Well, yesterday at least. It was a lovely day here, blue skies, sun with some heat, admittedly there was still a biting cold wind but I’ll gloss over that. So finally the garden got a bit of attention.
At the end of last year I left a lot of the die back on the plants (such as the peony rose along with a few others that at the moment are still nameless to me – I’ll work on that) to give them a bit of protection from the winter weather. Yesterday, I could see the new growth starting to show itself so cut the old dead growth back.
I also gave the raised bed and the bare sections of the border a going over with the hoe, just to get rid of any weeds that were thinking of making themself comfortable.
By then my fingers were frozen so I came back inside to do an indoor job. Today it was potting on some tomato seedlings. In January I planted a pot of tomato seeds (maskota). Over the past couple of months they have grown well. As some were pushing on for their third set of proper leaves I decided it was time to give them some space. I used normal potting compost and put the largest seedling into a 4″ pot by itself. The others I put two or three to a pot. I ended up with 4 pots of decent sized seedlings and one pot of teeny weeny wee runt seedlings. After giving them a water I put them all back on the window ledge upstairs. I have no idea what maskota tomatoes are like but, having had the first smell of tomato plant this year when working with the seedlings, I can’t wait to find out!
Yesterday was yet another day for staying inside, so I busied myself planting flower seeds in a 5 x 8 cell seed tray. I filled the seed tray with some potting compost and today the seeds planted were:
2 2 4 4 7 7 9 9
1 2 4 5 6 7 9 10
1 2 4 5 6 7 9 10
1 3 3 5 6 8 8 10
1 3 3 5 6 8 8 10
1= chinese aster (seeds came from Lidl, with the almost neon colours of the flowers in the picture on the front it would have been rude to go past them); 2 = lime green nicotina; 3 = cosmos brightness mixed; 4 = sweet pea (these were seeds which I had left over from last year but the packaging is long gone so I have no idea what kind they are!); 5 = nicotina affinas (the lovely whiteness of these should go really well with the lime green ones); 6 = aster duchess mixed; 7 = wild viola; 8 = french marigold; 9 = tom thumb narsturtium, and 10 = rudbeckia.
I went along the same lines of as I did sowing vegetable seeds a few days ago, putting a pinch of small seeds per cell or a couple of large seeds per cell. I forgot to bring the vermiculite in from the outhouse today, so instead just sprinkled some compost over the top then gave the whole lot a mist of water. Now they are upstairs at the window keeping the tray of vegetable seeds company!
The seed planting bug has well and truly got hold now and since the weather is still too rotten to work outside, some more indoor seed sowing was order of the day.
I’m a bit short of small plant pots at the moment so, ever the scavenger, I got three empty tin cans from the recycling bin. Whilst I punched some holes in the bottom of the cans using a hammer and a nail, the wee one busied himself breaking up bits of slate for the bottom of the cans. Admittedly, that was less of an indoor job and did mean the whole room needed vaccumed once the seed planting was finished. With the broken slate in the bottom of the cans, I filled them up with compost.
In one can I put some rocket seed, in another some lollo rosso and in the third I went for some Australian yellow lettuce. I have no idea what Australian yellow lettuce is, and it came in one of those seed packets that just has writing on the front, but it does sound intruiging. I think that given the size of the cans I will have to use the leaves as baby leaves but it will be nice to have some growing soon.
So now the cans are sitting proudly on the window ledge and, in a tinpot way, the tin can plant pots look quite pretty.
I had in mind to spend some time in the garden today to clear the place up for spring. Since the weather threw snow, hailstones and sleet at us all morning, it didn’t work out like that. Instead I’ve busied myself planting some vegetable seeds, working on the kitchen table.
It is maybe a bit brave (or is that foolish?) to start some of the seeds just now given it is still snowing outside (and taking into account that last year our last night frost of spring was at the start of June…) but I’m not one to quail at a challenge.
So what did I plant? Well, since the space for vegetable growing isn’t huge at the moment (roughly a 3′ by 5′ raised bed and some pots) I’ve decided to try a few of lots of different things. To keep myself restrained I decided to use just one 5×8 cell seed tray and since normal potting compost was all that was in the outhouse, that is what I used. I then planted the tray as follows:
2 2 4 4 7 7 10 11
1 2 4 5 7 8 10 11
1 2 4 5 6 8 10 12
1 3 3 5 6 8 9 12
1 3 3 6 6 9 9 *
where 1= sweetcorn (applause); 2=brussels sprouts (fill basket); 3=broccoli (red head); 4=courgette (zucchini); 5=aubergine (patio mixed); 6=brussels sprouts (petit posy); 7=courgette (di nozza); 8=melon (charentais); 9=cauliflower (all the year round); 10=black salsify (scorzonera hispanica); 11=marrow (tiger cross); 12=squash (balmoral) and *=curled parsley.
For the bigger seeds I put 2 seeds in per cell and for the smaller ones I tried to put 5 in but reckon that most ended up with more than that.
I then covered the lot with vermiculite ( a bit of an experiment as I haven’t used it before), sprayed the tray with water and sat it at the bedroom window. Now all that is to be done is to wait for the seeds to work their magic! I’ll let you know how it goes…
When I was young, I helped my mum and my grandad in their gardens – and I loved it. Then University called, then work and after a lot of years staying in flats in cities, a couple of years ago I moved back to the town in south west Scotlant that I grew up in and into a lovely, if careworn, old house.
For all of the first year, the house took priority as big things, like plumbing, electrics and floors got sorted out.
Last year, the house still took the lions share of my time but I did get a bit more time to make a start on the garden. I grew some potatoes (a success); carrots (a disaster); courgettes (a brilliant, if surprise, success); cabbage (a disaster for me if a triumph for caterpillars). Some leeks and some onions which I planted are both still in the ground and I am working my way through them. Inside, on the windowsill I grew some tomoatoes and some chillies, both worked well and by the end of the summer, my wee one was getting up in the morning and snacking on some ripe tomatoes whilst watching out of the window as the world started its day.
This year, the house is a lot further forward so I’m hoping to get even more time to grow things, so here goes…