I have wanted to write an update about progress in the greenhouse for the last couple of weeks; things progress so quickly it is easy to be swept along without taking time to note exactly what happens.
I love the smell when I open the greenhouse in the morning, that wonderful earthy smell mixed with citrus flowers and opening flowers of Narcissus.
It was been interesting to note that germination times for each type of seed is pretty consistent over the years; I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet with sowing and germination dates for the last 2 years and this year I will be recording times to pricking out (if applicable), planting out and first and last harvest for both vegetables and cut flowers. I don’t imagine I will be weighing the crops as long as I have a sense that the crop was worthwhile I will be happy.
Almost everything I listed as having been sown in my last post has germinated with the exception of 2 separate sowings of Euphorbia oblongata, Alstroemeria aurantiaca and all three types of Larkspur.
I now have three heated trays on the stands with seeds germinating or to help promote growth of the plants that need extra warmth. All the tomatoes were sown earlier this month and all have germinated well, including those from saved seeds. I realised that I hadn’t saved seed of the small orange tomato that is so sweet and delicious so having discovered that I’d frozen some I scraped out the seeds from one and sowed them this week, it will be useful to know whether the seed is still viable after freezing, I do hope it is as I don’t even know the name of this tomato as it came from a mixed pack. I can’t decide if I like mixed packs of seed or not; on the plus side you can try several different new varieties but then you don’t know what they are to be able to buy them again. Have you ever sown seed that has been frozen?
Tomatoes are one of the quickest germinating seeds that I grow, the fastest was a couple of years ago when some San Marzano germinated within 24 hours; the average time is about three days, I regulated my sowing date this year to take account of this. I have tried to be more frugal with the tomato seed as I always have far, far too many plants. Some I sowed directly into modules to save one stage of pricking out, they will hopefully only need to go into 9cm pots when they are large enough and then into the ground. Others are in quarter sized seed trays; they will need to be pricked out in the next few days firstly into modules and later into 9cm pots.
I usually use my lemons to put under salt water in the Moroccan style or to make lemon curd.
This year I’ve decided to only grow long then aubergines from seed that came from Vietnam, they are the most prolific and fast cropping of all the types I’ve tried. I would like to grow the large round pale violet ones too but they obviously need slightly different conditions as I’ve never had a good crop from them. This year I’ll buy any I need (they aren’t expensive in the shops) as I only need them if I want to grill slices on the barbeque.
This week I sowed Cosmos. From many discussions here about how and where to sow them I decided to try sowing 2 seeds into modules so they’ll have less disturbance to their roots which seemed to make the plants weak last year. I also have saved seeded collected from last year’s plants; I may sow these directly into the ground if I have space. I noticed this week that seeds that had fallen onto the ground where they were planted last year have already germinated, should I leave them where they are or maybe try to move them into lines where the irrigation tubes run? Any advice would be appreciated.
It is slightly worrying that the greenhouse is as full as it is now at the end of February. There are still more flower and vegetable seeds to be sown and of course all those little trays will produce plants needing more space before being planted out. I think I need to organise some kind of cold frame, but the most suitable place to put one is where I already have plants in pots being overwintered in the open and there are a lot of snails in this particular spot that I’m sure would love to have some tasty new foliage to munch on.
Have you started sowing yet? Does everyone sow too many seeds and then find it difficult to throw away the ones you don’t need?
Have a great gardening weekend and I hope the sun shines for you; our forecast is for rain!!!