Sunday, 17 March 2013

Seed Progress

Well, it's still VERY cold for the time of year (just in case you hadn't noticed...) so progress is rather slow, and much of the normal activity for this time of year has just had to be put on hold. It's two weeks since I made my first sowings, and this is how the seeds have progressed so far:


Tomatoes have done well and have been pricked out. Orange peppers and aubergines likewise, and they are inside my new heated propagator, which I picked up on Friday, 25% off and I had some vouchers to spend. I have left the vents open so they don't get too sweaty. To be honest it doesn't feel that warm inside it, but there is some condensation on the lid so it must be working. These seedlings are being kept inside in the conservatory, which is still very cold, but that's what heated propagators are for, and at least it's bright. Celeriac is doing well, and the chillies are just coming through.

In the greenhouse, the broad beans are doing ok, most of them came up in the end, just 4 no-shows  altogether. These will probably be used to replace the October-sown outdoor ones that have not survivedI the cold winter. I'm still hoping to sow some more direct, when it's warm/dry enough. The hardy annual flowers are mostly coming up, still waiting for the larkspur, sweet peas, sunflowers and scabious. It's quite encouraging, given how cold it's been.

I still haven't put any onions in, I haven't really had a chance to go to the allotment, what with the weather and work etc. I'm thinking of getting a soil thermometer, as I think we have had so few warm days that the soil will be much slower to warm this year. I don't want to sow too early and waste seed. Apparently potatoes need a soil temperature of 6 - 8 degrees to grow, and looking at the chits on my spuds their little sprouts are looking a bit reluctant, and not ready to be planted anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't end up going in until mid-April at this rate.

I'm struggling to stay philosophical about the weather, I know there's nothing we can do about it, but it will be unbearable if after all this cold and wet, we have another summer like last year. Please please PLEASE Mother Nature, don't let that happen....

Sunday, 3 March 2013

First of this season's sowing

The trusty windowsill propagator has been taken out, wiped down and plugged in, and into that has gone Sungold and Marmande tomatoes, aubergine 'Ophelia' (mini ones), red and orange peppers, celeriac, Caribbean, Orange Habanero and Memorial Day chillies. (After last year's disaster, I've decided to give celeriac one more chance...)

In addition to these, I have done a variety of hardy annuals: scabious, sweet peas, sunflowers, calendulas, larkspur, godetia, cornflower, chrysanthemum, borage, and echium. These I have sown in pots in the greenhouse. Some are just for the bees, and some are for my cutting patch.  The plan is to sow the half hardy annuals in the propagator once the tomatoes etc have been potted on.

The allotment has been almost all dug over and will soon be ready for planting. I suppose I can begin putting in onions etc quite soon. I've been delaying most of my sowing this year as it's been so cold, but I don't think onions mind a bit of cold soil. I've also got a couple of lily bulbs that have started to shoot in their packaging, so I suppose they will have to go in as well - it does say plant Feb - June so they should be ok.

After such a long, cold and wet winter I'm really champing at the bit now to get going, I think there is milder spring weather just around the corner now....