Finally some sunshine, well for one day
Saturday morning has started to feel like gardening time for me now, which is an excellent feeling and I'm hoping that Eva is starting to share the same views, she is certainly starting to ask if we will be going to the allotment and what jobs we will be doing.
This Saturday morning seemed to feel like the first Saturday of the year that the sun was shining and it was the type of gardening weather that we'd been hoping for since we started the allotment journey of 2018. These are defiantly the days that I fell in love with when I developed my green fingers when I was just a little old than Eva is now.
Sowing in the greenhouse was on the agenda today, although the sun was shining, outside was still a little on the cold side so I was keen to keep Eva under the glass and getting involved with the jobs today. I was also very aware that the forecast for the week ahead is very much 'Arctic' conditions, so working the soil and preparing the beds should really hold off until the cold snap passes.
Sowing the Sets
I'm very keen this year to grow onions, as many onions that we have space for should be enough. As a Family, I think Onions and Potatoes are the most used vegetables in the house, so growing as many as possible make a lot of sense. Last week I focused on sowing a couple of different Onions seeds in plug trays and this week the attentions turns towards the Onion / Shallot sets and Garlic cloves.
I'm using a method that many gardeners at this time of year will be using to spark the bulbs into showing signs of life and giving them a boost before we put them into their final growing area. The sets and cloves will be sown in seed trays and left in the greenhouse, where the temperature will be a few degrees higher than conditions outside.
I've used a seed tray insert and a seed tray with no holes in the bottom to retain water so the bulbs don't dry out when the greenhouse gets warm. I've filled the insert with multi purpose compost and placed one set into each cell of the tray, removing any excess 'skin' at the top of the onion to prevent any restriction on the shoot. The set is placed into the compost so that half of the Onion is covered and half is showing above the compost, at this stage this will be sufficient and withing a couple of days the roots of the bulb with start to develop and drive into the compost underneath. The same method is used for the Shallots and Garlic.
A little bit more sowing
This week was a good week for getting Eva involved, she could fill the seed trays with soil (without the worry of the mess) and she could be given sowing jobs to do with viable signs of a good job. Next on the list were Pea's and Broad beans, another excellent task for little fingers.
At this time of year both Broad beans and Pea's can be sown directly into the ground and be left to germinate, the only worry about doing this is the weather conditions destroying your hard work. With the weather forecast poor for the next couple of weeks I felt the safest way was sowing the seeds in the greenhouse and transplanting the plugs when the weather had improved.
The Peas were sown in a 4x cell seed tray insert (strips) so when the Peas were ready they could be transplanted in their strips directly into the growing area without disturbing the roots, this method is very similar to using a piece of guttering as the sowing bed. We placed 5 Pea seeds into each strip, pushing them approximately 1cm into the multi purpose compost.
For the Broad beans I've used a 6x Cell pack and placed 1 seed into each cell, the 6x Cell Pack are very spacious and will allow for the roots to develop in the compost and not restrict growth of the plant above the compost.