Sow here we go!

This ‘mildest day of winter’ fever has had me outside in the garden after work, to pull some weeds, to tickle the soil, and to sow some seeds.

Yes, my 2019 sow and grow marathon has begun!

Sowing outdoors

I’ve just sown two different types of seed directly into a raised bed. These were some more of the Broad Bean ‘de Monica’ seeds- the earlier seeds that I sowed haven’t really emerged much yet, so i’ve put some compost on top of their bed in a hope it encourages them along. This new batch should be giving me a grow in about June.

I’ve also sown some more Parsnip ‘F1 Gladiator’ but this time they’ve been sown directly into the raised bed rather than in a small tray first. Hopefully these will germinate. I also dug out the last of the previous sowing.

Parsnip F1 Gladiator harvested
Snog, Marry, or Avoid? This Parsnip ‘F1 Gladiator’ was the most ‘parsnip-y’ of my crop.

These have been a mixed bag – some twisted and spiral, some more like a turnip in shape and size, and then today there was a decent sized one – almost stereotype parsnip shaped. I’d heard that growing them in a tray can affect their shape because they need to send that root down ASAP, and that’s what gives them their shape and moisture. Fingers crossed!

The propagators are now filling up

Having got myself a little coldframe from DEUBA, I feel like I have a bit more space to migrate plants on to, so I have kicked off my sowings after reading the backs of the seed packets.

Rudbeckia Marmalade flowers
The Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’ flowers kept blooming for months in 2018.

Now sown are;

  • Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’
  • Salvia ‘Farinacea Victoria’
  • Antirrhinum ‘Chuckles’ 
  • Cleome ‘Colour Fountain’
  • Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’
  • Cosmos ‘Sea Shells Mixed’
  • Chenopodium ‘Strawberry Stick’

I’ve grown all of these before, with the exception of the Chenopodium, which my sister bought for me last year, but they were too late to sow.

These are described as having ‘arrow shaped leaves‘ and ‘can be used in vegetable salads during the summer and whose fruit, resembling little raspberries or strawberries make a tasty dessert in the autumn‘. They look like Rocket with Raspberries glued on.. so we’ll see. My sister bought these for me from a Sutton’s kids range of seeds as a comedy present – she has a track record of this – and I always grow them!

Last year I had a miserable germination rate with the Sweet Peas, and the few that did, fried in the furnace that was the summer. In the end, only one survived, which I found abandoned in a pot in the shed. I planted it out, and it flowered for months! I’m hoping to get a good show this time.

Sweet Pea 'Cupani'
One of my Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’ on flower years ago

The usual army of toilet rolls have been brought into service from the heap that’s been slowly growing in the shed. These are really handy because like the beans (which I’ll sow in about April), the Sweet Peas need to send their roots down, and like to avoid disturbance.

sweet peas in toilet rolls
Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’ have been sown 2 per toilet roll. Hopefully they’ll emerge in a few days.

The extra height of the toilet roll gives the root space, and you can just plant it out in the roll – which will rot down outside. A handy piece of recycling!

So, with propagators and windowsills beginning to fill, and the radiators turned down a bit to cope with this warmer period, it’s now over to Mother Nature to bring forth the little green shoots from the compost.

That’s it for now, but as ever – thank you for reading – and I wish you happy gardening!

Andrew

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