Sunday 15th April 2018 and the weather is finally starting to improve. Its been a rainy, misty and miserable start to April weather wise in West Yorkshire, however the temperatures are on the rise and this is good for soil and for seed germination.
We’ve had a productive day in the Seeds to Sow garden today. Our Charlotte potatoes are finally planted out, into potato growing bags, and our maincrop is going in across the coming week in line with the lovely weather we have been promised by forecasters!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve had cloche poly tunnels across our raised beds, warming up the soil. We checked the soil last night and it felt warm to the touch, so today we’ve sown direct into the beds; Parsnips (both Gladiator and Tender and True), Swede, Beetroot Mixed and Beetroot Boltardy. I’ve replaced a cloche tunnel across one side of the bed, hoping one will grow faster than the other so I’ll let you know how I get on with this.
All of our greenhouse Lupins have been potted on today, Noble Maiden, The Pages and The Chatelaine. The roots of the Lupins are really long, even on a small seedling, so its advisable to sow these seeds into individual pots to make potting on easier. Every day is a learning day!
All other greenhouse seedlings look strong and well, we have all of our tomato varieties growing; Moneymaker, Gardeners Delight, Cherry Falls and Ildi (the latter two both good for hanging baskets, we did this last year) and our new Marmande. Looking forward to a big beefy tomato!
Our Autumn sown Sweet Peas, Cabbage Durham Early and Cauliflower All Year Round are all growing strong and we’ve started hardening these off in the hope of planting out next weekend. What is ‘hardening off’ you may ask?
It simply means ‘toughening up’ and acclimatising to outdoor conditions. You should gradually introduce the seedlings to outdoor conditions and do this across a 7 to 10 day period, putting the seedlings outdoors for a few hours at a time, gradually increasing the period each day, and putting them back ‘to bed’ each night.
This way the seedlings get used to outdoor weather conditions, learn to toughen up, and will have a much better chance of survival once you finally plant them out to their final growing positions outdoors. Even then, if harsh frosts appear in the forecast, it is advisable to ‘cloche’ any tender seedlings to give them extra protection.
Lighter nights allow pottering until late and with temperatures on the rise, next week should be a week to get some jobs done at last. Finally, Spring is here!