Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I know we've had a lot of rain but....

......this is taking things too far. This is what I found nestling in a heel print in one of the long borders this morning !!

To start the day off, I potted on the tomatoes that I had been growing on in my heated propagator at home. I sowed 6 seeds of each of the following varieties - Gardeners Delight, Golden Sunrise, Tigerella and Black Cherry. They were all sown in the same compost on the same day, were all treated exactly the same, but the number of seeds germinating varied drastically. The numbers were GD - 6/6, GS - 4/6, T - 1/6 and BC - 3/6. So although we have 14 plants, which is more than enough for the greenhouse, the germination rate overall was pretty poor at 58%. Poor quality or old seed ? Who knows?
The tomatoes were potted on into a mix of MP compost and Perlite and the seedlings were planted deep as tomatoes will throw more roots from the stem that is below the level of the compost, and the better and stronger the root system, the better and stronger the final plant.
I then potted on 2 chilli Big Jim plants that I also brought from home that are surplus to my own requirements.
And finally I potted on the Hispi cabbage, PSB and Nelson brussel sprout seedlings into 3" pots.
I also brought another 20 or so 8ft bamboo canes from home and put up the second row of supports for the cordon sweet peas. This gives two rows of canes about 3ft  apart with the canes being spaced at the distance of a size 10 welly boot apart (real high tech stuff you know).
There are three varieties that Sally selected to grow in this fashion -Daphne, Pink Pearl and Royal Wedding, and each had 21 seeds sown, resulting in todays planting out of 20 Daphne, 16 Pink Pearl and 14 Royal Wedding plants, all with side shoots growing away.

These plants have all had the growing tips nipped out to encourgae the growth of side shoots, of which the strongest is selected and trained up the cane. It will be held to the cane with these little plant rings

All, tendrils and side shoots will be removed twice weekly, to encourage the plant to produce fewer but bigger and better blooms for showing.
After planting out the cordon varieties, I planted out the Arrangers Blend of sweet peas at the base of their wigwams in the borders

Unlike the cordom grown plants which are grown singly, I planted these out as they came out the pots - in clumps of three plants.
Immediately after planting, all the sweet peas were given the protection of slug pellets, as slugs / snails (and we have both) are very partial to young sweet pea plants.
Elsewhere in the borders, we have orintal poppies threatening to break out.......

.......as are the first of the lupins........

and the pink rose with the honey scent by the door into the garden has numerous buds preparing to flower too......

It's not all good news though. There has been a casualty, albeit just outside the garden, but it is a big one !!

And when I was walking back up through the as yet untouched area of the garden after taking the photo above, I came across a large clump of these plants

I believe that these are Solomons Seal (Polygonatum), and if so, they shall be dug up and used in the garden.

And finally, here is this weeks shot from the potting shed. Pretty soon we should see some splashes of colour over and above the sea of green - if the weather would only dry up, and warm up too. The only plants that are truly happy in this weather are the weeds !

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