Greenhouse-seeds and a story

Julie at Peonies and posies is posting about her very beautiful greenhouse this week so I decided to synchronise my post with hers; so that we can easily compare sowing times and we can see how we use our greenhouses.  If you have a greenhouse or just sow seeds on the windowsill why not join in and we can all learn from each other.  Also as promised is the story of how I got my greenhouse!

From the middle of January to the middle of February is one of the busiest times for seed sowing for me.  I’ve sown almost everything including peppers, aubergines, chillies, tomatoes (many different varieties), Pak Choi, broad beans and peas (the latter two are hardening off outside during the day but at present I’m returning them to the greenhouse at night.  Salad leaf sowing has continued to keep up the successional planting, there will come a point when some of the plants raised to be eaten as small leaves will be at a suitable stage to plant out when the weather is appropriate, last year this worked really well and I had salad until the sun was just too hot and it went to seed.

Salad leaves grown in seed trays, some have grown to almost full sized lettuces.

Salad leaves grown in seed trays, some have grown to almost full sized lettuces.

Spinach, Pac Choi, peas and broad beans enjoying a little sunshine today to get them used to outdoor conditions

Spinach, Pak Choi, peas and broad beans enjoying a little sunshine today to get them used to outdoor conditions

I don’t have a great deal of success usually with spinach grown outside but these module grown ones that I was really growing for salad leaves will be able to be planted out.

Newly germinated seeds

Newly germinated seeds

Various cosmos, Bells of Ireland and annual dahlia

Various cosmos, Bells of Ireland and annual dahlia

I won’t use a large module again for sowing different varieties of tomatoes because they all germinate at different times of course and it means that those that haven’t germinated yet are exposed to the air.  I am covering the tray with a propagating lid at night, but tomatoes always germinate very quickly so it won’t be a big problem.

These tomato seedlings were only sown last week

These tomato seedlings were only sown last week

For the cutting-flower garden 3 varieties of Rudbeckia, Cosmos Polidor and Millennium, Cleome Pink Whiskers and Poppy Plum Pudding (I tried both of these last year without success), Lysimachia atreopurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ and more Ami majus as I think my first plants will be finished before it is time to plant them out.  I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and since then many, many more seeds have been planted; a few Cleome have germinated but none of the Poppy or the Lysimachia.

I have to shade the propagating trays from the sun otherwise the seeds cook!

I have to shade the propagating trays from the sun otherwise the seeds cook!


New plants from the cuttings taken in autumn last year

New plants from the cuttings taken in autumn last year

White Antirrhinums, potted on from their modules

White Antirrhinums, potted on from their modules

The view from outside the door, as you can see I have shading up all year just not over the whole roof

The view from outside the door, as you can see I have shading up all year just not over the whole roof

I’ll write more about all the different seeds and how they are growing in my next post but I promised I’d tell you the story of how I got my greenhouse this month.

My husband travels a lot in his work with the Food and Agricultural Organisation, sometimes to places that he enthusiastically tells me he thinks I should see too.  It sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Sounds like a great opportunity to only need to pay one airfare and add a holiday onto the end of a mission.  Well, actually no!  It never seems to work out.  On several occasions I’ve bought the air ticket only to find the mission is cancelled or the dates changed; the worst occasion was in 2010; he had been to Syria a number of times and thought it one of the most fascinating and friendliest countries he had ever visited.  The plan was that he would take 10 days holiday at the end of his planned mission and I would join him to see all the wonderful sights together.  I spent a long time, a very long time planning the trip; finding good boutique hotels, calculating travel times between the various cities we wanted to see, buying my ticket, going to Rome to get a visa; a lot of emotional investment in planning and looking forward to an exciting holiday.  But at the very last minute (just a couple of days before he was due to travel) he told me that he wouldn’t be able to take a holiday after all and that I should cancel all the hotels.  Luckily we didn’t lose any money on the hotel bookings, just my plane ticket and the cost of the visa.

So I was angry, I’m sure you can hear that in my writing.  But there was a payoff.  I decided that when we wanted a holiday we would plan a holiday, independent of where his work was taking him and to compensate me for my disappointment in not going to Syria (and with the terrible problems in that part of the world now, it is very unlikely I’ll ever get to visit) I said I would like a greenhouse and I would never complain about my disappointment again.  I should add that this wasn’t the first time this had happened.

So in February 2011 the greenhouse was ordered and the rest as they say is history.

I am so happy to have the greenhouse, I have so much pleasure in growing seeds and cuttings and being able to have citrus is so special.  So although I am a little sad that I’ll probably never see such an interesting country as Syria, I am pleased that I didn’t go as I probably wouldn’t have decided to buy a greenhouse without the need for something BIG in compensation for my disappointment.

Don’t forget to visit Julie and find out what she is doing in her greenhouse this month.

28 thoughts on “Greenhouse-seeds and a story

  1. A lovely story. I would prefer a greenhouse to a holiday any time Christina! I will sow a few seeds in May, as soon as the danger of frosts is over, in my movable cold frame and on the covered balcony.

  2. Christina, I can so relate to your story, and I am looking at your Greenhouse and its contents with so much longing! We took ours down as the rotten wood was beyond repair and as a house move has been on the cards we haven’t yet replaced it. So a few things on windowsills, but frustratingly few. Looking forward to reading of your progress though.

  3. Love the story of your greenhouse…ample compensation for your disappointment. I am sowing seeds in the basement under grow lights and will update during my journal posts at the beginning of the month. Very different for me as I won’t be starting veggies for another month. I have started some flowers though.

  4. I always wanted to visit Afghanistan when I was younger. I’d read several travel books including one in particular by Dervla Murphy but rather like you and Syria I don’t suppose I shall ever go now. Still. The greenhouse is quite some recompense. D

  5. Oh, greenhouse instead of a holiday for me too! At least your anger and frustration makes for a good story but you must have been SO disappointed at the time. It’s so interesting to hear about what you have been sowing already although I am mindful of your very different conditions – I shall be doing my greenhouse post tomorrow. I did sow some rocket and pak choi and other leaves with the intention of cropping them as ‘micro greens’ after an article in GW but it would make sense to grow them into larger leaves, as you have encouraged others to do. Thanks for sharing all this Christina!

  6. Lovely story about how you got your greenhouse, Christina. But how frustrating. The story about how we ‘nearly’ went to live in Italy (where I really wanted to live, instead of France) went a little like that – but there was no compensating greenhouse at the end. Did you get your lovely rigid seed trays in Italy or when you were in Britain? I can’t get anything like that here – the flimsy ones last about 2 minutes, it seems. Good greenhouse gardening in 2015

    • I ordered all the greenhouse shelving, seed trays etc from Two Wests and Elliot in England. It was delivered by DHL at enormous expense but worth it as I can’t get anything here.

  7. Thank you for joining in again Christina – you are well ahead of me with your seed sowing but you I expect you will also be planting out much earlier than I can. You have reminded me that I need to order some seeds of Lysimachia atreopurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ – I tried to buy this as a plant last year without success so will grow my own (I hope) this year. What a wonderful story about your greenhouse – I can understand your frustration at cancelled plans but at least you have your lovely greenhouse as fair compensation. I am looking forward to seeing how things have progressed by next month.

    • I hope you have more luck than I have with the Lysimachia, they are Sarah Raven seeds so I would have expected them to germinate. When all the tomatoes are germinated and there is more space available on the heated propagation trays I’ll sow some more. I should be able to plant out at least a month to six weeks earlier than you, but also soon the warmth and increased light levels and day lenght will make the seedlings grow more quickly.

  8. It’s a great story about how the greenhouse came to be part of your yard! I must admit, I do have greenhouse envy; I use makeshift cold-frames on the back porch – it has worked, but at some point I would like a more permanent abode for all of the cuttings and seedlings 🙂

    • I think if you love gardening having a greenhouse is the best thing! It can be difficult to justify the cost; which is why I had mine as an appeasement and I don’t have to feel guilty about how much it cost.

  9. I started some lupin, delphinium and verbascum from seed in the autumn. they are now languishing in an unheated room with my husband’s little lemon tree which is losing all its leaves. Your greenhouse looks so lush and flourishing, you obviously love it. I think it must be harder to forget about than my covered staging I use in the spring. I left it closed one day and grilled all my seedlings. I think I am just going to have to wait and be patient for the weather to sow outside this year. Amelia

    • Heat and the sun on the glass is a problem I have to err on the side of the greenhouse being cold but having the doors open. I am going to invest in external shadeing this year it is more efficient at keeping it cool.

      • I suppose the perfect solution would be the automatic temperature sensors that you see operating in nurseries but too expensive for home use, I suppose. Mind you our next door neighbours have their little chicken coop set up to close the door before dark.

        • I have automatic windows in the roof of the greenhouse, they aren’t expensive but that isn’t enough the sun is so bright here even when its cold so I need shade over the whole greenhouse from about March on and all winter where I have delicate seedlings.

  10. Your story resonated with me, Christina. That’s pretty much exactly how I got 2 male kittens a dozen years ago! Your greenhouse is beautiful – I would love to have one, even if arguably it’s not necessary here. (It would be a raccoon-free zone if nothing else.) It looks as though you’ve made productive use of the space too – I fully expect to see an edible arrangement in a vase one Monday!

  11. My goodness you have been busy. Your greenhouse is so productive. It is a bit early for seed sowing here I think. What a lot of babies you have to take care of. If is such an exciting time of year .

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