Archive for the 'Sowing & Seedlings' Category

mtp

The Cycle of Fresh Leaves

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I’ve been enjoying lots and lots of fresh greens from my greenhouse over the past month. There’s really nothing better than cutting a colander full of leaves and eating them right away.

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But the Rocket (Arugula) has started to go to seed and is coming to the end of its usefulness.

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So I sowed some more, about two weeks ago and already it’s almost big enough to pick a few leaves. I love this cycle. So healthy, both for me and the garden.

My plan is to keep growing until it’s time to plant Tomatoes in the bed in the greenhouse. At that point I’ll clear away these leaves and make the transfer to picking leaves from outside.

mtp

Time to Start Potting-On

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I’m potting on, yes it’s that time of year here. I sowed some Cabbage (Parel) and some Kale (Red Russian) a few weeks ago and they are already at the two true leaf stage. So I started to pot them on.

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I always find that there is an explosion of small pots in the greenhouse at this time of year and I simply don’t have enough tags to label them all. So I put them in rows and label the top pot, everything underneath is assumed to be the same plant. I have to trust myself later in Spring when I can’t tell the difference between a Cabbage and a Broccoli plant!

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I had a little helper too. My sweet 6 year old (how? why? when?) played ‘potting factory’ and filled the pots so they could go down the ‘production line’ and be filled with plants. Bless him, he’s actually quite interested in gardening. No forcing required.

spring onions

I started harvesting my Spring Onions today. And it’s not a minute too soon for me. I foolishly decided to broadcast sow them in a little patch between the stone path and the greenhouse door. This seemed like a good idea because you can get more into a smaller space.

The problem is, as they grow so do the weeds and the spaces in-between the plants are not wide enough to get a hoe in there. So the weeds just grow.

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Broadcast sowing other, more leafy plants like Carrot is fine since their leaf canopy blocks out more light and so the weeds don’t flourish. Spring Onions however, don’t have this so they are not ideal.

Anyway, we are harvesting now and I’m clearing the weeds as I go. Now, can someone remind me not to make the same mistake next year? Great, thanks.

mtp

Black Krim Tomato Seedlings

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I just love the way that these seedlings have burgundy coloured undersides to their leaves. It gives them a very dramatic look even at this early stage. You can’t really see here but they are just starting to produce their true leaves which are very dark green. Behind them I have some Borage seedlings.

The variety is Black Krim. They are beefsteak Tomatoes that I plan to grow inside the greenhouse with lots of support.

Once they hit the two true-leaf stage I’ll repot them into 2 inch pots and grow them on until planting time. I’m really interested to see how my Tomato-growing efforts go this year. I suspect that while I may not have any issues with blight, regular watering might be an issue instead. There’s always an issue – it doesn’t matter where you live.

mtp

First Seeds of the Year

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The very first seeds to be sowed in my brand, new garden are these little Radish seeds. I even broke out my new set of white, wooden row tags and carefully wrote the word ‘Radish’ on there. I resisted putting the variety on there since I’ll be reusing the tags but the variety is Cherry Belle.

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Potatoes in at Last

I planted my Potatoes. Finally!. After the mice ate my seed Potatoes I bought some more and hung them in their netting in the potting shed. They sprouted nicely and I managed to get them in the ground just before Easter. I had a few left and so I left them on the potting bench overnight. Sure enough, the next morning they were gone. Not so much as a crumb left. Fat, happy mice!

I didn’t grow any Potatoes last year. I decided that they took up too much room and weren’t worth the effort. But I missed them. There is something so satisfying about digging up those cold, hard pebbles. And something so earthy about the way they taste. Yes, I missed them. This time I’m going for an unusual variety – Highland Burgundy Red, which I’ve heard doesn’t taste as amazing as others but will keep the kids happy with its colour!

Got some time in the potting shed today. Took the time to sort out which seeds will be in the next batch to be sown. I’ll probably sow some Beetroot, Radish, Rocket and Spinach in the open ground – ready with the fleece should we get some late frosts. I’m going to sow more Borage this year too. I’m pretty sure that it will self seed from last year’s plants but I’m not taking too many chances and sowing some more too. Also several different types of Lettuce will go into the coldframe ready to transplant into the beds come late April. Last year I planted my Lettuce in this sunburst design which worked out really well. They were really planted too close together but so long as I harvested alternate Lettuces the design held together well.

mtp

Ahem… Seed Potato Protection

I wasn’t going to show you my failed attempts at protecting my seed potatoes from the mice that live in my potting shed. But I’ve decided they’re too comical to waste. Last year, I fed all my seed potatoes to the shed mice, not on purpose you understand, but they did eat them all.

This year, knowing that their hungry little tummies were waiting, I tried to protect my potatoes while still allowing them to chit nicely. I thought I had come up with a genius plan – contain them in a wire basket on top of an upturned pot. And it worked, for a few days at least. I think they were actually figuring out a way to get up the flowerpot rather than into the wire basket.

Then, yesterday, I checked and yes they had got in, eaten two of them and scarpered. Then I realised that while the wire mesh was decent enough there were two huge holes at the top where the handles meet. Doh! Sometimes you can’t see what’s right infront of your nose.

So… my options are:

  • 1. Buy more seed and plant without chitting (not a problem says Monty Don)
  • 2. Buy more seed and construct better protection (this option = time. A commodity I have little of these days).
  • 3. Poison mice (oh but no…)
  • 4. Poison mice by inserting poison pellets into seed potatoes (more fun for me and at least they die happy, oh but no…)

Option one it is then.

mtp

Early Sowings

I started sowing a few seeds today, in-between the over-Wintering Lettuce in the coldframe. Just a few, then if they don’t work out it’s not the end of the world. I sowed a little Cauliflower (Gipsy), Carrot (Early Nantes 2) and some pointy Cabbage (Pyramid). All early varieties.

I’ve found in the past that the early Carrots do quite well in the coldframe. I can grow them quite close together (just not touching) since I will be harvesting them nice and young anyway.

The Cabbage I will transplant into the garden in early Spring so that they can grow to their final size. There really isn’t enough room in the coldframe.

And I just sowed a handful of Cauliflowers and will probably thin them to just three and then sow some more in about a month. I really don’t want a glut of Cauliflowers all ready at the same time and they take up so much room in the garden. Starting them early in the coldframe is the only way for me as they will be grown and harvested before the Cabbage whites can get to them.

mtp

Carrot Seedlings Emerging

The Carrots that I sowed in the coldframe a few weeks ago are already pushing through. I think it’s all this mild weather we’ve been having. I always sow a few Carrots in the coldframe so that I can grow them on and harvest some small but perfect early Carrots (Early Nantes) before anything else gets going.

I have sowed some direct into finely raked soil in the open garden. At the moment they are covered with fleece in case we get a frosty night. No sign of them yet but I didn’t expect to see anything yet anyway.

The main garden is looking pretty bare in general right now, with the exception of some Tulips and the wall fruit flowers. But it’s all just waiting to burst into life!

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