Direct Sowing

The peas and broad beans from early march are making they way up (one had even pushed itself right out of the ground!) and the weather is starting to get warmer.  Sortof.  Slightly. So at the end of last week I took the opportunity to sow more seeds direct.

It was the hardier of the plants which I decided would be safe to sow – some lettuce (Latuca sativa ‘Reine des Glaces’), beetroot (Beta vulgaris ‘Albino’) and a black ‘opium’ poppy (Papaver somniferum ‘Black Peony’).  If the weather continues to get better these early sowings will shoot away fairly soon.  Although we have to do two rows of each crop in the proscribed section, I’ve as yet planted only one.  I’d like to go back and plant the second in a few weeks – this means that there should be a succession of cropping rather than everything being ready all at once.

The start of the direct sowing means that it was time for my black plastic to come off.  It’s been a wonderful boon – the soil underneath it has been warm and the weeds were fairly non-existent.  Definitely something I’d try at home, now.  In it’s place, the plot has sprouted a large set of fleece covers – to keep the seeds a tad cosier and to keep the birds, mice etc. off of them.  Hopefully.

Indoors, I’m starting to see some activity with my ornamental millet (Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Majesty’):

Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'

It may be tiny, yet, but these grasses always seem to start off fairly slow.  I sowed them in February and most of them are only at the stage of having a tiny radicle (seed root) poking out.  As they are surface sown I can keep an eye on them – unlike my nasturtiums which are being a little tardy but are hiding out under the soil where I can’t prod them.

Another set of seeds which is coming along strongly are my calendula (Calendula officinalis ‘Neon’).  they like a wee bit of warmth to get going but as we have only the greenhouse (HOT!) and the polytunnel (COLD!) I had to think a bit about how to provide them with more amenable conditions.  In the end I opted for putting them in the greenhouse but elevated on another small tray – this means they get the heat but are not sitting directly on a very warm heating mat where they’d rocket up and become straggly.  As they are a dwarf type I want them to stay short and compact.

Unfortunately, I keep forgetting my camera when I pop along to the plot so I’m afraid I’ve not many images for this post.  However, I have finally updated the Theme & Design section to show images of my design so for more colour head that way.


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