Just Can’t Get Enough…

IMG_7166… of the whole production line process of sowing, pricking out, potting on and planting out – even the washing out of trays and cells as soon as they are emptied! And just how many times a day can you observe a tray of seedlings…? Several, I can assure you! Knowing I am towards the end of this year’s early flurry of sowing I have found myself making second sowings of some things – just because I can – to keep the process going… I don’t think the miracle of what can emerge from a tiny seed will ever cease to enthrall me – nor the rate of growth as temperatures and light levels rise. Each year increases my knowledge, both from my own experience and from sharing experiences with other bloggers.

So what do I feel have learned so far this year, or increased my awareness of? Certainly the following:

  • to plant out summer or autumn sown annuals or biennials before the winter to save space in the greenhouse the following year; second sowings can always be made to top up or replace failures
  • that pricking out and potting on really do make a difference to the quality of the final plant and hence…
  • that bulk buying (I buy in 50s) cell trays makes the whole process so much easier (no faffing about to find appropriate pots), keeps the greenhouse staging more organised, makes watering easier and keeps the same plants together. I have bought in a further 50 12 cell and 6 cell trays this year because the supply ebbs and flows as seedlings move from their original quarter trays through the pricking out and potting on stages
  • vermiculite on the surface of trays makes watering easier as the compost doesn’t dry out as quickly

During April the 2015 sowings have been belatedly planted out, joined by outdoor sweet peas and this year’s sowing of linaria, osteospermum and orange Californian poppy; all except some of the sweet peas have been planted amongst the borders rather than the cutting beds which will be filled up  with other seedlings and dahlias in due course. It’s hard to believe that in only a month or two these borders and beds will be filling up and filling out with greenery and blooms – lovely, lovely!

Aaaaah, just can’t get enough… 🙂

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25 Responses to Just Can’t Get Enough…

  1. rickii says:

    You’ll be living a lush life with so many plants coming on. I congratulate you on your industry…wish some of it would rub off.

  2. johnvic8 says:

    You are just TOO organized…and a wedding on top. Wow!

  3. Christina says:

    I agree totally. I think I would grow from seed just for the fun of it. Our cold snap has delayed some of my planting out but the greenhouse is much less full already.

    • Cathy says:

      I guessed you would agree! 🙂 And here we have had 3 or is it now 4 nights when temps dipped just below freezing… Nothing seems to have suffered, even the fuchsias I had moved out of the greenhouse to harden off again and left uncovered… Meanwhile I keep looking for more things I can plant out to gain more space…

  4. Cathy says:

    It’s all lovely! I used to enjoy growing from seed more when I had a greenhouse. But the upside of ‘making do’ is that I have learnt how much the warmth of glass on all sides (rather than from just one direction in an unheated sun room, as I have now) can do to help germination and initial growth. I get far more damping off than I used to, so I have to sow many things very late.

  5. Renee Pasman says:

    What a great production you have going here! It looks like a lot of fun!

  6. Sam says:

    I’m sure that when I have more time I will be spending it doing more of this. Being in the greenhouse, radio on, mug of tea, potting on or pricking out is the best. I think I might have to get some more shelving… Thank you for sharing your tips. Very useful.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sam – indeed, when I was still working I was very half-hearted about sowing. Always done too late and definitely not pricked out and potted on – probably just thinned. I have more time now to appreciate just what a miracle the process is and what joy there is to be had from a packet of seeds. The tips work for me – I suppose others might do it differently

  7. FlowerAlley says:

    Thanks for sharing your secrets. If I ever get as organized as you are, I’ll know how to max out production. Love vermiculite for seedlings. Good job greenthumb!

  8. AnnetteM says:

    Good tips for a novice seed grower like myself. Thanks very much.

  9. Brian Skeys says:

    All looking full of promise Cathy. The Autumn planted sweet peas are doing really well. Do I remember right they were special SP for Autumn sowing?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Brian – and special for early flowering although yes, they would need to be autumn sown. Bred to grow and flower at lower light levels

  10. Amy says:

    I’m doing my best to learn so thank you for jotting down your advice – especially the bit about pricking out and potting on!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Amy – I have found for example that things sown at the beginning of February and pricked out when big enough are definitely ready to be repotted again by now and immediately put on another spurt of growth (as they did when they were pricked out) and will be ready to planted out in another few weeks

  11. A veritable production line, brilliant

  12. annie_h says:

    I think I share your love of seed sowing. I just love trying new varieties from seed. My challenge is moving them on quick enough, this cold spell and halted things a bit so I’m hoping we get some warmer weather soon.

  13. learning from our own experience is the best way I think, you have done well and like you I have found keeping plants until they are larger before planting makes a difference to how they survive, Frances

  14. jenhumm116 says:

    No, I can’t get enough either. Goodness know where everything will go, but I too can’t get enough of that seed sowing magic!

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