Saturday, 25 January 2014

Sow the Seeds of this Years Garden Plans

The weather this weekend is cold, windy, wet, sleaty, snowy and I just am not going to get out in the garden (sad face). The greenhouses are tidy as is the potting shed, so there's no work to do under cover. So next on the indoor gardening job list is planning my seed purchases for this year, yeh!

Before I had to go back to work full time six years ago I used to have a fully operating veg garden and spent a lot of money on seeds every January. This not only included veg seeds (sometimes up to 6 types of cabbages) but also annuals and some perennials. Three years ago when I found myself a single mum I turned the veg garden into a flower garden because I didn't have the time to raise, plant out and tend veg, I couldn't afford to buy that much seed and the kids didn't appreciate the inevitable extra protein in their greens! I did my best to remove the caterpillars, honest! I now have four very pretty, colourful flower beds and we grow a few lettuce and radish in the kids potager garden.

After two or three years of not doing much seed growing at all here (general apathy at life, no time, etc.) last year I sowed a few packets of my favourite annuals to mix in the borders in the kids garden and the morning garden. I am feeling much more positive, with our plans for the future of the gardens here at Easter Mosshat and all the work we did last year with David on board who is equally enthusiastic. So the seed catalogues are out, along with a glass of wine, cosy-ed up on the sofa, I will be making notes then ordering on line.

Some of my favourite seed catalogues

Again I will sow some lettuce but this year I will mainly be buying flower seeds. Once I have a poly tunnel up and running, hopefully in the next year or so (we're saving hard!) we plan to go back into full veg production which will be fab: I miss producing all that fresh produce for our kitchen, but until then flowers and perennial seeds it is.

The seeds I have stored already for sowing in March

I received an envelope of seed packets in the post last week from the Hardy Plant Society which I joined in December. I joked that I must be getting old now I have joined some garden societies. David nodded sagely: his view is that all gardeners are silver-haired (I am not, by the way) and retired. The society produce a seed list and members can choose twelve packets for the cost of P&P. I chose a good selection of perennial, quite I few I had planned to get for the garden eventually and some others to try. The other society that does this is the Cottage garden Society, which I also joined in December. I am eagerly awaiting my ten packets of seeds from them.

Once we get into March I will be sowing all my packets of seeds in trays and pots in the greenhouses. Some annuals will be scattered over the ground in May, once the soil warms up. I will cover sowing seeds in another blog in a couple of months time, but I have already sown some perennial seeds in the cold greenhouse, to get them germinated and growing for planting in the spring. These plants are all destined for the native garden. All are Scottish natives so I was expecting a pretty good germination rate... until the mice struck!

Seeds coming on in the cold greenhouse

Mice are a nightmare to anyone sowing seeds or growing bulbs in winter. I know they are hungry but my seeds are not bought as mouse food! I covered the pots in the greenhouse with wire mesh too small for them to get through, but they still got to some of the pots and I'm not sure there will be enough seed left to give me a batch of plants. Time will tell.


Some germinating Scottish natives

A note about storing seeds until you are ready to sow them. Ideally use a dry, airtight container (plastic tupperware type boxes are good) and then pop them in the fridge. This keeps them viable, stops them rotting (if too humid), an ideal temperature of 5 degrees Celsius is good, and many seeds will keep like this for years.


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