The shambles that was the early season is behind us. I now have 13 decent size plants, including three grafted plants I unexpectedly received from Suttons to try out. The latest job has been to pot all the plants on to their final 9L pots and to set those up in their final growing positions in the greenhouse. I decided in the end that I would go to the trouble of setting up the reservoir watering system I first tried last year. That’s a rather grand name for a few plastic tubs and a few planks, but it seemed to work. The basic idea is to use capillary matting to supply the plants with water on a consistent basis. The roughly triangular pieces of matting are poked through holes in the plank, far enough so that they reaches the bottom of the tubs which I have filled with water.

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These are then poked in turn through the bottoms of the 9L pots I’m using.

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The matting needs to surround the rootball but otherwise the process of transplanting is the same as normal.

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If the watering system works the way I expect, these plants should grow on well in the protected environment of the greenhouse. I need to provide some support for them, but there isn’t enough clearance for long canes. I’ve decided instead to use string, following the roofline. I’ll be able to wind the plants around the string and they’ll be able to grow all the way up to the apex of the roof.

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The plants all seem quite at home in their new accommodation, I am hopeful of getting a decent crop, and most importantly of avoiding the dreaded blight. No fruit has set, but there are some flowers, so the signs are good.

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Based on my experience last year, a full tub of water lasts about 4 weeks, plenty of time to cover for holidays and forgetful gardeners.

I’ll be back with another update in a few weeks, hopefully involving fruit!

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