Well as promised the 'Beast from the East' finally struck Leeds on Wednesday and was forecast to be still on the prowl on Saturday morning, so I had a strong feeling that the outdoor activities wouldn't stretch to gardening by the time the weekend arrived.
Saturday morning finally arrived and their was an additional covering of snow over night so time at the allotment was going to have to be short. I was keen to stop round to see if the items sown last weekend had managed to germinate or even survive the cold snap, I was also keen to keep Eva interested in the hard work she had put in.
Mid morning I finally convinced both Alex and Eva to tare themselves away from sledging down our steep drive and join me on the visit to the allotment. As you can see form the photos, the snow was probably about 10-15cm and the temperature was around -2deg. Both children managed to keep themselves warm by running around the site making sure every last piece of untouched snow had a small foot print in which then progressed to finding the largest icicle.
Greenhouse produce update
Like I said earlier, with the cold weather temperature dropping well below freezing I was keen to see it the seeds/Sets we sowed last week had managed to spark in to any signs of life.
Looking closely at the tops of the onion sets and Garlic cloves, you can just about see a very small shoot starting to develop, which will also mean the at the bottom of them the roots will start protruding into the compost and taking in the moisture and nutrients that it needs in the early stages of growing. Hopefully the coming week will be a little warmer and the next visit will show quite a bit more life.
Unsurprisingly, the Broad beans and Peas are not showing any signs of life above the top of the compost, at this stage i'm not over concerned as all varieties are very resistant to cold temperatures, but time will tell over the coming week.
The Pepper forest
Thankfully the Pepper and Chilli plants are now starting to grow at a tremendous rate, out of all the seeds sown approximately 65% have germinated and looking healthy. It has been very interesting to see which varieties have been most successful and which have struggled.
Some plants are at the stage where they need to be transplanted and others could do with another week in the warmth of the propagator, it's another job for the week ahead as i'm very keen to utilise the space for the next batch of seeds.
Most of the seeds we sowed approximately 10 days ago were from the Brassica family and unfortunately it appear that we've got this one wrong.
As you can see from the pictures, the plants have become very 'leggy' in a very short space of time. I suppose the question is, is this going to cause a problem further down the line in the plants life? Doing a little research the answer is 'No' and the plant can be recovered by planting the seedling a little deeper into the soil and encourage a root system to develop further up the stem of the plant.
So if I was to do the seeds again, what would I change?
There are 3 main factors into the cause of 'leggy plants':
1. The first is the sunlight, too little can force the plant to grow naturally towards the sun.
2. Too much moisture in the compost can allow the young seedling to take on too much moisture too quickly.
3. Too much heat can encourage the seedling into rapid growth.
So taking all 3 factors into consideration I can see all 3 factors playing their part in the early stages of my Brassica crop. The plants have been sat close to a window that has struggled with natural light over that last week, the soil conditions have been a little too wet and I added a heat mat after 4 days to help increase germination.
So all in all lesson learn and improvements are needed, I think I'll keep the original plants and give it another go under improved conditions, so another job added to the list, I'll keep you posted to see if I can improve on my first attempt.