With the weather finally starting to warm up and the sun breaking through, the Other Half and I have started planting out. Normally, we’d sow the seeds of early germinating, cool climate plants, such as lettuce and some brassicae, in late March or early April. At the same time, we’d sow the seeds of less hardy plants under glass for planting out in late April. Not this year.
The long, cool and wet spring has prevented the ground warming sufficiently for germination, while the soil has remained waterlogged and unworkable most days. We tried sowing some lettuce and cabbage seeds outside, but they failed to germinate with most rotting. To make up for the slow start to the season, we had to sow lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower under glass. They took up space intended for peas and beans but needs must.
The seedlings were large enough to be pricked out a week ago, but on each of the three days I took the trays out it started to hail within minutes of my starting the job. This time around, the weather remaining clear and sunny so the OH and I were able to make a good start on the job. We covered the rows of seedlings with fleece just in case the hail, sleet and snow return.
Even with practice it takes some time to plant out hundreds of seedlings. There are 55 cabbage seedlings to a bed, with three beds dedicated to them. There are a further three beds for other brassicae (kale, cauliflower, broccoli, swedes etc). There are six beds for salad vegetables and they have a higher density than the brassiere. Then, if the sun continues for a couple more days and warms the soil sufficiently for germination, there will be the carrots, beets and chard to go in. The peas and beans will be started under glass. The celery will come outside. The cucumbers and tomatoes will be potted on inside, as will the pumpkins, squashes and courgettes. How are other vegetable gardens progressing?
- Jobs for May (thegardensmallholder.wordpress.com)
- The Smallholding: March 2012 (southfarming.co.uk)
- In the Greenhouse Right Now … (homeschoolonthecroft.com)