So much to do, so little time
There has been a slightly bigger than usual gap between this blog and the last because there is just too much to do - but there is plenty to look at and it would be a shame not to share it with you. Last week's planting is doing well, the Pulsatillas' fluffy buds have opened and the other plants are settling in nicely.
|N. pseudonarcissus in a Buxus pot (644)|
Old but tough
My vintage narcissus collection seems to be OK though, Narcissus pseudonarcissus was the first in full flower this week, Jim has drifts of this British native in his garden and they look stunning, but in a pot attention is focused on them and you notice more about the details of their pale, slightly twisted petals.
|T. 'Heart's Delight' with Carex 'Curly Whirly' and Corydalis cheilanthifolia|
Seed sowing is in full swing in the greenhouse, so I thought I might share my basic seed sowing technique:
4. Sow the seeds thinly. Don't be tempted to use the whole packet if it means the seeds are in clumps. If they are cheek by jowl the seedlings are more likely to damp off (rot), they will grow straggly and weak and it will be hard to prick them out without damaging them. Large seeds (these are Tagetes 'Disco Mix') are easy to space out.
5. Cover the seeds in accordance with the instructions on the packet (or if there are no instructions the rule of thumb is cover by approximately the same depth as the diameter of the seeds). I just use a plastic pot as a sieve and work back and forth, tapping lightly and making sure the covering is even. Do read the packet carefully because some seeds need light to germinate and so shouldn't be covered at all.
8. Place the tray in a propagator (ours is cobbled together out of scraps of wood and plastic sheeting, with a thermostatically controlled heating cable under grit). I find the vast majority of seeds are willing to hatch at about 15 or 16C but again you need to consult the seed packet for any special instructions. You shouldn't need to water them again while they are in here, but make sure the base of the propagator (gravel, sand or capillary matting) remains moist. Seedlings don't like to be soggy but they will not tolerate drying out, even for half an hour, so check them frequently. Many seeds, especially hardy annuals, are fine on a windowsill sealed inside a clear plastic bag.
9. As soon as you think all the seedlings have germinated and are fully expanded (not still folded up or with seed leaves stuck in seed coats) you can remove them from the propagator or bag. At this stage they may need another drink, so you can give them another dunk in some water but don't get the compost absolutely sodden. Make sure they are not in bright, hot sunshine or a draught and leave them for a few days (still inside the greenhouse or on the windowsill) to toughen up a bit.
Then prick them out as soon as possible - I'll give more details on this another time- I think that's enough for now, so here endeth the lesson.
|Everyone up and about in a matter of minutes. I really, really don't want to be reincarnated as a ewe!|