THE GREATEST ACT OF FAITH IN THE FUTURE, THE SOWING OF SEEDS – THIRD WEEK IN APRIL 2010

A few seeds every week get sown, mainly radish outdoors each Sunday in a window box to ensure a few are available for harvest each week  from April to November. Every couple of days, I would lay a few mung bean seeds in a ‘sprouter’ on the kitchen windowsill so I always have some fresh bean sprouts at the ready for the sandwiches and salad. Some lettuce seeds went in in February and other sowings will be made from time to time up to September, again to extend  availability and avoid gluts.

However each spring the kitchen garden requires what could be called the ‘BIG SOW’. This is when the bulk of annual flowers, veg and herb seeds are sown under glass and as they fill out in the seedtrays, out they go to grow on outdoors. Last year, the ‘BIG SOW’ was done on the 21st March, but with the shocking cold winter and late spring (not to mention other distractions in my life!), the ‘BIG SOW’ this year took place last Sunday evening 18th April. However Mother Nature can be kind hearted (volcanoes aside!) and seedlings have a way of putting on a spurt of growth as temperatures rise so all in all no need to panic if you still have to sow seeds this spring. Just read the instructions on the seed packets and get sowing.

Every gardener develops a system which suits the local situation. For what it is worth this is my system. My lean-to greenhouse (the one which looks like a phone box!) has five removeable shelves. Each shelf fits two seedtrays. Each seedtray fits 24 cubes of organic potting compost. Each cube is a growing module for a seedling to develop. I hope to grow 2 types of seed variety in each seedtray – so 12 seedlings of each variety is my optimum yield. Therefore, with 10 seedtrays on 5 shelves, I have just enough space to sow 20 different varieties of flowers, veg and herbs. So here goes……

1 a:   Nicotiana (Affinis) –  nice aroma to keep me and the pollinating bees and other beneficial insects happy.

1 b:  Love-in-a-Mist – never grew it before so I’m curious and again I hope the pollinating insects like it.

2 a:  Cosmos (C0smea) – like mini sunflowers but multi-coloured and bees liked it last year.

2 b:  Gypsophilia (Elegans) – tall like Cosmos and  useful for filling out cut flower bunches.

3 a:  Night Scented Stock – a wonderful scent at its best after dark which suits my crazy schedule for night gardening.

3 b:  Nasturtium (Organic Mix) – Is it a flower or a food? Both really as colourful  flowers and leaves have peppery taste.

4 a:  Calendula (Pot Marigold) – Attractive small plant but friendly bugs like it so helps protect tomatoes from aphids.

4 b:  Sunflower (Russian Mammoth) – A touch of ‘wow’ factor if they grow tall as expected plus birds & bees love them.

5 a:  Beetroot (Detroit Globe) – 12 beetroot won’t be enough but I’ll sow more as I love it cooked, bottled or grated raw.

5 b:  Leaf Beet (Rainbow Chard) – ultimate decorative vegetable and I love beet leaves steamed withgrated nutmeg.

6 a:  Courgette (Gold Rush) – Bright yellow, change from green. These grow in same bags after spud harvest in June.

6 b:  Tomato (Brandywine) – Again, first try but a big tasty beef tomato sounds mouth watering with basil and olive oil.

7 a:  Basil (Sweet Genovese) – I can never have too much basil. These pampered seedlings will stayed potted indoors.

7 b:  Coriander – A lovely useful herb but yearns for sun so another one for pampering in the greenhouse.

8 a:  Ragged Jack Kale – Cannot be found in shops but prolific so thank God for generous organic seed-saving friends!

8 b:  Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli – takes space but Minister Mary White grows it so I’m curious to find out why!

9 a:  Mange Tout (Sweet Green) – Corny name perhaps but beats airfreighting these tasty morsels from Kenya.

9 b:  Garden Pea (Rondo) – Haven’t tried these before but  worth a go as hard to find in shops at any time these days.

10a: Salad Rocket – The peppery rocket leaves transform a salad, look good and grow well even in shade.

10b: Mizuna – A Japanese salad which is new to me so thanks to Denise at  The Herb Garden for the organic seeds.

All that remains now is to keep the seedtrays moist but not too wet for fear of seeds rotting as happened with a previous batch of tomato seeds which were sown too early. If I’m to do that again, I will need a heated propogator. I’m on the look out for one.  If you can suggest any stockists, I’d be grateful.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Oliver Seery on May 3, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Trevor. I have just put out Courgette and Pumpkin plants under cloches. I propose to remove these cloches during the day. When would it be safe to leave the cloches off at night?
    Regards: Oliver Seery. Carlow.

    Reply

    • Hi Oliver,
      I’d be up and down to Borris visiting your local Minister Mary White TD, an enthusiastic kitchen gardener herself so I’ve an idea about your climate. Pumpkin and courgette only thrive in summer temperatures really. The packet says plant out pumpkins in June. I’d keep them under cloche as long as they are not too restricted in space until atleast June if you can. Mine will stay in pots in greenhouse until June. In fact I put courgettes in the space left after I harvest the first early potatoes.
      Good luck and keep in touch.
      Trevor

      Reply

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