Sunday, 21 April 2013

21st April 2013 - Seed Growing

Earlier this month our allotment co-ordinator took me to the council nursery to sow some seeds for our allotment.

I was quite amazed how little there seemed to it and how cheap it was compared to buying plants ready to plant out.

I had a large bed out the front which needed filling and decided this would be a good way to get some colour on the cheap.

Off I went to Wilkinson'scand £15later I had trays, pots, compost and seeds. Let the fun begin.

I plant Marigolds, Salvias, Antirrhinum, Cosmos and Foxglove.

That part was easy, some were big seed which was easy to put in seed tray but foxglove was like pepper. We could not see where it had gone on the compost. Anyhow all trays were done and now came the next problem.

Where to put them. At first they need heat. I had the thermometer all over the house trying to find the place which kept the best and most constant heat. Window sills were ok but cold at night. In the end the top of the fridge/freezer in the kitchen seemed to keep a good constant temperature , especially as the nights were cold.

As it turns out this was perfect, green shoots appeared with 4 days. First the cosmos, then marigolds, salvias, antirrhinum and lastly the foxgloves. Once the green shoots showed it was then about light and plenty of it. The conservatory would have been ideal but it was still too cold in there. So the kitchen window sill was now filled with trays of green shoots.

The cosmos ran away and grew quick, however they were getting too tall and had not got their second leaves yet. The process is that once shoots have their second leaves they are ready to be pricked out and put into larger pots with more space. Anyhow they had to be pricked out, now I was either too early or did not firm them in properly. Of 27 plants pricked out only 4 survived.

Next to be pricked out were the Marigolds. These seem much stronger, mum says they are quite hardy and she never has problems with them. Indeed she is right, this time I firmed them in as I transferred them. Of 86 plants I have over 50 doing really well. They look less like seedlings and more like actually plants now. Really pleased with them.

Salvias were next, my favourite, I love the deep red flowers. I got 24 plants pricked and so far I reckon I will have 15 to plant out. They still do not look like plants but are growing.

Next we're the antirrhinum. To kinds, Monarch and Circus Clown. These were really small and fiddly but I have pricked out 166 of these and although it has only been a few days, most of them seem to have survived the process into the pots and trays. They are still very small but do look healthy.

Just today it was time for the foxgloves. I pricked out 59 and there are more in the seed trays but I have run out of compost and pots and trays to put them. I will keep them in the tray for now.

So I have loads of potential plants and for £15 have 329 plants at the moment. For the time and effort it is certainly worthwhile doing and I may have too many so some will be passed onto others.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

3rd April 2013

Signs at last that Spring is on the way. It has still been cold with a chilly easterly wind but it has even sunny and dry. Next week the temperature is expected to increase to about 9 or 10 so hopefully soon things will start to bloom in the garden.

Kirsty and me have planted some seeds to save some money on bedding plants. It is the first time that I have attempted this but so far the results look good. The marigolds and cosmos appeared after about 4 days, a few days later the antirrhinum sprouted through and just today there are signs that the foxgloves and salvias are on their way.

We have been chitting potatoes for the community allotment but despite being in a bright position they made no progress. The one I put in the dark has performed much better, maybe it is because it is in warmer conditions. The others are now in and on the window sill on the stairs, lets see how they get on there.

This morning Kirsty and I went Swimming. The pool was reasonably empty and we had good fun for over an hour and half. Trouble is today is a fasting day, part of a new diet where we fast for two days a week, and after swimming I was starving hungry, and in fact I still am. Does not help during the holidays having to prepare lunches for the children.

Craig has been going into school to work on his music tech and today Helen as gone to meet a friend in Cambridge for lunch, which is nice that they came upto meet her.

After today we have visitors descending. Carolyn and Matthew are up Thursday and Friday, then we have Kara and Evie on Saturday and Sunday, and then Marion and Bethan the following Tuesday and Wednesday, so plenty of baking to be done.