Slow painting

Thursday 1 May 2008

Seed time

The first lot of seeds is underway. We don't have a greenhouse, so it's the good old living room window sill. When we first looked round this house 16 years ago one of the things that attracted me to it was a good, broad living room windowsill for raising seed.

Sowing day this year was 21st April. Quite late by most advice in books, but here in the north it doesn't do any harm to wait. So far I have two varieties of dwarf French bean, 'Tendergreen' and 'Aiguillon'. Here's the first one just peeking through, only 5 days later.

Four days later again and they've shot up:

Next the brassicas: the first sowing of broccoli, 'Claret', and a new venture, kale 'Nero di Toscana'. We all loved the purple sprouting broccoli we had 2 years ago, and are keen to step up production this year. On the kale front, we normally have a good Scottish variety, but I'm the only one who is truly entranced by kale, so I thought we'd try a suave Italian version. Here they are at their tiny seed leaf stage:

In the same tray I have two rows of pumpkin 'Connecticut Field'. As soon as they started to come through I remembered why it's a mistake to sow them in the same tray as less robust seedlings - by the time they're ready to plant out they are swamping their rather frail neighbours. I'll have to pot them on individually once they start to get too big.

Not doing anything at the moment are 8 pots of sunflowers sown by my daughter, a tray of sweet peas 'Old Spice Mixed' (a blend of heirloom sweet peas, highly scented), and, back to edibles, a tray of green peas, 'Feltham First'. I'm rather proud of my recycled arrangement for the last two. The commercial 'root trainers' that I have the other seeds in are very well designed and robust, but rather expensive. I needed more, but balked at the price. Recently I noticed that the plastic trays that large open-cap mushrooms come in would take 8 insides of toilet roll, and would be perfect for transferring peas straight to their final location.

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