Members adventures in the Vegetable Patch all year round
Well I'm amazed this morning to find 3 of the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T seeds have germinated after just 4 days @ 25oC. That's the highest temperature I could get whereas the recommended range is from 25-32oC and appearance of seedlings could take up to 10 days or more. Now the early germination means I should take the plastic lid off to prevent damping off ... but my other seeds have not germinated yet
Another 2 more Butch T seeds have germinated since Monday making it 5 in just one week of sowing! - I've never had seeds germinate within 2 weeks never mind 1. The dilemna of keeping the lid on for the other seeds and taking it off to allow ventilation for the seedlings however, got too much. I sow seeds in flimsy plastic modules that sit inside a seed tray and I re-use the modules until they fall apart. After mulling over the problem, it dawned on me that they are not really that expensive compared to the plants so I decided to get the Stanley knife out and cut out individual modules with the seedlings. Thankfully there is a lovely warm sun today and the seedlings are now on a windowsill with a little tin foil to reflect light back on the plants. In the meantime, I've been looking at additional lighting just to help things along especially on dull days and I bought some stick on LED lights. They are battery powered but apparently (according to the blurb) will run over 100 hours without dimming on a set of batteries. For £2.15p for a pack of 4 lights, I thought I'd give them a go - if they don't work, the lights can always get used in the kitchen under the wall units to make my work tops brighter LOL
This afternoon will be spent drawing up a plan of the plot and to make a list of what I need to grow, and where it is all going to go LOL
Hi lancashire lass
Its one of the things i enjoy getting my plan together for the garden,dont allways stick to it but usually come somewhere near lol.
You are as bad as me looking through them garden catallogues,just ordered some new Strawberrie plants ,mine looking a bit dreary after the cold winter.
Thought i would try a novelty some whiteberry ,do one red one white brighten up the strawberrie bed a bit.
Suposed to warm up this weekend hope so got loads to do just need less cold weather.
Good weather for the coming spring hopefully ,you certainly have alot to look after ,like your photos,will keep poping in for a look.
I don't seem to stick to plans at all - potatoes usually go in first, then onion sets so these beds are ready and waiting. Thereafter I do sow a lot of stuff in pots at home to get them going as my plot is at the bottom of a hill so prone to cold air dropping with the frosts slow to thaw. By the time I'm ready to plant out, I realise space becoming an issue and it all falls apart after that LOL - I just have to try and plan later sowings better to coincide with lifting up of early crops, and sometimes it works out alright in the end, or I just accept that it's not going to happen.
you've sussed me out bill. I keep telling myself that I'm trying out varieties to see which do best on my plot and which ones I like the best. I do have a good idea of which potato varieties I like but I have to slip in some new ones to be sure there isn't something better. Now those strawberries - a genuine need to replace
Just a little update of the chilli seedlings - seeing seeds germinating always gives me a lift of things to come. They are like my little babies that need proper care and attention, and at this time of year, more so. I don't usually sow seeds this early as I've found a lot of things do better if left later when the soil is warmer and the sun's strength is greater. But chillies do need an early sowing otherwise they do not produce fruit in time before the first frosts arrive and from what I've learned, extreme heat chillies need a long growing season.
Well along with the 5x Butch T seeds germinated, today I noticed a Naga seedling coming up . Since cutting the modules from the seed tray, labelling is going to be very important as I move them to the windowsill. Fortunately we've had some sunny days but I'm a little concerned that already they've got a little leggy so I'm getting ready for some dull cold days and set up a little light box - a cardboard box lined with aluminium foil (I'll fit a piece of glass on top to allow sunlight through) with some LED lights on top. It looks like a microwave oven LOL but I've got high hopes it will work (time will tell) One good thing about chillies and peppers, along with tomatoes is that when they get repotted, you can transplant them a little deeper in the compost so at this stage I'm not unduly worried about their legginess. So far:
This morning I got on with "chitting" the new chilli seeds - I've never done this before but is apparently how professional chilli growers start seed off. Fold a piece of paper towel and place seeds along the crease, dampen the tissue and place into a labelled plastic bag (I used those zip bags) Place somewhere warm and seeds should start germinating after about 7 days when you should then plant in pots of compost ... if the Butch T seeds have taught me anything, I think I'll have a peek after about 3 days.
My main task today was to make a start on the fruit bush beds on the plot - to prune the bushes and move manure. However, all did not go according to plan. I arrived at 9.00am with my bag of kitchen waste and compostables when a neighbour told me they were leaving and would I like the home made compost. Oh yes please!!! I can never get enough compost so out came the wheelbarrow and I managed to get 3 loads but alas, although well rotted it was full of twitch (couch grass) Luckily the compost was dry so I managed to pick out the offending roots but in case I missed any, decided to use the compost to fill the containers in which I plan to grow herbs. On reflection I'm glad I didn't put the compost on the beds as a lot of plots on the site are rife with white onion rot and clubroot and (touch wood), my plot appears to be clear of those.
When I came to digging the kitchen waste into the squash beds, I got annoyed seeing one of the pallets that had fallen over in the strong winds a couple of weeks ago and decided to stand it up again - only to find that the bottom part of the pallet had rotted and the reason why it had fallen over. After a lot of earth moving to pack it against the pallet base, I looked at the fence along the path and decided to move that. Long story short but when I took my plot on, I mentioned to the clerk that I was paying for a 360 sq metre plot but when I measured it, it was only 270 sq metres. It took the council nearly 2 years to mark out my plot but in the meantime I had made an estimation which was slightly out. First I got on with making beds in the extra space along the new boundary but it has taken a while to get the other side sorted. Last year I managed to extend most of the beds to the boundary but ran out of time for the smaller squash bed. So while I was already messing around with the pallet fence, it seemed a good opportunity to get on with the boundary fence at the same time and now that should be all the beds done:
This is before:
and afterwards giving the bed an extra 2.5 sq metres :
I needed a rest after that exertion and an opportunity to see how the community plot compost toilet is coming along - now that it has the sides up, it looks even closer to my shed where I rest up :
On to another task and that was to dig up the last of the Weiner Runder Kohlschwarzer - an interesting winter radish that is the size of a turnip and can be eaten raw or cooked.
That left a convenient row to plant the last of the garlic - I still had some Early Purple Wight but had run out of space in autumn. Leaving it a bit late to be planting I know, but I'm hoping it's "earliness" will mean it might still form proper bulbs. I think it is one of the best all round of the garlics - early but stores well too - so I would rather not lose the strain that I've been growing from saved bulbs over the years. As well as the main garlic bed, the triangle bed is the spill over of the rest of the garlic (I do like garlic ):
The reason for the triangle is because I learned a long time ago that it was nigh impossible to turn the wheelbarrow right angles from the main path onto the plot when there are raised beds. A lot of people think I'm being a bit arty LOL
The mustard greens and kale appeared to be recovering from the pigeon onslaught but if I left them, I know the pigeons would be back. I had an idea of using fleece which would not only help the plants to grow but also protect them from the pigeons. Alas, a very annoying weed speedwell was everywhere across the bed so I had to clear it off first otherwise the fleece would only encourage them to spread.
Before I knew it I was going round the other beds oiking weeds out. By the time I'd finished, I realised it was getting too late for the fruit bush plans. I have to confess I had a little panic that there was still so much to do but then a reality check that it was still only mid-February
Just recording a fresh glut of germinations from the earlier sowing - another Butch T (making it a total of 7 out of 10 seeds sowed), a Bolivian Rainbow, 2x Pretty in Purple, and 4x Cherry Bomb I also noticed a little green blip in one of the Little Elf row. This is getting very exciting.
I like the tip regards the chile seeds LL, I,ll give a try this year as I have struggled a little with them in past years. Also its a good idea use garlic that you have grown your self year on year as its said that it evolves to your soil type over the years.
Dont ever grow up, its a trap
seeing seeds come to life never grows old on me Hope yours appear soon!
After 3 days I chickened out and put the seeds into compost - I had horrible visions of them sprouting out of control and little rootlets getting tangled in the paper and then damaged when trying to plant them. I'm sure the first 3 days in a warmer environment than what I can achieve with a propagator has probably been a big help anyway. We'll see if anything shows. I would suggest that when folding the paper that you do not match the corners up too well as I did find it difficult trying to prise open the paper to expose the seeds. Or maybe something slipped between the paper like a thin piece of film before adding water might make it easier? Quite a few of my seeds ended up being planted with bits of fibres still attached (I used a pair of tweezers to transfer the seeds to compost) and more about the poor quality of the paper towel than the method itself.
EDIT: it wasn't a Little Elf that was coming up yesterday but a Peter Pecker. Today 2 more Rainbow Bolivia have germinated
The other reason for growing from my own harvest is the shock of seeing the price of seed garlic . But yes, absolutely agree about them adapting to the soil type. Also I can inspect my own bulbs and select which ones for growing knowing that I won't be carrying diseases from somewhere else into the plot - the shared plot I had to give up last year was riddled with white onion rot and that really restricted what I could successfully grow. I also use the bigger bulbs in the hope future bulbs will be bigger (it probably doesn't work that way LOL)
Some more germinations this morning but no new varieties - a Peter Pecker, a Bolivian Rainbow, 2 Cherry Bomb and 2 Pretty in Purple. The seedlings I had in the aluminium box on the windowsill have stalled - not surprising really as temperatures have plunged and the light levels with the cloud cover is very poor and the LED lights were not really working that well. Oh well, seemed a good idea at the time.
So time to set up plan B - I hauled out an old 3 foot fish tank and tested the gro-light in the canopy and it seems to be working okay. Next I tried the new vivarium heat mat that I had bought as a cheap alternate to a heated propagator, and it occupies about 2/3rds of the length of the tank so the gap could be filled with the seedlings from the windowsill (they need light more than they need their roots kept warm). I switched the mat on and left it an hour and it was very warm - maybe a little too warm but not hot. I put one of the trays with the new sowings on the heat mat and kept checking it - the heat mat despite having no thermostat seemed to have a steady output so I was quite pleased with that. However, as I was about to leave the house this morning for work, I didn't feel that confident of leaving it switched on - not so much worrying about the plants but in case something went wrong and it burned my house down!! The tank is indoors so at least temperatures won't plummet and I left the light on which should help. I'll try the heat mat again tonight.
The heat mat seemed to stay a steady 28oC but it does slowly creep up and got to 32oC when left on 24 hours so I switched it off to cool, then will turn it on again after a few hours. As some sowing instructions recommend 28oC-34oC I wasn't unduly worried about the rising temperature so generally I'm very pleased with it but I imagine it would be better with a thermostat (unfortunately they cost more than the mat - maybe a future investment?)
Yesterday I "chitted" the last batch of new chilli seeds and will sow them in a few days time. Then I'll get on with some pepper seeds
I came home last night to find a little parcel on the doorstep - my strawberry runners have arrived I left them somewhere cool overnight and today got on with planting them. I've had runners from an online supplier before and admittedly they always look half dead and dessicated. It's hard to believe they'll recover.
The varieties I bought are Albion, Buddy and Mara des Bois (all everbearers) - 5 runners of each for £12.95p (and I took advantage of the free p&p) - bargain!
After unpacking, a little inspection and I was surprised at how long the roots were on the Albion and Mara des Bois (nearly 8 inches on one plant)
The instructions recommend you soak the roots in water:
before planting them. I'd like to get these established as soon as possible so I've opted for planting in pots of compost. I'll let them settle for a day indoors before moving them to the greenhouse. And a bonus - there was an extra 2 runners of Albion and an extra runner of the Mara des Bois so a total of 18 plants:
After just a few hours, the crown look good I can't wait for summer
I've sowed the last batch of chillies as I found a new "warm" place - the light in the fish tank canopy was a nice and cosy area on which the trays could sit I'm going to chit some pepper seeds next but in the meantime, I want to get some onion seed sowed. I read somewhere that Senshyu Yellow and Kosma, normally associated with late summer sowing / autumn planting can be sown in spring for summer cropping. It would be interesting to see how they turn out. I also sowed a few seeds each of various other varieties that I've collected. They don't need too much warmth to germinate so the trays are in the living room for the moment and then I'll move them to the greenhouse afterwards. I'm not overly confident of onion from seed - sometimes they do well, other times a disaster so I do have a back up plan and a bag of Sturon onion sets to plant in spring.
The onion seeds are now germinating so can be moved into the greenhouse or windowsill :
Meanwhile chilli seedlings under the gro-light are coming along - a little slower that I'd expect given the extra light they've had.
On Tuesday 26th February I had started off some peppers and back up chillies of ones I'd overwintered (some don't seem to be doing well at the moment) using the damp tissue and zip plastic bags:
With the chilli seeds that I'd tried this method earlier, I had left them in the bag in a warm place for about 3 days or so before planting as I was worried about them germinating quickly but the seeds still took a few more days before they finally started to show. However, I was totally unprepared when I examined the latest batch to find they were in fact well on their way!
It's been an interesting exercise trying this method - perhaps I should have done a control with some seeds in compost to see if this is quicker or just the same. It certainly helps to see which seed are actually germinating and which may be duff ones that are unlikely to grow, thus save on compost which inevitably gets wasted with non-germination. Also, the plastic bags are re-usable so once you have a little supply it shouldn't cost any more, and the tissue is just a sheet of paper towel folded over and cut to fit within the width of the bag (with 3 pieces per sheet), then a crease in the middle where the seed will sit before folding again (but make sure the corners don't match which makes it easier to separate later) and dampen. The zip bags just keep the tissue from drying out and easier to handle - lifting them up to a light shows signs of germination so no need to keep opening the bag and checking the seeds progress. Any warm place would do - I had the bags sitting on top of the fish tank light where it was nice and warm.
Every thing looking well Lancashire Lass,i have put my strawberry plants straight into a raised bed ,must admit i wasnt impressed with them but supose they will get going once weather turns warmer.I chit my sweetcorn and runner beans in that method ,put damp kitchen towel in an ice cream container and put in airing cupboard for a couple of days,at least you can then pick out any that dont shoot.Keep up the good work
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