My first message to y’all

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

I should have started sowing seeds last weekend but only got the propagator in my new (Gabriel Ashe), greenhouse working by dusk on Sunday. So tomorrow I am going to be a very busy bunny. There are two main tasks.
The first is to prepare a bed for my first early potatoes. The variety I grow is called Advent. They are waxy and very fast growing. They tend to get very big if you leave them in the ground too long which is why it is important to grow just enough for my needs. So… I will start by mixing about five barrow-loads of well rotted manure into one of my raised beds, which was last used for growing carrots and parsnips. The ground has not been manured for three years and effectively potatoes start the rotation period for me. I will then cover the ground with black polythene, made secure with a few bricks around the edges. I will also place two rows of polythene cloches over the black poly to help bring up the temperature of the soil underneath. As I am off on my World Tour on 9th March I plan to plant the tubers through the poly in the first week of March. The bed is 18 feet long and three feet wide, room enough for 34 tubers in two rows of 17.
I have some winter density lettuce growing on the allotment under a piece of glass. I need to thin them and then cover each plantlet with a plastic bottle cloche to aid growth. I also need to sort out bedraggled chard and spinach by reviving them with a feed of liquid seaweed to give them a kick-start into making fresh growth.
If I have the energy I’ll prepare a bed for pulses with more manure, but what I really have to do next is the second job. This is sowing seed in the greenhouse.
My propagator is 6 foot by 2 foot and can take a number of plant trays with individual clear plastic covers. The temperature is set at 70 degrees. I’ll sow into pots a pinch of seed of at least six different tomato varieties, yet to be decided, based on what takes my fancy when I open up my seed boxes. I’ll also be sowing Moroccan, Ukrainian and Indonesian chillies as I need to refresh the seed from this year’s crop for the future. I use JI seed compost and water in with a dilute mixture of cheshunt compound to prevent damping off. I’ll also be sowing four or five Italian red onion seeds in individual protapacs in the propagator.
I’ll also sow into trays on a bench in the greenhouse seed of Little Gem lettuce, spring cabbage, Romanesco and beetroot in individual protapacs, all for transplanting into the allotment in March. (A job for Jesse in my absence). These seed germinate better at temperatures lower than 70 degrees. As the greenhouse is kept at a minimum temperature of 45 degrees they should germinate fine.
That’s it. My first blog. Please pass on. Maybe one day this will be read by millions, I will become an Internet phenomenon and make a fortune so I don’t have to make TV any more, ever, ever, ever.
The nice thing is I am still harvesting carrots, leeks, kale, Romanesco, winter radish and celeriac. Now the purple sprouting is starting to come good so I’ll be eating that this weekend for sure!
Happy gardening. More next week if I can remember.

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