Gardening Magazine

Emerging into the Light

By Jules
So, we've now reached the end of March and are officially into British Summer Time. Yes, that'll explain the forecast for torrential rain tomorrow - but to be honest that's what umbrellas were invented for. At least the garden will appreciate it, even if the chickens don't.
The house has been a hive of sowing activity this month. I established a production line of modules in unheated propagators circulating their way around the house. Last year's scheme, which had seed trays sitting on the heated kitchen floor was a good one in principle, but there were a few, let's say, tripping incidents en route to the back door. So this year chilli seeds have been germinated in the airing cupboard before being moved to one of a number of 1st floor rooms to take advantage of either the early morning or afternoon sun. I've even been creating foil wrapped receptacles out of wine boxes in which to sit seed trays of emergent seedlings in order to reflect sunlight all around them and reduce the leaning tendencies of young seedlings towards the light - which I learned recently is termed phototropism.
The shallots are germinated and residing in the unheated greenhouse, where they'll stay until mid-April.
The leek seedlings are up - but will stay in their respective pots until May/June. They've been moved outside the greenhouse now but the trick will be keeping them watered during the warmer months. Basically if I don't fall over it on a daily basis it risks being forgotten in the watering round. As for the next stages, the common advice is not to plant them out until they're 'pencil thick' but I've yet to achieve that. To be honest, some of mine are still only pencil thick when they're harvested, but that's usually due to planting out too late which restricted the length of time they have to re-establish themselves before winter set in. I've introduced a journal of sorts this year in order to plan my timings better. But let's just say I'm not holding my breath...

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