If the ornaments on your window sills have still not been replaced with an array of trays, then you’ve not sown enough seeds.
Yes, it’s that time of year when a light, warm window sill is at a premium and you spend most of your time back and forth going to the greenhouse with seedlings at various stages of growth.
I always use fresh compost for seed sowing. Left over compost from last year may contain harmful pathogens. The last thing you want is for your chilli seeds, which have taken an age to germinate, to curl up and die. Keep your compost bags in a dry place and don’t leave outside where it may become sodden.
The delicate leaves of young seedlings are susceptible to strong sunlight and will soon scorch. Due to the erratic nature of the weather this time of year I prefer not to whitewash my glass just yet. Therefore I drape an old net curtain on the outside of the green house and anchor it down to the guttering with bulldog clips. It’s only a temporary measure and can quickly be removed if required.
Once your seedlings have developed their first true set of leaves they can be safely placed into a small plant pot. Only choose the healthiest and strongest looking ones. The seedling will requires regular potting on as the root system develops. To check when this is required carefully remove the plant from the pot and if roots can be seen between the compost and the pot then it’s time for a larger pot.
Weeds will be making the most of the warmer weather and endeavouring to take over. Run a hoe regularly through effected areas to prevent them taking over.
Recently I have had Himalayan balsam seedlings appearing in some of my beds. These have probably come in from the homemade compost which I added back in autumn. A mature balsam plant can produce up to 800 seeds and these can be expelled up to 7 metres, so check your surroundings.
To reduce the number of weed seeds contaminating my compost I have covered the bays with black plastic sheeting. It also helps to reduces excess moisture, retains heat and quickens up the decaying process.
There’s a plethora of seeds to be sown outdoors. Beetroot, sprouts, cabbage, carrots and leeks. Salad leaves such as rocket, lettuce, mibuna and corn salad. Cover with a cloche if possible which will protect from heavy rain and help to warm the soil up.
Peas sown in the poly-tunnel have now been planted outdoors. Just need to find the twigs!
The clocks have now gone forward, so more time to spend on the plot…