In the Greenhouse in March: Busy Busy!

Ghouse.March15.1For those of us who are trying valiantly or otherwise to make the most of our greenhouses, Julie of Peonies and Posies is hosting a greenhouse meme on the 11th of each month – not so we can brag about our achievements but so we can share and learn from each other’s experiences. We all have different commitments and not everyone can spend lots of time in their garden, particularly if they have to go out to work, so I wouldn’t want anyone to be put off by reading about all the seed sowing some of us have been doing.

IMG_4370Myself, I have to confess with being well on top of things in my greenhouses. I organised the seeds into monthly sowing slots, with a few late summer and autumn sowings, one or two things at the end of January, then February and March sowings as and when space and quarter seed trays permit. Seeds have been started in the house on my ‘contraption’ next to the Aga, the quarter seed trays encased in zipped plastic bags and the cells covered in cling film, awaiting the arrival of an eBay purchase of larger zipped bags. These zipped bags have proved to create an ideal environment for germination, upon which the seedlings are moved down to the smaller (4×6) greenhouse.IMG_4369

 

 

 

Christina of My Hesperides Garden uses a spreadsheet to keep track of sowing, germination, potting on and flowering details and I plan to do something similar to build up a useful record to refer to from year to year. This year I have sown 19 different varieties in February and 21 in March, mostly hardy annuals – hmm, sounds rather a lot… Instead of listing them here, I think I will include them on a separate page – watch out for a new tab appearing in the new next few days.

Most of February’s sowings have now been pricked out (if they were grown in the quarter trays ) into cell trays from where they will be potted on as required into trays with bigger cells. Last week, I discussed my requirements with the Golfer who quickly made me tampers to fit the different cells and the quarter trays, thus making the job of filling them with soil neater and more efficient.

IMG_4368The larger 8×6 greenhouse is more of a mixed bag. On the upper shelf are the late summer sowings waiting to hardened off and planted outside, whereas the main staging has trays of plug plants bought fairly cheaply nearly a month ago and potted on – these are largely for the baskets at the front of the house. It does occur to me now that I have no excuse for not growing these from seed too, but I have always assumed that petunias are not the easiest of things to grow from seed – although perhaps my more recent sowing exploits have given me the experience I need to be successful with them. What does anyone else think? And perhaps I should be more adventurous and grow something other than petunias in the baskets anyway…

IMG_4363Also here are some new hostas, waiting to go out, overwintered fuchsias, and some hyacinths which will hopefully be appearing in  vase sometime very soon. On the greenhouse border are various pots: the forced Paperwhites, some overwintered pelargoniums and fuchsias, autumn sown sweet peas, alstroemeria, recently potted up dahlia tubers (from last year) and trays of shallots started off in cells, not something I have done before. I was surprised to see a couple of flowers on the pelargoniums this week – the plants are quite straggly and I meant to check before now whether I should have cut them back for the winter, like fuchsias. Again, what do other people do? This will be their third season now and they are such a pretty shade, exactly the same deep red as the Munstead Wood rose whose pot they will return to in a few weeks.

IMG_4366Hopefully a month from now will see the autumn sown annuals, overwintered plants and the spring bulbs out of the greenhouse –  by then, potted on seedlings will be overflowing from the smaller greenhouse, pushed out by April’s contingent. April? Already? Like spring, it’s on its way…

Thanks to Julie for hosting the meme – do have a look at her blog and find links there to what is happening in other people’s greenhouses this month too.

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17 Responses to In the Greenhouse in March: Busy Busy!

  1. Julie says:

    Blimey Cathy – you have sown a lot of varieties this year – I am looking forward to reading your list! I am very interested in your zipped bag idea – I often run out of space in my propagator and that could help to speed up germination for the trays that are left outside of it – I need to buy yet more half trays as I have run out again. I was pondering on what to do with my one scented leaf geranium today so I will watch the comments with interest to see if you get an answer. My father always told me to leave petunias and the like to the professionals, but he never said why. I have bought a couple of trays of verbena, but I am largely going to try and use my annuals in the pots this year – a dwarf cosmos, snapdragons and asters are likely contenders.

    Thank you for joining in again this month – it is really helpful to see what you are doing and you are absolutely right to emphasis that this is about sharing information and support so that we can all get more out of our growing spaces!

    • Cathy says:

      And I have had to order more quarter trays!! The number of seeds just expanded with some I had saved, some I was given or were free, some I am trialling for Which? Gardening and then the ones that I especially chose to sow!! Now that I am growing more from seed I think I will reassess what I put in my baskets so so will be interested to see what you do – although I do like my trailing petunias at the front! The zipped bags have worked really well, and the seed labels give some height to the space in the bag, trapping warm air.

  2. rickii says:

    I’m realizing more and more that I am probably not up to the demands of a greenhouse. Let the envy go!

  3. rusty duck says:

    Busy indeed!
    I have still not sown a single seed, so far behind where I usually am at this time of year. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, good weather forecast I believe. This weekend I shall go out in search of seeds, if there are any left, and get on to it.

  4. susan troccolo says:

    Oh my Lord, you have it so together it puts me to shame. My greenhouse is a mess. Although it is in possession of two beautiful (and big) Meyer Lemon Trees, so that is something. But, still, your greenhouse is REALLY something! (Oh, and I’m trying to write a book….THAT is what is taking all my time….YIKES!) I think I’ll go with Rickii (above) and say “Let the envy go.” Gardening isn’t competitive, that’s for sure.

  5. Christina says:

    A very apt tittle Cathy! there is nothing that gives so much pleasure as growing from seed. I’d love to know where you bought your modules, I remember than you said on line. I need more! The ziplock bags look a great idea, I invested in seedtray propagation covers when I bought my shelving from Two Wests and Elliot but I’m sure the bags work just as well.

  6. Annette says:

    You’ve been such a busy girl, Cathy, can’t get over it! There’ll be plenty to fill the gaps in the border, no doubt. As I’ve to travel tomorrow, I thought it best to wait until I get back before I get going as it’s always difficult to find someone to mind the plants. Monsieur made one tamper for me but not as sophisticated as those provided by the Golfer 😉

  7. Helen Johnstone says:

    Goodness that looks so organised. I have sown lots with a whole batch of bulbs being sown in January but they are outside. I am currently glaring a lot at seed trays willing something to appear. I laughed when you mentioned Christinas spreadsheet as I have done that on and off over the years and I do very well recording the seeds sown, not too bad on germination and then it all goes a little bit wrong and I forget about it!
    I have come to conclusion over the years that I remember seed suppliers whose seed hasnt dont well and I have learnt and change how I sow seeds so I figure there is little point keeping records especially as its more administration and I do that all day every day at work!

  8. Tom says:

    Busy doesn’t begin to describe it. Since we had a pretty warm winter here in western Washington the plants that we wintered over are exploding and we still have 2 months until the threat of frost is gone. Seems like I spend most of my time watering.

  9. Amy says:

    Thanks for the ideas and inspiration, Cathy! I’ve always been woefully incompetent when it came to growing anything from seed, but I do want to do it successfully! And while a greenhouse is still out of range, you are giving me ideas… Your use of bags for seedtrays, for instance; and just the whole process of pricking out and growing on looks more manageable somehow. Now, if you’ll hire out the Golfer for more of those wonderful tampers…!!

  10. So much going on in your greenhouse….it is a busy time here as I prepare and continue to sow this month ready for next month’s planting. If I can get rid of more snow.

  11. jenhumm116 says:

    All looking wonderful Cathy!
    I’m feeling a tad despondent today as one of my trays of tomatoes has had all it’s perky little seedlings razed to the ground. Slugs I assume, but just so annoying! Serves me right for taking the lid off. Think I’ll be seeking out some of your zip bags….
    Hey ho, all is not lost – my spreadsheet would appear to show there are five other lots of tomato seed under way 😉

  12. Anna says:

    You’ve got off to a brilliant start Cathy. For the first time for years I’ve not yet sown any seeds though that situation might change tomorrow. Although it’s a deliberate decision I’m getting most restless! I have grown petunias from seed but it was years ago. If my memory serves me well they need warmth and a relatively early start. Some varieties also need light to germinate.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna – i wonder if you rectified your sowing situation at the weekend? I will have to read up about petunias for next year – or perhaps it’s not late to experiment now…

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