Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planting Out the First of the Seedlings

I have not been very good at posting here recently, but this does not mean I have been idle. Quite the opposite in fact. The recent warm weather has allowed me get on with getting the veg plot into shape with planting out some seedlings. This is the first batch that I had out hardening off ready for planting out:

I am trying starting off my parsnips in toilet roll tubes again, but this year I am trying planting them out earlier. What I found last year was that even though the seedlings may be small on top, the roots develop quickly, so it is important to get them in before the roots are too well developed.

Planting out can be an anxious time as it is inevitable that not all of them will survive the transition. From experience I found that it is better to plant out your strongest seedlings while continuing to look after whichever ones are left. That way you have some seedlings on the subs bench if any of your first team don't perform as expected.

Elsewhere on the plot some of the crops are coming along nicely, such as the shallots.....

.....and potatoes.

Unfortunately the weeds are also growing. In particular some bindweed (which caused me major problems last year) has started to appear.

So, plenty to do then! With the lighter evenings I am hoping to do more planting out during this week so that most of the plot will already be in use. My main problem is that I am rapidly running out of space and I don't think that I am going to have space for everything I want to grow!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Sowing Season Starts in Earnest

Now that April is here I decided this weekend that I really need to get on with serious seed sowing. We are going away for a few days later this week so I debated with myself whether I should really sow too many in the greenhouse, but decided in the end that I really need to get some going and hope that the lady who comes in to feed the animals will remember to water the seedlings this time! I had already sown some tomatoes, some lettuce, peppers, basil and coriander, so in the greenhouse I added two different types of pumpkin, butternut squash, courgettes, sweetcorn and parsnips (which I have decided to try starting off in toilet roll tubes again). Unfortunately, I forgot to label one lot of pumpkins and the courgettes and now can't remember which is which, and as the seedlings look exactly the same I have no way of telling until they start producing fruit!

Out in the plot I planted the second batch of potatoes (the earlies are in already), the first batch of peas and some leeks. I decided to sow the leeks directly into the ground this year - started them in pots last year, but this wasn't very successful. Whilst sowing the leeks I was somewhat disappointed how few seeds were in the packet - when buying seeds I always look at the price, but not at how many seeds they give you forgetting that they often keep prices of some varieties down by giving you less seeds.

All in all, not a bad start. I won't sow any more until after we are back.

Earlier in the week I thought I had better get around to replacing the gate to the veg plot which finally fell to pieces over the winter. If you have ever looked at the prices of gates you will know how expensive they are, so I have made my own.

I was quite impressed with the result and being as it is higher than the last one maybe it will help to keep the chickens out the veg plot.