Monday, 21 March 2016

Start of the main seed sowing season.

So I've sown more seed although it is still quite early and cold.  Peppers, cucumbers, melon and aubergine all need to be sown quite early otherwise you do not get a ripened crop.  They need a long warm summer or a heated greenhouse to really produce a lot of fruit. 

More leeks and onions - including red onions; cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese and some more herbs were sown into three inch pots.  This restricts the amount of seed that is used. 

I put the broad beans into sectioned trays and my own broad bean seed straight into the soil on the beans and pea bed.  I covered over the bean seed with some wire netting to deter the rats from digging them up and eating them.  However, I checked today and something has been digging up the broad bean seeds and eating them.  I will either have to put a better net over them or just leave them and plant some dwarf French beans where they are now. 

I also sowed some more tomato seeds.  They are the cherry tomatoes and they produce quite a lot of fruit once they get going. 

The Alicante and Black Russian tomatoes are surviving and growing well.  I have transplanted them into three inch posts so they can grow on.  Once they are about 150mm, I will plant them into the big pots. 

I have transplanted all the winter sown onion seedlings into sectioned trays and will leave them to grow on until they are about 150mm tall.  I still have to transplant the leeks. 

I have put up the cane supports for the tall peas.  However, before putting the canes in, I dug alleyways putting the soil on the beds and slightly raising them.  I replaced the soil with shredded woody material which made a very good path. 

The canes for the tall peas were put in at 300mm intervals which is adequate for these vegetables.  I will cover the canes with netting to give the peas something to climb up. 

The canes for the climbing French Beans have also been put up in a similar way.  I wanted two rows of canes because I have so many different varieties of climbing bean. 

Most of the sweet pea seedlings have been planted out under the cane supports.  I will select the best shoots to tie in and take up the canes.  Any other shoots will be cut out and composted.  I watered the seedlings in with very weak comfrey liquid.  As there is charcoal marinating in the comfrey liquid dustbin some of this found its way into the watering can and from there into the planting holes.  The charcoal will give the sweet pea seedlings and additional boost.  Once I have planted out all the sweet pea seedlings, I will have a little more time to do some more seed sowing.

The first set of seed that I will need to sow is the parsnips.  I also have some skirret seeds which I will sow next to the parsnips.  I have never grown these before so I will be interested to find out what they taste like.  As parsnips have become a lot more popular, I suspect that skirret is not particularly tasty. However, together with Hamburg parsley, they are another root vegetable that can be used in vegetable stews and curries. 

I still need to cover the onions with enviromesh.  The leek miner fly Phytomyza gymnostoma  is very prevalent in the West Midlands and alliums need to be protected from it. 

I have just got all my stuff together for grafting.  All the buds are beginning to break now and it is obvious, bad weather or not, spring is here.  The forsythia and the flowering currant are flowering and I have seen magnolia coming into bloom. 

I will start the grafting towards the end of the week when I have finished everything else.  I am looking forward to that.

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