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First February sowings

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default First February sowings

Post by Chilli-head on 1st February 2017, 10:05 pm

February - start of the season proper for me.  Leeks and onions for an early start indoors,  then indoor tomatoes and ... maybe chillies Very Happy

The rule of thumb I go by for tomatoes is anticipated last frost date (end of May for me) as safe to plant things outside,  about a month earlier in an unheated greenhouse, two maybe with a little heat.  Tomatoes take about six weeks from sowing to final positions,  so sowing time is about mid Feb.


Last edited by Chilli-head on 6th March 2017, 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Dandelion on 2nd February 2017, 4:35 pm

I do live in hope that we'll have an unseasonably warm spring though! I've only sown about five tomato seeds, just to see if I can do it...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd February 2017, 8:55 pm

It's nice to have an optimist around Very Happy

I guess there is little to lose. I find that really early sowings struggle for light, which is harder to organise than heat. I have a set of growlights, but they illuminate only a small area whilst consuming more energy than the heater ! And unless I leave them on all day or am about to move them aside in the middle of the day, they cast a shadow which is worse than not using them. Not figured out a good system yet.

Let's hope for a nice spring. I could really use some sun, never mind the plants !
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Post by Ploshkin on 2nd February 2017, 9:29 pm

Well, I've kicked things off.
I've put 8 tubers of Rocket in the polytunnel and sown some Amsterdam Forcing carrots. Both did really well last year in 2' diameter drainage sections so I've used them again. I only really used them last year because of not having much soil for my beds but it made it so easy to earth up the potatoes.
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Post by Chilli-head on 3rd February 2017, 4:32 pm

Oooh - has a look this morning and I have seedlings of various saladings - pea shoots, lettuce, spinach and beetroot. Just as well given the situation with the Spanish vegetable and salad crops ! Hopefully they won't take long to get to an edible size.
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Post by Dandelion on 4th February 2017, 5:35 pm

Hide your salad CH - you don't want to encourage burglars!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 4th February 2017, 7:23 pm

I suspect that I'm not supposed to say this, but ... I somehow doubt that many burglars are also big salad eaters. Mind you, the last thing I had stolen was a pumpkin, so maybe I'm wrong.
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Post by Dandelion on 4th February 2017, 10:59 pm

I sometimes think that some people will take anything if it's not nailed down...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on 4th February 2017, 11:12 pm

Could be a bit tedious, nailing down salad leaves.....
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Post by Dandelion on 5th February 2017, 12:48 pm

freebird wrote:Could be a bit tedious, nailing down salad leaves.....
Very Happy

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 9th February 2017, 12:37 pm

I was looking through seed catalogues and on line lists last night, for the odd few things I could use that I didn't fiind in our seed swap. After a bit of browsing, the prices started to catch my eye. £4.05 for 5 cucumber seeds. Well, they are all F1's and cucumbers are always pricey - but over £3 for 20 non F1 pepper seeds ? And as well as the prices, it seemed to me the ranges seemed to have got smaller, with F1's dominating, and a big section of the lists turned over to plants.

Do lots of people not enjoy the excitement of seed emerging, but prefer to buy in plants instead ? And have the seed prices been hit by Brexit, or am I just being a bit tight at the moment ? I suspect it does not help that many of these seed merchants are actually the same people.

We had a thread somewhere on favourite seed suppliers - I'm going to go look for it.
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Post by Ploshkin on 9th February 2017, 5:50 pm

I've noticed that seed packets have become a lot more expensive. It depends on what is, how many seeds are in the packet and whether they will last me for several seasons as to whether I will buy them. I have saved a lot more of my own seed the last few years but I also decided last year that sometimes it's worth buying half a dozen plants. I put some bought cabbage plants in the polytunnel last autumn and I'll have some good spring cabbages shortly.
I gave up T&M several years ago being fed up with their extravagant claims especially about flowers, I've gone off Mr F as well now. I bought the seeds I needed from DT Brown this year because I was looking for a particular squash and they happened to have it.
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Post by Dandelion on 9th February 2017, 8:26 pm

I'm with you on T&M seeds - haven't bought them for years! I've discovered that some cheap and cheerful makes of seeds work just fine (Wilko, Lidl and a bargain line they do in the garden centre). Fine for your bog standard spring cabbage, leeks etc, then you can buy a few more exciting premium ones.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 9th February 2017, 11:41 pm

So, I dug out this old thread, and gave Adrian's recommendation for Chiltern Seeds a go.  Prices seem more sensible.  Google shows a picture of a fairly regular looking Chiltern cottage for their address, so I'm guessing they probably are repackaging agricultural seeds in more domestic style packets ? Still, let's give them a go.  Ordered some interesting salads (Greek cress, rhubarb chard, red veined rocket), and a few other things I need.

I've also saved some seed from the chilles sent to me by an internet friend.  She warns me that they may not come true because they were open pollinated, but I reckon than adds to the fun !  The parent varieties were Jamaican yellow, Caribbean red, and Aji lemon drop.  Won't be long till sowing time Very Happy
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Post by Dandelion on 10th February 2017, 7:16 pm

Chilli-head wrote:Won't be long till sowing time Very Happy

Can't wait!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd February 2017, 8:53 pm

Well, my stuff from Chiltern seeds arrived in about a week. Fairly simple packaging, I assume they are re-packaging seed bought in agricultural quantities. I presume they will be fine.

Nothing much sown yet. The salads I sowed with a bit of heat in the greenhouse are growing very slowly, which suggests to me I would not have gained much by sowing tomatoes and chillies yet. I mighr get around to in on Sunday.
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Post by Ploshkin on 24th February 2017, 9:18 am

My carrot seeds in the polytunnel have germinated. Lucky I looked this morning as there was a slug eyeing them up. I chucked it out in the direction of the frogs - they're working hard at the moment.
Doris has passed and we have a sunny interlude today so I'm going to start off some leeks. I'm going to try CH's suggestion and start them off in something quite deep . I've never started them this early so perhaps this time they will achieve magic pencil thickness.
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th February 2017, 12:05 pm

I really must practice what I preach and get around to sowing my leeks too ! I almost forgot about them. Another job for Sunday
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Post by Chilli-head on 27th February 2017, 6:02 pm

Done it !  My leeks Oarsman are in a deep pot in the cooler propagator.  The Chiltern seeds packets are a bit small, there was just about enough for one sowing for me, others might find it a bit scant.  I also sowed some more trays of salad leaves - Greek cress and red veined Dragon's tongue rocket.  Hopefully the trays I sowed earlier will soon be large enough to eat - the pea shoots are nearly there, other things are just taking off.

I've also got my tomatoes sown, this year I have San Marzano, Red Pear, Royale des Guineaux, Amish gold, and a couple of new ones from Kings seeds - Golden Crown (yellow) and Rosella (deep purpley pink).  And in the hot propagator, the fun stuff !  Peppers Giallo D'Asti, Bullhorn mixed, and Doche d'Espagna. Then the chillies.  I tried to cut back, but didn't do too well.  Pasilla, Ancho, Mulato, Serrano, Hungarian Wax, Aji Lemon Drop, Jamaican Yellow and Caribbean Red.  The latter are the hot ones Very Happy.  The Serrano chilli seeds come free in a little pack from Wahaca, Tomasina Myers' restaurant chain.  I wonder how many of those packs are used.

I've set up some cloches outside and popped in some radish seed, perhaps a bit early but they might be OK.  And as I was coming and going from the greenhouse I noticed new growth on the strawberry runners I put in a strawberry pot in the greenhouse for forcing.  Never tried that before.
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Post by Ploshkin on 27th February 2017, 6:08 pm

I sowed my leeks at the end of last week. Not much seed in the DT Brown packet either. There used to be enough for 2 or 3 years. I'm intending to get peppers and aubergine into the propogator in the next few days then tomatoes.
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Post by Dandelion on 28th February 2017, 9:56 pm

I sowed leeks in a pot in the greenhouse last weekend (at Chilli's suggestion) - Malabar (which reminded me of studying A Passage to India for A level as it's the name of the caves in the book)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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