With an increase in sowing activity and March slowly creeping towards its end, activity on the allotment is starting to increase week on week, I’ve just got to get there on my allocated Saturday morning.
The sowing activities have now been divided up between myself and Reg, so I’ll try my best to keep you updated as to where we are with everything as and when they are happening.
With Reg being retired, naturally he has a little more time than I have, so things are starting to take shape with several early jobs now taken place.
The early Potatoes are now in the grounds after spending three to four weeks in the house chitting (spouting). The chitting of the potato is vital to producing a good strong plant, it starts the seed potato in to its ‘growing’ mode ready for planting into the growing position in the ground, bag or container. One of the most common methods for chitting potatoes is using an old egg box, placing one potato in each of the compartments and leaving them in a warm place. So, a porch, conservatory or garage would be sufficient, somewhere that doesn’t get too warm and somewhere that is frost free should be fine.
When the shoots get to a good size and the bulk of the frosty weather is over, it’s time for the potatoes to go into the final growing area. The plant will now continue to grow taking on water and nutrients from the compost, depending on the depth you have planted them, you should start to see the shoots growing out of the soil in a couple of weeks at threat point you can start building up the soil. I would generally recommend planting the potatoes at a depth of 6-8 inches, just enough to protect from an unexpected hard frost, and adding a compost mix around the potato.
The Onions and Leeks were sown a little over two weeks ago now and the young seedlings are starting to take shape. The looking at the germination rate I’m pleased with the progress of the Globo Onions and the Leeks, however the germination rate of the Red Brunswick’s are something of a disappointment with a germination rate of around 10%. I’m happy to leave these for another week to seed if anymore seeds spark into life before I revisit the sowing process to try to increase the germination rate.
Straight from sowing the seeds were placing into a heated propagator and left on a sunny window bottom. After around 1 week some small shoots were already starting to appear, after another 3 to 4 days I removed the plants from the heat of the propagator and placed them on the window bottom in the warmth of the room. I think this helps with the plant becoming less ‘leggy’ along with giving me more important room in the propagator’s.
The Brassicas have now been in the compost for around 10 day’s and showing very good signs of germination for all varieties. Like with the Onions, as soon as there were signs of growth the new seedlings were taken out of the heat and placed on the window bottom to continue growing in room temperature.
Over the coming weeks the new plants will start to develop secondary leaves and begin to resemble leaves like the plant of its variety. The key to keeping the plants strong and healthy is to maintain a good moist soil / compost and keep moving the plants around to prevent the plant growing towards the sun in the same direction.