Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In with the old; in with the new.

There's no two ways about it, the greenhouse is now full. We've tried to moderate our sowing as much as we can, but there simply is no room left at all. The Broad Beans should have been planted out weeks ago, and similarly with the peas. At least their bed is now dug, and the cover means that they can harden-off once they've been planted out. True, we still have to get the bed finally prepared, but that's an evenings work, and the planting out shouldn't take much longer. Of more immediate concern now are the Summer Cabbages. These should be in the cold frame hardening off. The cold frame is here, but we've yet to site it (a matter of some debate at the present time), and put down a bed of sand for the plants to sit on. After that's sorted out, there's just the small matter of building a frame for their deep, raised bed (or should that be raised, deep bed?), double digging it and finding some more compost to get some organic matter into it for the cabbages and other brassicas to feed on while they grow. In reality, we're going to have to feed the brassicas over the summer to get anything like a decent crop - the soil is just too poor and organic matter just too scarce.

The reason the greenhouse is full is due to us catching up with our sowing. In lieu of new seed arriving, we chucked a good chunk of our old seed into trays and pots to see what will happen. These sowings included Turnip (Tipperary), Brussels Sprout (Balbriggan), Calabrese (Sprouting Broccoli), Spinach (America), Pea (Robinson), Runner Beans (Enorma and White Emergo), a dwarf French Bean (Burpees Stringless) and three Courgettes (All Green Bush, Black Beauty and Golden Dawn III F1).

Having failed with our old tomato seed last month, we couldn't resist sowing some of the new arrivals in the form of Brandywine, Gardener's Delight and Harbinger - a bit late for this year perhaps (recommended sowing time for them is January to March), but what the hell - may as well give them a go. Of course, just as the new seed arrived, the old seed we had sown a few weeks back, that had steadfastly refused to do anything, suddenly germinated. Not a complaint really - it's nice to know that the Falstaff Brussels Sprouts (the reddish ones in the foreground)and Perpetual Spinach Leaf Beet (the weedy ones in the back tray) will be on the menu later in the year. Of course, it would also be nice to know that they will have a bed to be planted in when the time comes - they will, they will, they must, they must...


  1. I have space! Send them to me :)
    I seem to have the seed starting black thumb this year. I will be trying again this week. I might end up buying my plants this year, though :(

  2. Woudl you consider no-dig /lasagne gardening/permaculture sheet mulch as an easier way to get stuff into the ground? I'm filling an allotment - 6mx65m - and only digging one small patch - the rest is covered in cardboard/mushroom compost/straw. Charles Dowding is a big fan, and he's been atthis for decades....

  3. Hi Sylvana, not sure what the growing season is with you, but surely there's still time to sow more seed? We always get a buzz when the seedlings appear - you just wouldn't get that with plants.

  4. Hi Anna. Very interesting, and many thanks for the links. After the initial digging, the veg plots will certainly be no-dig ones, but not so sure about establishing them as such. The grass is very thick and existing soil very thin. Also, the main problem is not the time to dig but the availability of compost to add to the soil - a problem possibly worsened by the no-dig method (initially at least). Will definitely think about it though... Thanks again.

  5. Difficult time of year - I'm running out of space too! But those beans, peas & cabbages should be hardy & tough enough to make their own way in the world without the protection of the greenhouse or cold frame, I think?