a harvest bounty and are running out of ideas…

http://www.eliapplebydonald.co.uk/blog/category/food-drink/bountiful_harvest

I think there may be a few more recipes coming your way soon to use up the amazing harvests we’re all having.

As ever, pop over to Youtube to join me in the greenhouse for a bit of a chat




Winter spiced tea recipe

Spiced tea was a recent discover for me, and to be honest, at first I wasn’t sure. Now however I am a full on convert. It’s another of those little comforters for the dark cold months we are about to embrace.

So where did this come form? Well for me, it was an innocuous little packet of tea we bought in Whittards. It was cold and dark and Kate and I were trampling along the high street near to christmas. I was becoming more and more annoyed at the endless christmas themed latte tasters that the coffee shops were offering as we passed. Kate was having a blast but at that time I hadn’t developed a love for coffee, so felt left out.

Luckily we passed Whittards and that mean I could treat myself to some nice tea to take home. After all the pumpkin spiced lattes, gingerbread lattes and Black Forest mochas Kate was sampling, the idea of a winter spiced tea grabbed me and I grabbed a bag of it. Off home we went.

This wasn’t the traditional Chai Masala or Chai latte, it was much more subtle and for me, much more winter (think cards with robins and snow). I loved it, subsequently so did my friend Hayley who loves tea as much as me and so we usually end up sharing new found delights.

So… to jump to the end of this rather long and meandering tale… this year I am making my own and it’s not as hard as you think. I make my own Lady Grey (and Hayley approves) so I jumped right in.

The dominant flavour (and aroma) for this tea is cloves. I know, shocker, I was absolutely assuming cinnamon given the associations with winter, but nope. It’s actually cloves. The secondary aroma and flavour is orange peel.

To make the tea

Ok we are going to make this as one mug of tea. You will need:

  • Black tea (tea bag or loose leaf but enough for one mug). Assam works great but any black tea will do the job. Avoid already flavoured or scented teas like Early Grey though)
  • An orange or satsuma to get that citrus peel. You just need a couple of bits of peel.
  • 4 cloves (whole). This sounds like a lot, but we are using them whole and not grinding them so they actually impart way more aroma than flavour.

How to

Brew your mug of tea to your liking. I drink my tea black so I don’t like it too strong. Then simply steep your cloves and orange peel in your mug of tea. Make sure you have a plan for how to get them out again. I have a little one mug tea pot with a filter basket that I use.

That’s it. Really. It’s so easy, but such a lovely, makes you smile cuppa.




Starting carrots in the root trainer

Way back in March when I was getting the spring planting underway, I spoke to you about the problems I can have getting carrots and beetroot to take. Mostly due to the length of time it takes for the ground to heat up here in Scotland and the fact that we can have gorgeous, warm spring weather one week and back to snow the next.

Well this year I took you guys on a bit of a different journey with me, I tried something which was a bit of a mad experiment. One random moment in the greenhouse I just thought, “what the heck”. I saw the root trainers sitting on the bench empty and decided to have a go at planting the carrots in them, that way I could keep them in the greenhouse, away from the pearls of the Scottish spring and hopefully, hopefully, give them a chance to establish before I put them out into the raised beds.

Well I am very happy to say that this worked an absolute treat and will now be my new go to way of getting carrots and beetroot going in spring.

The carrots not only ALL made it this year, but they came on so quickly and were ready to each much faster than normal. unfortunately the experiment of using the seed tape for beetroot wasn’t as successful, but next year the beetroot will be joining the carrots in their new adventure.

So one very happy houseful, eating lots of purple carrots as normal. Hooray!!

We put out a video on Friday so come have a wander around the garden with me, but watch out for those courgette plants. They sting like mad!




Autumn is the time to give your lawn some love

You have all joined us on our journey from blocked car park to luscious lawn, so we thought it only fair to share some important autumn tips with you.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the hardest plants to grow and maintain in our garden, believe it or not, is grass. Well, not in all those places you don’t want it to; like between the paving slabs, in the flower beds and rockery, even in the greenhouse, but trying to get that beautiful, flat, green lawn is a heck of a load of work and I suspect it’s one of the reasons people give in with gardening early on because they didn’t realise just how much work a lawn is.

front of house
How the front looked when we bought the house

Way back when we first bought the house, there wasn’t a lawn. The previous owners had been elderly and found it was too much for them, so they had replaced it with a paved area which more suited their lifestyle. Kate, however, had two images in her head of what it meant to be a proper house owner and paving slabs weren’t on that list (house owner not flat or apartment owner).

These were;

  1. shovelling snow from your driveway
  2. mowing your front lawn.

So as you can imagine, quite early on we decided to lift the paving and lay a lawn. There is now quite a library of blog posts for your perusal all about our lawn adventures. Everything from laying the lawn to accidentally killing it and then having to re-seed it.

So over the last few years, we have learned about grass and lawns and how to look after them and we now have our yearly routine.

It all starts in the Autumn

or September to be precise.

After the summer, the lawn has been growing rapidly and using up nutrients in the soil, so it needs a really good feed. Not just a feed though, it needs feed with Autumn lawn food, high in potash and phosphates which will protect the grass from frost and ice. The high nitrogen spring/summer feeds encourage lots of leafy, top growth, which is soft and easily damaged by frosts, so you don’t want to use these for autumn and winter.

However, before we feed the lawn, we need to give it a good scarify to take out any moss, dead grass, dead leaves etc that are clogging up the soil and potentially taking nutrients away from our lawn. This is called thatch. This is also a good time to go around with a garden fork and put lots of holes into the lawn to release some of the pressure from the compacted earth and to allow air, water and nutrients down to the roots.

Unfortunately scarifying is as much work as digging, so prepare to be knackered, blistered and in pain, but we have found that gin and tonic that evening at least helps with the pain.

So how do I scarify the lawn?

We have found that the best way to do this is to rake the entire lawn in one direction and then go back and repeat this in the opposite direction, kind of like crisscrossing (or kriss krossing if you are a child of the nineties).

Now you can think about feeding. You can use dried food (which is most common) but be careful, we have a fine type of ornamental grass in our front lawn and it burns so, so, so easily. As you all know, so be careful. You won’t have to feed the grass as often during the colder months at all, maybe once in autumn once in winter (at most).

It starts again in spring…

So there you go, Autumn chores are done, but I did say we had a yearly routine….

Yep, you have to do all this again in the spring, just in time for the new shoots to pop up and say hello. However, the feed you use for spring and summer is different, you want high nitrogen feeds for this time of year. You want that green, soft growth I mentioned earlier.

Mowing really takes it out of the grass and so you need to feed it regularly throughout summer and spring. Our efforts over the last couple of years have shown us that feeding fortnightly with a high nitrogen feed works wonders and just for a bit of a giggle and to show how wonderful it is, here is a photo of the lawn when Kate hadn’t been paying attention when feeding. Make sure you use good straight and overlapping lines when you feed folks. Or this could happen.

IMAG2471

Can you see the parts which didn’t get the feed? I still chuckle when I see this.

Of course, you are actually wanting to see this… nice and even.

Moss

Lastly a bit of a tip for dealing with moss. If you’ve ever had a mossy lawn and applied the various moss killing treatments, you may very well have had the heart-stopping moment where your lawn suddenly develops huge black patches where the lawn once was. This is horrible, you put all that work in and it looks worse than when you started.

Luckily, thanks to Beechgrove garden, Kate has a solution to this, she uses a product called Mobacter. It works a little differently, it does kill the moss, yes, but you don’t get the huge black or bald spots because what it does is break the moss down and turn it into food for the grass so it actually feeds the grass at the same time as killing the moss. A word of warning though, it has the weirdest smell, be warned, it’s like a mixture of chocolate and chicken poo…. very weird and not very pleasant for a couple of days.

But worth it!

IMAG3786

Just for you… here is our explanation of scarifying your lawn – our pain and blisters included free of charge.




Let’s have a look back at 2019 so far

It’s not the end of the year, so it may seem a little silly to be looking back over 2019, however, when you are a gardener you are always reflecting and the end of one season and the start of the next is the perfect opportunity.

March

It’s hard to imagine the garden cold and bare, looking out now into the sunshine, but until March this year, there really wasn’t much happening. It was still far too cold to plant any seeds, even with a greenhouse, so March is when it all started. March is our “get seedlings going month” and also the month when we usually have a wee dabble in something new.

This year we tried something a bit different for beetroot in the raised beds. We used seed tape. I’ve always liked the idea of seed tape for the carrots, mainly because with the smaller seeds like carrots, you always sow too many and have to “thin them out” later on. This basically means pulling the “runts” and binning them. Which I hate doing, it’s just such a waste (more on carrots in a second).

So we saw seed tape and gave it a try.

If you’ve never used this before, it’s basically a big row of seeds encased in some paper. So you bury the whole strip and you get the precise amount of seeds, at the precise spacing you need for your bed. Sound awesome.

Not to mince my words… it was crap! We have had precisely NO BEETROOT this year. None, zip, squat, zero, nadda! Won’t be using that stuff again!

Obviously there could be lots of reason for this, but given that beetroot is probably our most successful crop ever and we are usually giving them away, this year has been a blow. We have had leaves, almost every seed germinated, but they just either bolted or didn’t give us anything other than leaves. Sigh! So this post has started with fail…. onto a win then 🙂

CARROTS!!!!!!!!

Yup, we tried something a tad different with the carrots this year too… not seed tape but root trainers. Which I will admit was a bit on the mad side, but hey that’s how we roll!

If you aren’t sure what root trainers are, they are little seed trays that are really tall, letting the seedling roots develop without being impeded by a shallow pot or tray. They split apart so that you can take each little plant out and plant it without disturbing the roots.

So I planted the carrot seeds directly into these and it meant I could bring the carrots on in the greenhouse, which is a bit warmer than the raised beds. It worked a treat. The carrots ALL germinated, and all came on really quickly. And best of all, no need to thin any carrots out, I used all the seedlings – smug!!!!!!

This seems to have made a huge difference with the carrots this year, all of them have been huge and most of them have been pretty straight. Normally we have some right weird ones.

The new greenhouse has been great in letting me try out these ideas. Having the staging makes it so much easier for me to deal with seedlings in there, without the constant back pain of having things on the floor. It was even great to get hanging baskets started off in there, now that I have hanging rails.

Only downside though, I kept smacking my head on them.

April

April was a busy month, busy, busy, busy. We had banana bread, hot-cross buns and little name tags for the plants.

The name tags were so much fun to make (who doesn’t like hitting things with a hammer?) and have been a whopping success. The greenhouse and beds all still have their little tags and they are all completely readable.

There was one bit of sad news in April though, Jim McColl, the longstanding presenter of Beechgrove garden retired. He has been an inspiration of mine and indeed can probably be blamed for my start off in gardening. So… it was only fitting that I paid tribute.

May

So April came and went, the seedlings got bigger and got planted on but just before then… some of them got brand new homes to go to. We have started the huge job of replacing our old, falling apart, raised beds.

To be fair, those beds were never meant to last this long, they were a tester to see if we liked the idea of gardening, I’m guessing we do then?

So out with the old and in with the new, solid railway sleeper raised beds.

new raised beds made from railways sleepers

I think you’ll agree that they do look absolutely amazing… but there was an awful lot of digging and moving heavy things involved and …. I put my back out.

Eli levelling the ground for the raised beds

I wish I could say that this was my only downside of May to tell you about, but alas it’s not to be. Some muppet also burned the hell out of the front lawn. It looked awful…. I wonder who that was????

But it did give us something to focus on and you guys really enjoyed joining in with us on social media and following the hashtag we created. It was fun hearing from you all on the stories of your lawn problems and knowing you were rooting for us (pun intended).

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/isthelawngreenyet/?hl=en

June

June saw the lawn go from bald to lush as the sun finally started to wake up and give us some sunny bright days and the greenhouse came alive.

The tomatoes began appearing and we even named a tomato plant in honor of Jim (see the previous mention of Jim McColl).

June was such a successful month that I don’t have any failures to tell you about, only successes, so instead let me remind you how amazing homemade Bakewell tart is….. mmmmmmm

We blogged our recipe especially for Luke, the young gentlemen who lives next door. We gave him some last Christmas and he has apparently been raving about it, so we gave him the recipe. He’s yet to pop in with a slice for me to try…. disappointed. This year he is getting coal!!!

July

Boy, this was only meant to be a quick update blog post but it’s been such a busy year, we’ve so much to tell you.

So July, I think the best thing I can do for July is not to tell you how awesome it was, instead let me show you. Fancy coming for a walk around the garden with me?

So that finally brings us to August

In August I shared two of my top gardening tips with you, pollinating your greenhouse by hand to increase your harvest and deadheading your flower to increase the colour and beauty in your garden.

We did have one sad face for August, I told you guys about our first experience of blossom end rot. Was a sad one as this was also the first time we’d grown San Marzano tomatoes so it was really frustrating to see something stealing them from us, but the good news is…. we think we’ve defeated it – yippeeeeeeee.

Watch out for a youtube video on Friday to find out more…..

So that’s us, a mahoosive update for you on the year so far… I can only guess what’s still to come. Keep popping back to find out.




A garden update for August

It’s the end of August, summer is beginning to pass to make way for all the gorgeous colours of autumn and I guess that’s probably the perfect time to give you an update on the garden for this season so far and let you know how things have been with the new greenhouse.

I’ve probably done fewer updates this year than normal, but it’s not because there is nothing happening, it’s simply because there hasn’t really been anything new or exciting to tell you guys about, and I don’t want to bore you with lots of repeats.

The main thing this year has been that we are now one season in with our lovely glass greenhouse (named Olive).

The greenhouse update

So… apart from being way cleaner and prettier the new greenhouse is also fabulously less steamy and icky. Due to the extra vents along to two longer sides and the two automatic windows in the roof. So she doesn’t rely on me opening and closing things, she takes care of that all by herself! hurrah!

In terms of the plants in there, it’s the same as usual, we are growing tomatoes, peppers and chillies and the greenhouse is overfull. So no news there then 🙂

We have decided though, that we are not making the best use of the space, as it tends to be completely dominated by eatables (see aforementioned tomatoes) and this means we have been putting our flower plugs out far too early and not really getting the best from them. So we have decided that next year we will be making a change, and the greenhouse will be evenly split between fruit and veg and flowers. So that should be a fantastic new adventure to join us in. Ok if we are honest, we started without you guys. Sorry. We have already taken the seeds from our foxgloves and planted them up in seed trays. Can’t wait to see how they come on.

The raised beds

We are continuing to love having the courgettes outdoors, the plants just seem way happier and way more fruitfull, although as always we end up with marrows because we can’t keep up. Kate is actually making courgette fritters as I type to try to use up a batch I picked yesterday.

We replaced two of the beds this year and now have big, sturdy beds made with railway sleepers. The last bed had strawberries in there so it won’t get a refresh until spring. But it is so nice to not worry about the beds completely falling apart on us now.

The lawn

Now, I am super smug about the lawn. The lawn has been this year’s massive success story. Well to be fair, the fact that there was an issue was my fault, to begin with, but we’ll just gloss over that part and go, look…

from this…

to this…

You can go read the full story in previous posts, but I’m choosing to just bask in the success bit.

The flowers

This is just an excuse to post pictures of sunflowers.

Which are VERY tall

So, there we go, a quick update on the garden and the fun of this month. If you want a more in-depth look at things, grab a cuppa and sit back and watch the video update




Blossom end rot on my tomatoes for the first time ever

I’ve a sad story to tell today, we’ve had our very first experience of blossom end rot. Sigh! Thing is, it’s not necessarily unusual for gardeners to experience this with their tomatoes, it’s just the first time we’ve seen it so we thought it would be a great thing to share and hopefully help you guys learn along with us and make it less common.

It sound dramatic, doesn’t it, blossom end rot! Like a leg is going to fall off or something, but in reality its a wee black spot on the end of a tomato. Yup a tomato so it doesn’t even affect the entire plant, so not nearly as dramatic as say, potato blight. But still, an annoyance just the same.

So what exactly is it?

Well like I said, a wee black spot on the end of the tomato. But the wee black spot gets a bit bigger and becomes sunken because the flesh of the tomato under the spot is a bit on the dodgy side. I won’t say rotten, but essentially yeah, it might as well be. And it’s not just on the outside, it carried on inside the tomato too.

And it’s cause?

Well basically it’s down to watering, well watering and calcium deficiency. It’s caused by calcium deficiency, basically this deficiency shows itself in the furthest away part of the plant from the roots, so the very end of the fruit.

I said it’s to do with watering because most of the time this is exactly what has caused the issue, poor watering. See for the calcium to get from the roots to the very ends of all the branches, and essentially the fruit, there needs to be good water flow. Generally the soil has enough calcium for the plant, its just that it can’t get to where it needs to be.

So this is what caused my problems I think, this year I am getting used to the new greenhouse and this has meant getting used to all the small changes, like how quickly the plants are draining the water reservoir. So yeah there was a couple of times that the water ran out before I had realised and I think this has caused the problem.

Now here’s the next conundrum, it is only affecting one type of tomato plant – my San Marzano plums. And even more strange… there is one plant in each of the quadgrow planters, so not both in the same water supply.

Da da daaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

Ok I was trying to make a big Dan Brown style conspiracy thing out of nothing there. There is a perfectly sensible reason why it’s specifically affecting these two plants. They are both at the same end of the quadgrow planters, the far end from the door. The end that is very, slightly uphill in the greenhouse. Cause you know, life would be too easy if the greenhouse floor was perfect level.

So what has happened is that the water has begun to dry up, and as the floor slopes, the furthest end has been left without water first, meaning those two plants were the first ones to feel the drought and so, had just long enough for it to cause an issue.

So, I did consider the trick of adding Epsom Salts to the water to help the plants absorb calcium (old gardener’s trick) but I think it would be overkill for such a silly thing, so instead I have simply set an alert on my phone to remind me to check the water levels. That pops up ever Sunday, so we shouldn’t have anymore issues of the plants running out of water.

I’ll keep you guys updated on how we get on but in the meantime to make you feel all happy and smiley again… how about I share a picture of this little blue tilt who came to visit with his friend?




Iced coffee – 3 ways, latte, and freddo

I have been getting into iced coffee this summer in a big way thanks to my teammate Iraklis who introduced me to Freddo Espresso. I’m not a huge fan of those sweet high st. coffee chain iced coffees so when he introduced me to the strong, black greek version I was hooked.

So I thought I’d share my iced coffee secrets with you guys since we’re about to get a warm snap and you might fancy one.

So iced coffee, 3 ways. Let’s start with the milky, sweet iced latte.

Iced Latte

Think of those creamy, sweet iced coffees you get from high st. coffee shops like Starbucks. This is my super easy version, you need

  • 600ml cold coffee,
  • a tin of condensed milk

So cold coffee, you can either brew coffee overnight using cold water or make regular coffee and then let it cool and refrigerate. Pick which method is easiest for you, I usually just chill a normal batch of coffee for this.

Now since you are using condensed milk, which you can’t really use in small amounts easily as you buy by the tin, I make a large batch of these coffees and keep them in the fridge for when Kate needs a nice, cold, latte hit. I get about 5 or 6 small iced coffees from this batch.

So what’s the trick… it’s really complicated, I’m not sure you’d manage…. add condensed milk to coffee, stir lots and lots to mix it up, serve over ice.

Thick, creamy, sweet, mmmmmmm

Freddo Espresso

Next is my favourite iced coffee, Freddo Espresso. It is very simple, just espresso over ice, but… the espresso is whipped to make it really thick and creamy. My teammate at work, Iraklis, introduced me to these. He is Greek and this is his favourite Greek iced coffee. So for this one, you need a fancy gizmo, a drinks mixer.

I have heard other folk saying you can do this using your stick blender, but Iraklis has assured me it just isn’t the same, and I trust him, so I got one of these widgets.

It is basically a really high powered whisk that lets you whisk the coffee up really quickly.

So basically to make a Freddo Espresso you just need

  • espresso

Yup that simple, obviously to do the whole iced coffee thing you need ice, but generally I’m assuming you have that one coffered.

So it goes like this. Put your espresso into a large cup and add one ice cube just to cool it down. Then whisk. It will take a couple of minutes to get it all properly whisked and creamy but you’ll be amazed. Then pour it over ice in a glass and enjoy.

The coffee separates out like a proper espresso with the dark coffee and light crema but keeps that lovely luxurious taste. A word of warning though, even though this is just an espresso, it packs a punch. I don’t know if it’s because the coffee is cold, but it tasted like it’s a way more powerful espresso than normal.

Now you have a choice, you can serve this as is, but you can also tweak it. Namely, the Greeks serve this as either plain or sweet. So you can choose to sweeten to your taste. Apparently, most folks drink it as medium sweet, which is a big spoon of sugar in the espresso, mixed to dissolve before you whisk.

Now I mentioned that you can have this 3 ways, and we already mentioned, as it comes or sweetened. The third is with milk.

Freddo Cappuccino

The Freddo Cappuccino is simply the Freddo Espresso but with a small amount of cold, whipped milk added. Just like a regular cappuccino.

So again, whip your espresso and pour over ice. Then whip a small amount of milk using your widget and pour this on top of your espresso. It gives you a softer, less punch you in the face coffee hit 🙂

So there you go, iced coffee three ways.




Deadheading your flowers: why, how and when?

Deadheading basically just means taking the spent flowers off your plants and there are two good reasons why you should:

  1. dead and decaying flowers just don’t look great and can make your whole plant look a bit ropey
  2. it can encourage your plant to keep flowering for longer or even give you a whole second flush of flowers

Why & when?

Well, basically the whole purpose of life (plants and animals) is to reproduce. For plants, this means producing flowers, which turn into seeds which then disperse. And Voila! Baby plants. So if you take off the flowers after they have stopped looking gorgeous but before they set seed, it will encourage most plants to create more flowers.

It doesn’t work with all plants, but for some, like sweetpeas, it’s absolutely essential.

Most nights after work, we take a short walk around the garden with a bucket and pull any flower heads which we think have “gone over”. So that’s our petunias, primula, viola, mimula, marigolds, gerbera, etc.

How?

Just pinch the faded blossoms off the stem, or you can cut them with scissors. With some plants, you may get more than one flower per stem so be careful not to cut a stem below a bud which hasn’t opened yet. That would defeat the purpose somewhat.

Also, a fantastic tip, from experience, be careful if you pull a plant, if the roots aren’t strong you may actually pull the plant out of the soil (I’ve done this a few times). So pinch the flower off with your fingernail or snip with scissors just to be safe.




The jade plant adventure finishes

Well my adventure with the jade plants has come to an end. The very last of the little cuttings has gone to it’s forever home and my plants are looking happy and healthy.

I am becoming quite the regular at delivering plants by bike.

I can’t believe I went from absolute panic that I was going to lose my plant, and I really believed I was, to having so many healthy jade plants that I was having to find new homes for them as they had taken over the house.

jade plants on a table

I ended up giving away 6 plants from my smaller cuttings and one of the larger ones and I smile when I wander around work and see them on people’s desks.

It has been an amazing adventure and I have learned so much about taking care of my plants. Here are my top tips about taking care of your jade plants, learned from my experience:

  1. Watering
    You can so very easily over water your plant and it will have a huge impact so be very mean when it comes to watering. I have found that you absolutely cannot tell if the plant needs watered just by the soil alone, even sticking your finger deep into the pot. I repotted a plant recently to give to a friend (remember the weird looking stick of a cutting) and found the soil was bone dry until a couple of inches form the bottom of the pot where it was soaking wet. So be aware of that.

    Instead I have been leaving the plants until the leave feel slightly soft to the touch, then I water by giving the plant a good soak. A really good soak, but then leave it until the leaves go slightly soft again. This can actually be a couple of months.

  2. Feeding
    Jade plants need feeding just like any other potted plant but sparingly. Depending on the size of the plant and how long it has been in the pot, every 4 to 6 months. The difficulty though is that feeding on dry soil is complicated as the feed doesn’t permeate the soil as well, so I have found the best way is to water the plant as normal with about half as much water and then once the soil is damp, then add the feed. This has been working well and I can see the result in the plants leaves. All shiny and glossy.
  3. Light
    These plants need A LOT of light, but don’t sit them in strong, direct, sunlight if you can help it. I have a filter on my window which was a bit like sugar glass. So not coloured but just defused the light a little. The plant really didn’t seem to like this. So try to find a nice bright spot.
  4. Pruning
    The last thing I have learned is to be brave and prune and train your plants to look the way you want. The plants will give you so much please as a beautiful thing to look at. They are hardy when it comes to pruning and even a little bit of wiring to encourage them to grow in a certain direction if you want.

Mostly my biggest tip is to just enjoy your jade plant, they really are beautiful plants and a little bit of love goes a long way.

You can catch up on the whole adventure below if you have missed out on any of the previous posts (see the related posts section).