For 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.
Myself, 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.
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.
The 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…
Also 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.
Hopefully 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.