Friday, 27 March 2015

Sowathon!

March has been a busy month for many reasons, and I've been way behind with seed-sowing for the new season, but in the last week I've squeezed in a few hours in the garden and taken the opportunity to catch up!


This time last week was the spring equinox, when the days become longer than the nights again (hurrah!), and it seemed like a good time to sow my tomato seeds. I potted up all the pepper, chilli and aubergine plants from the propagator - they're looking big and healthy and have been spending daytimes out in the plastic greenhouse (pic above) - and I sowed five varieties of tomatoes in their place: Amish Paste (a good cooking tomato, but tasty sliced as well), Dr Carolyn (delicious heritage variety!), Angelle (my favourite, from seeds saved from supermarket toms), Skykomish (a blight-resistant variety) and Indigo Rose (the 'black tomato', super-high in antioxidants). They all popped up in just four days and are growing away on the windowsill now. The electric propagator is a real help in getting warmth-loving seeds to germinate!


They look a bit leggy - I guess we've had some gloomy days lately - but they'll catch up with themselves and I'll plant them deep when I pot them up.

We spent a couple of hours topping up the big raised bed in the garden, with the last half-bag of the compost we bought for the purpose last year, plus a layer of new multi-purpose compost. I treated the bed with sulphur before sowing to try to begin lowering its high pH (see previous post), but I decided it might be overcautious to limit what I sow in it this year - after all, growth did seem to improve quite a lot during the course of last season, and the layer of fresh compost should help a bit too - so I'm trying a bigger variety of veg in it than I originally planned. It won't take long to see whether they grow well or not, and I can always resow something else later... The bed already contains some parsley, chives, garlic and perpetual spinach from last year, and I filled up the rest of the space with rows of carrots, turnips, lettuce, spring onions, komatsuna, watercress, spinach, kohlrabi, radishes and mustard.


I also sowed some more celeriac seeds. I had been hardening off my young celeriac plants, but then I read somewhere that if celeriac gets too cold in its first spring it can think it's in its second year, and go to flower rather than producing a good root. Last year's celeriac didn't actually go to flower, but it was a terrible failure and I wondered if my early-hardening-off could possibly be why... So this new set of seedlings will be coddled indoors until the temperatures are higher out there, and we'll see if it makes a difference!


The corner garden bed needed a good clear-up - it had quite a few weeds, last year's bean poles and old bean and pea plants, and some honeysuckle and snowberry invading fast. Once tidied, I sowed some peas and mangetout against the fence, and scattered mint leaves and chopped up dry mint stems over them to keep the mice away - it works a treat!

 

Finally, I sowed some chard, leaf celery and flowers (cerinthe and achillea) in cells in the plastic greenhouse, and planted some early 'Accent' potatoes in sacks. The potato shoots could be harmed by frost after they appear, so I'll need to keep an eye on them and keep earthing them up or throw fleece over them on cold nights. I've got six of these bags so I'll sow two more in two weeks, and two more two weeks later, to spread out my harvest a bit.


I'm nearly caught-up but there's still plenty more to do, and it'll be April in just a few days... In fact, I'd better get back out there!

1 comment:

Weekend-Windup said...

It is nice to see your efforts in growing plants.We don't get time when we spend our time in gardening!

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