Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Plant update

The tunnels are warm, the greenhouse is warm, the ground is still a bit cold outside, but there are patches which are ok! The plants are growing like crazy in the warmth of the greenhouse and I thought that I'd show you how it is going.....

The greenhouse is almost full.... (there are another 7 trays in the house!!!)

In fact, I have started to use the cold frame as I hope to plant out some of the plants next week. Inside are the shallots and I have since added the leeks and onions from the greenhouse to free up some room!

I have planted some gutters up with peas and they are sunning themselves on the shelves in the greenhouse.

Outside I have put a mini tunnel over some of the comfrey as I really want this to grow so I can start to make comfrey tea to use on the plants, I hope to get an early crop from 4 of the plants!

I planted 2 batches of tomatoes and the first lot are about to open their flowers. If you look really hard you can see some yellow!! I want to build a tunnel inside the tomato tunnel so I can get them going really soon. We have a -5 frost forecast for Thursday night, so I will wait until after that. I will probably have to heat that area at night until it really warms up (soon I hope!!)

Last year I brewed up some seaweed tea and made some liquid fertiliser to use as a foliar feed, and I suddenly came across the last few bottles the other day. I opened them up, smelt them and although I was instantly transported to the seaside, they were not smelling bad so I have started to use them!! The bottles are old vodka bottles! I am not sure quite how to do this but I put a big hadfull in the bottom of a saucepan and warmed it on the back of the stove and left it for a few days to infuse. I then filtered it with a tea strainer. I water it down when using it about 1:10. It seemed to make a big difference on the trials that I did last year so I guess it must work! The left over seaweed I used in the garden and on the compost heap.

Last year we grew fennel for the first time and it was great! So I have planted the first lot to transplant into the polytunnel. They are the many small pots at the back. I have also bought some rhubarb seeds!! Much cheaper than buying plants, although I probably could have scrounged some, it is fun to see how quickly they will grow!! They are the 6 little seedlings on the right. Pretty small right now!

I have been using wooden clothes pegs to mark the plants up when they are in pots. This works well as they are less likely to be knocked off with all the carting back and forwards I do to the house. I write on them in pencil and they are pretty good until they start to get weathered. At least they are easy to read in the seedling and small plant stage.

I have a large aluminium deep sided tray which I use for watering. This is a much better system as it is quicker and ensures that the plants get a good soaking. Also because there is a layer of soil in the bottom which is black, it heats up really quickly to ensure that the water is warm. I use the black watering can to also warm up water quickly. I am using river water and it is pretty cold! There is still lots of ice around the edges of the river!

This year I invested in some plug trays. It is something which cost me quite a lot, but they are pretty tough and I hope to use them for many, many years. These are the tiny ones which are good for leeks and onions there are 224 in each tray! I have 5 trays of onions and leeks!!!! They did not all grow however as the seed was pretty old, but we do use a lot of onions, and it is LOADS cheaper than buying onions sets!

I have also bought some bigger celled trays which are good for bigger plants. Here are lots of the cabbage family. I also started off lots of the tomatoes in trays like these. They are very deep which is good for root development. I think this is picture is up side down, makes me feel strange looking at it!!

Out in one of the polytunnels the broad beans and peas are doing well! I think that I could have planted them a lot earlier. Live and learn! It is my first year with a polytunnel and I have already learnt a lot!

On the other side of the polytunnel I have lettuce and spinach seedlings (transplanted from trays) In the distance I have sowed carrots, beetroot, coriander and such like.

These plants are protected at night by another mini tunnel inside the big tunnel. Next year I will put the hoops in before the ground freezes.....It will get it much warmer this way! I am about to build a tunnel like this inside the tomato polytunnel.

Well I am sure I have missed out some things, but spring has sprung......finally!!!

1 comment:

  1. So good to read your news. You are so industrious, I feel tired just reading it all. Your pictures and description really are interesting - when are you going to write a book? - when you have time I suppose! Your previous blog on your pork preparation was also quite amazing. We do love getting your news updates. Thanks. Look forward to seeing it all. Love Mum


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