Friday 10 April 2015

Seedlings everywhere!

At this time of year my house and garden are both crammed with little plants being prepared for their lives ahead in the raised beds. Since our growing season is not as long as I would like it to be I usually raise most of my plants either indoors or under cover. By "under cover" I mean in one of the little plastic mini-greenhouses (of which I presently have 3, one having been destroyed in the Winter storms), or possibly just under one of my long cloches. These are open-ended and therefore don't provide as good protection as the greenhouses. They did originally have end-pieces but they were very flimsy and didn't last long.

Notice that my delicate seedlings are "upstairs", in an attempt to keep them away from slugs. Notice also the little saucer of blue slug-pellets down below as a tempter for the pesky molluscs!

These little Brussels Sprouts have just produced their first true leaves. In a week or so they will probably have two leaves each, and that is the time I consider them ready for transplanting to individual pots.

The "De Ciccio" broccoli is a bit less advanced. In fact, it doesn't look very strong at all.  I hope it will buck its ideas up because I have high hopes of it!

These few Purple Kohlrabi ("Modrava F1") are all that is left from a packet of seeds I opened two years ago, but they seem all right. I'm not expecting to have space for more than 3 or 4 plants, but they do provide a bit of interest, in terms of colour and form.

I pricked-out my Celeriac ("Monarch") seedlings a few days ago. Just like with the kohlrabi, I won't be able to grow more than a few, but for me this is a real Challenge vegetable. I have previously tried growing it three times, but I have never produced anything bigger than a tennis-ball. I'm not going to be defeated though! The fact that there was a pack of Celeriac seeds (amongst others) on the front of "Grow Your Own" magazine last month may have been an omen...

I have kept eight, but I expect I will only use four. They have a long way to go from this stage to maturity!

I shouldn't be short of Lettuce this Summer. I have already sown some of eight different varieties, and I plan to work hard on the successional sowing this year. Mind you, it will be a few weeks before I can harvest any, because this lot ("Devin") is the furthest advanced!

Here are some of the others - "Ice Queen", "Tom Thumb" and "Webb's Wonderful".

In current weather conditions (sunny and warm), you have to keep a good watch over tiny seedlings like this. They can easily get scorched, and the shallow seed-trays dry out very rapidly. I check mine at least twice a day, and water them with a small watering-can if they need it.


  1. My seedlings have two stages. The first is under the fluorescent lights upstairs. Then I bring them down to harden off. Sometimes they are outside, and sometimes they are just inside my sliding door. I had to plant my window boxes of lettuce and greens as the door was getting too crowded. This house does lack good sunny windows. If I were building this house from scratch it would be designed differently.

  2. Great selection of seedlings Mark. They do take an awful lot of looking after though don't they. My celeriac have always managed golf ball size in the past, I think they need a lot more watering than I've given them.

  3. We have two mini plastic greenhouses which are brilliant for seedlings. Like yours, ours are also weighted down with bricks, following a windy night a couple of years ago when we woke to find one of the greenhouses half way down the garden! Good luck with the celeriac, I haven't cracked growing it yet but I live in hope.

  4. Most of our seeds are also sown under cover. We sow peas, carrots and parsnip direct but other than that it tends to be sow and transplant. Seeds sown direct in our heavy soil and away from attention on the plot can often fail.

  5. Little gem lettuces are useful as they can be brought on very early, since they are small and very, very tough. They can be sown in modules outside in a plastic cold frame from end of Feb whatever the weather (even snow) and planted out from the end of March. In reasonable weather, this produces small, proper lettuce hearts by the end of April onwards (in the SE).

    1. One of the types I'm growing is "Amaze", which is a red Gem-style lettuce. It sounds as if it will be good.

  6. What is celeriac? A fancy celery? A tummy ache plant? Or, perhaps, oh, I don't know ...

  7. P. S. I worked from 9am to 8 pm in my garden. The muscles ( what muscles?) seemed okay. Well, Mark, if the sedentery knitting doesn't kill me, maybe I can get some good gardening done. My friend brings a dump truck load of dirt soon. Goody, goody!


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