After the December to February lull, it’s gone back to busy mode again. I love this time of year – buds, sprouts, flowering bulbs and…potential. Time to sketch out a rough planting plan and get the place properly ready.
The seed swap at the end of February worked out so well. I now have just about everything off my remaining 2014 grow wish list that I couldn’t afford from the original budget, including oregano, garlic chives, mesclun salad and some black winter radishes. I’ve now updated my 2014 garden grow list, and can’t wait to get a few of those started off. The only things I didn’t manage to find were black kale, coloured chard and pak choi, but thinking about it there might not be room for those anyway, and I have similar veggie seeds in the tin.
I’ve been outdoors doing battle as well – the slugs and weeds have woken up, and there have been a few dead leaves and twigs to pick up too. I also cut the Autumn raspberry canes back to the ground, and gave the cherry sapling some more potassium rich feed to perk it up.
The seedlings sown last month have mainly done well, and we have parsley, sweet basil, baby leeks and coriander growing away. Unfortunately I put my pepper and chilli seeds on a cooler windowsill than last year and most of them have failed to germinate. Lesson learned. There’s just enough time left to do some re-sowing, so I’m trying again with mixed sweet peppers, Cayenne, and some home grown hybrids that are mainly like Padron peppers.
Saving pepper and chilli seed is best done if you’re only growing one variety of this kind of plant, or you’ve isolated the plant under an insect-proof net and hand pollinated it yourself. When they cross-pollinate you never really know what you’re going to end up with, although the first generation tend to be spicy. After that it can get really random and not necessarily productive or even tasty. The hybrid seeds are from the year before last, and hopefully they’re still viable. I grew half of them last year, which is how I already know they’ll turn out like Padrons.
Anyway, this means that I have no Hungarian Hot Wax chillies for the year. Not good. They’re my staple pepper, half way in between a sweet pepper and a chilli, and grow brilliantly outdoors compared to all the other types. Shall I do without, or pinch some of the budget that’s earmarked for other things? The window’s closing for sowing capsicums so I reckon I have a week to make my mind up…
There is so much to sow this weekend, and this Sunday has been earmarked for putting up cloches and getting a few things started off, from radishes to peas to lettuces. One big burst of activity ought to do it.
Meanwhile, we’ve been eating a few things from the kitchen garden, including rocket, mizuna, radicchio, herbs, kale and what looks like the last few Brussels sprouts. The Arctic King lettuce seedlings all survived the winter, but haven’t started bulking up properly yet, but they might be giving us the first proper lettuce heads of the year soon enough.
How’s your garden growing so far this year?