There is lots of new growth now the days are getting longer. Indoors the usual tender crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are coming along well in small Air-Pot containers, ready to set out in the greenhouse as soon as the cold nights have passed. An experimental Autumn sowing of Aquadulce Claudia hardy broad beans in a pot is looking good. Keeping them in the greenhouse through the coldest weather means the plants are well advanced compared to outdoor sowings. They flowered well and were visited by bees so pods will now be swelling.
Digging around in the greenhouse I spied what appeared to be an Avocado pip sprouting a green leaf, when carefully lifted it turned out to be a fat sweet chestnut (no idea how it got there) with a substantial tap root thrusting downwards. This type of vigorous tap root will quickly become pot bound in a conventional pot; they hit the base and are forced sideways into an ‘L’ shape and then circle endlessly seeking a way out. Of course this Chestnut went straight into an Air-Pot container which will air-prune the tap root, encouraging a more branched root system with more fine feeding roots.
Some palm trees which were recently potted-on into bigger containers proved to have well air-pruned roots. Thick succulent roots of a date palm poked out through holes in the raised base of an Air-Pot but were unable to extend further due to the drying air circulating under the pot. Another well controlled root structure was in evidence when recently repotting an agapanthus. This is in contrast to the ordinary pot it came in which had been split open by these rather thuggish roots.
Once again the Hostas are thrusting up, looking like a miniature forest. Every year they get get more vigorous and more densely jammed into the pots. Best of all they do not suffer from slug damage. We think the side of an Air-Pot is a bit of an obstacle course for the slimy pests.
The cherry trees in pots have broken bud and are showing lots of blossom, and a pip grown apple tree is going to produce its first ever blossom. If an apple results it will be interesting to see if the genetic dice-roll has been lucky. It could be delicious like the Pink Lady parent or it could be a sour like a crab apple. All the advice is not to bother growing apple cultivars from pips as they are usually unstable hybrids but this was from a pip which actually germinated inside a Pink Lady apple so I felt it deserved a chance.