Ready, get set, sow...

It’s the time of year when the house window sills are filling up with small pots of seedlings and young plants, but not this year. With the cold wet start to the year I decided it best to delay matters in the hope that once done, things would very quickly catch up. I found this to be the case last year when for instance the tomato plants sown in April were no further behind than those sown in February.  But time is ticking away.
So far, the tomatoes and peppers that were sown in February are doing well and it won’t be long before they are individually pricked out and potted on into individual pots. I have recently sown the seed for spring onions, cabbages, managetout and peas. These were given a good watering and put into the unheated greenhouse. I would have preferred to get the peas done a little earlier as I find that this helps to avoid problems with the pea moth.
As well as sowing in pots, seeds have been sown direct in the ground for the leeks and parsnip. Given the adverse weather conditions, cloches were placed over the area these were to be sown for a couple of weeks. As a result the soil was able to warm up a little and any further rain prevented from soaking into the soil. Once the seeds had been sown the cloches were used to protect the seed until the weather improved.
It isn’t just seed that needs sowing at this time of year, if you are growing onions from sets now is the time to get them into the ground. If the soil is still cold and wet you can plant these in plug trays to get them growing, planting them outside at a later date. However, the easiest method for me is to plant them direct. The quickest way would be to push each bulb into the ground at about 12 inches apart, but a drawback of this would be for the soil underneath the bulb to become compacted and as the roots grow, result in pushing the bulb out of the ground. The best way would be to plant the bulbs in a trench, pulling the soil back over the bulbs to cover. This not only prevents the soil around the bulb becoming compacted, but also covers the tips of the bulbs making it more difficult for birds to spot and pull up.
At the end of last year I filled the greenhouse borders with a different kind of bulb, daffodils and tulips. The daffodils have put on a good display providing cut flowers for indoors for the last couple of weeks. These have just about finished now, but the tulips are now started to flower. Hopefully these will put on a good show and provide a bunch or two for indoors also.