Potting on seedlings

arturcropsNothing to disturb me but the howling of the wind and the snores from the cat it in the box.

We have been having such wild weather of late – great gusts of wind, and horizontal rain – that I have found myself retreating to the potting shed just to keep up my garden chores.

Otherwise you would find me mopping up the drips of water that are sneaking under the giant window in the living room, and coming down the redundant blocked chimney in the kitchen. Horizontal rain will do that.

I could lie and say that Artur is delighted to have some company; but as you can see, he is deep in cashmere lined box heaven and not really bothered by my presence.seedlings vertical

He won’t be happy when he finds out her has run out of snoozing room.  The crops are expanding.

Last time you saw things happening in the potting shed I had zillions of just germinated seedlings.  Now it’s time for them to go up a size into individual pots with more room.  They will stay in these pots until they get shoved out into the world in a few weeks time.

Once I’ve constructed the new cabbage protection nets. That has been on my To Do list for about eight months now.  And I curse never having taken a carpentry course when young.  Sorting these structures would have been simple.  Instead I’m making such a palaver out of them that I don’t dare show you yet.

seedlingslongviewSo back to something I am very good at.  Crops.

The brassicas and kale are up and showing good roots.  That’s the way I check to know it’s time to move them up a size: the first white roots start to show through the bottom of the containers.

I have oodles of chards and spinach, some lettuce, a few cucumbers, sunflowers and cosmos. My courgettes are mostly up and looking sturdy but there are more to come.

Not enough cosmos germinated which is annoying as those are meant to go to the Village Flower fund at the end of the month.  And I have been cross how little success I have had with my tomato seeds. tomatosownthrice

For a few years now I haven’t bothered to sow my own. They are the perfect impulse purchase when going to get my grafted aubergine / eggplant plants (ooh, must remember to do that next week) and basil plants. Yes, my failures laid bare.

I refuse to try growing basil from seed. Ever again. I never have much luck. And they are so slow to germinate and get going that by the time they are small plants and in the potager it’s almost the end of summer.

arturcrops1The same is true of aubergines for me.  I came across grafted ones a few years back. Grafted onto tomato rootstocks I think, and have never looked back.  Seeing a plant groaning with small glossy aubergines gives anyone passing the impression you are a really good gardener.

This year, to atone for something I’m sure, I went back to ordering tomato seeds and then sowing them in teensy pots.  It’s such a trap. Every catalogue you find is groaning with sumptuous shots of great juicy orbs of toms.  And now I no longer have Monsieur Bois’s stunning collection on the market every Thursday I have had to have a go. Again.

The ones you see here are third time lucky. I think out of the two sowings of a dozen seeds I have had a whopping germination success of two.  Not good.

And those seed packets of tomatoes are very, very mean.  You find yourself peering into the empty paper packet and asking ‘is that it?’ Is there one more hiding in the corner at the bottom, or just dust? How can one pay for so few and not feel duped?

The grinning readers here (I see Lisa and Dan and Alice looking pleased with themselves as I type) have no doubt kept their seed from last year’s crop and are groaning under the forest of seedlings.

Yes, yes, I will try harder. And I will even be using better labels that don’t rot or run. I might even see what has germinated in the pots rather than staring at the seed leaves and asking ‘is that cucumber or a courgette?’

My muttering under my breath seems to have woken up the cat. Or is he just realizing there is a tide of brassica seedlings coming his way and he’s about to lose the sunniest afternoon potting shed spot to a bunch of plants?