Spring: Sowing Seed and Potting on in the Glasshouse

It's been a bad spring, the fluctuating temperatures has seen some seedlings die, some seeds fail and other plants get caught by the late frosts. We'd like to say all the frosts are gone but even as we write this sat on a stool in the garden, like some demented gnome office temp, our breath is starting to fog in the air. The last frosts are far from ending and our worries turn to the abysmal growing season of 2013. That year also started with a very hot Easter, and well, we all know how that year turned out. Therefore we have a glasshouse that should be swamped by seedlings but instead is swamped by fleece, blankets and heaters. 

Growing pumpkins

We're evening staggering when to sow our pumpkins, the variety in the photo is Connecticut Field (Thomas Etty Esq), we planted this variety around three weeks ago and even still it's struggling. We could turn to feed but that would just produce sappy growth susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and we have had those. We have seen blazing days and bone chilling nights. We've even had to have the heating on in the house. Bugger us, will it ever end? That feeling that when you open the glasshouse, take off the covers and the lids that you're playing roulette and you placed everything on six.

Hot days and cold nights are difficult to get things growing.

It's that moment when the lids come off and you find blackened plants - at first, we thought we'd bought in some bum compost, it does happen and did happen to many growers a few years back when a big compost brand killed an entire gardening year for many. We're careful with our compost, only organic and only Soil Association recommended when it comes to sowing seedlings. Yet, the way the seedlings in a seed tray where dead around the edges but alive in the middle told all we needed to know. All the seedlings by the glasshouse door went faster than a dodo in the middle of hungry sailors. It revealed how glasshouses can really be hit by different types of frost at different times of year

Frost is a killer to seedlings.

The beans even got hit and Prizewinner was a dud but Painted Lady and Tendergreen came romping through but the sunflowers got hit also. So, we sowed some more and they've survived. Our wonderful Bishop's Children that we've had for two years also fell foul to frost and fungus, hot days, cold nights, a perfect soup for the fungus to get in and tuber after tuber smelt foul within days. From a stock of over fifty tubers we now have only a handful. Thankfully, we made the decision to sow some from seed this year but we have yet to sow them due to those fluctuating temperatures.

It's been a hard spring outside and undercover. Yet again we find ourselves behind but not because we haven't the time to sow, this time we haven't the temperatures to sow.


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