SEED FOLLOWING FOR 2017

“In for a penny …..” they say. In my last post (well, the last before that accidental book review) I announced I was following a tree. In this one, I’m announcing that I’m going also to be following some seeds. I like an easy life and, as none of these are majorly mobile entities, I won’t have to move around that much. Though the seeds will be a bit more mobile than the tree as they migrate from seed pots, via pricking out and potting on (in that order) to the greenhouse or cold frame and thence to wherever their destiny (or my decisiveness) takes them.

There’s madness in my method. If I commit to monthly updates on my progress (or, more accurately, that of my seeds despite my failings) it’ll spur me on to do something for fear of, otherwise, appearing a lazy, good-for-nothing wastrel. Instead I’ll happily accept the moniker “active but untalented plant-raiser”. That’s in case my seed sowing activities come to naught. That happened a few years ago when my old greenhouse let in the slugs on the run from the nematodes in the borders and a badger (singular) put paid to my seed bed on the way to destroy half the lawn.

So this post is by way of introduction. The seeds I’ll be sowing this year come from three sources:

  • The Hardy Plant Society’s seed distribution through which, this year, I’ve received a nice collection of (mainly) grasses seeds (I say “grasses” to differentiate from “grass”, aka lawn);
  • Ben and Flash at Higgledy Garden (wherever it is at the moment) who take care of my needs for annual flowers (mainly hardy types though this year I’ll be starting them off indoors to avoid damage by badgers, resident cat and other itinerant pests);
  • Fellow blogger Gill Heavens who kindly sent me some surprise envelopes of seeds she’d collected from her garden (with a demand for photos of progress so she’d know I actually sowed them and didn’t nick photos off the interwebs).

I’ll be doing all my sowing in GrowChar seed compost (peat free) and potting on into coir (yup, also peat free) – which I use for all my growing on now. Maybe I’m a control freak; I like coir because I can control absolutely the nutrients in it; to start with there are none so any that infiltrate the pots get there cos I put them there.

Some seeds’ll get sown now; others later. Generally I’ll start things off in my two nice new propagators. These are simply heated growthings. No thermostats. But they fit nicely on the only window sill I can utilise in the house for seed sowing because (a) it’s wider than 4 inches and (b) it’s not accessible by resident cat. These cheapo gizmos will provide that bit of extra warmth seeds need to wake up. Actually the temperature is controlled in a way. The sill’s in my study where the radiator’s permanently off. The room’s heated by computer kit which, oddly, keeps it at a constant known heat. The propagators heat to around 10C above that. Which is nice seed germination temperature, lucky me!

Later on when it gets a bit warmer, I’ll sow in the greenhouse but there’s no way I’m heating it up to seed germination temperatures when outside it’s hanging around zero! The greenhouse will be warm enough for initial growing on and then they move to my lean-to growhouses or to the coldframe, all of which have frost-protection heating but no more.

OK, that’s the intro. I’ll aim for a monthly seed-following post around the 21st of each month (around 7th is reserved for tree-following).

And I may need to nick a chunk of the garden from next door when they’re not looking. Hey ho!

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8 thoughts on “SEED FOLLOWING FOR 2017

    1. Already having problems! Changed from Andrex to Cushelle loo rolls a while back. Sowed sweet peas in the Cushelle cores and they’ve all come unstuck. I’ll have to go back to Andrex 🙂

  1. Nice propagators! look forward to reading of your successes, trials and tribulations. My propagator is already plugged in and hopefully hatching the first batch of the season – cannas, hedychium, coleus and Isoplexis Canariensis. Isoplexis are up (need magnifying glass!) but all the others are irritatingly sluggish, despite my cheering them on.

    1. Hi and thanks for visiting, Jane. I finally got round to sowing today, a sort of forced delay as I was waiting for a delivery of peat-free seed compost which arrived yesterday. My HPS selection seeds are in one propagator and those with which I’m not competing with Gill over at OfftheEdgeGardening are in the other. I’m not jealous of your two greenhouses, honest! I had two until a 2015 when I replaced them with a single bigger one. I’m working out how I can make it 4 feet longer at the moment!

      I hope you won’t mind but I’ve added your blog to the blog list I’m putting together over on my web site. It’ll appear in the list tomorrow (Monday) when I run the updater.

  2. Until this year I had turned down the possibility of heating the green house but 145 Watt heater and a grow lamp have got loads of things off to a fast start. Dividing the greenhouse with scrap bubble wrap has contained enough heat to raise temps to above 25c on a fair few days.

    Keep up the seed following posts 🙂

    1. Hi Andy. Thanks for dropping by. When I built the current greenhouse in 2015, I decided on gas heating as I have an aversion to electricity outdoors. I also have a few paraffin heaters from the olden days which I use in my growhouses and cold frame IF I need to. But although they’re only heating small spaces, they cost more than the gas heater in the main greenhouse. I sow indoors as the temperatures needed for germination are a bit above the frost-free level in the greenhouse and, again, I don’t want electric kit out there. I read your post about your growlight. I’ve got a (much) smaller gizmo, a round LED head that fits into an old Anglepoise lamp I had in the attic. It does the necessary on dull days. Now maybe, just maybe, I’ll start using the conservatory as a conservatory instead of a garden room; your growlight would fit nicely in that.

      1. I’m impressed with the light. The seedlings are all pointing towards the light rather than the green house windows which tells it’s own story as to whether it works 🙂 My green house has hit 25 deg C often and last week hit 32c – a lot of seeds weren’t germinating so I left the heater on 24/7 – now they have almost all germinated – just some peppers that haven’t.

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