Wednesday, 23 January 2013
First Sowings of 2013
They don't look like much at the moment but my first sown seeds of the year will be shooting up out of this moist compost within the next ten days. Tiny tendrils of onion greens, tomato stems, and baby lettuce leaves will be all set to grow on indoors until they can be safely planted into their final positions both indoors and out. You might think that it might seem a bit early to be sowing seeds but it's important to get them in now if you're growing leeks, onions and shallots...at least if you're starting from seed. They all need a bit of extra time in order to put on size so January and February are the best times to sow. In fact, a head-start is what a lot of veggies need at this latitude.
This year I've decided to grow four types of onions which include one that a friend brought me back from Mallorca. I don't know how it will cope with our colder climate but you never know unless you try. She also brought me back some pepper seeds and I'll be trying to grow those inside with the tomatoes since they'll need some steady warmth. The Ros de Mallorca is a new variety for me but I've heard a few tales featuring the 'Padrons'. Eating 'Padron' peppers is a bit like playing Russian Roulette - some are apparently quite mild and sweet but every now and again you'll get one that feels like you've put a hot coal in your mouth. That's one way to liven up a party!
The indoor tomatoes I grew last year were a real success, especially the cherry type which produced fruit from June to October. Though I did have several medium sized 'Money-Makers' I felt that the space was better served by the sweet and delicious tomatoes off the 'Gardeners Delights'. Considering this, I've decided to grow them again with another variety that can be planted in hanging baskets. The fruit of the 'Garden Pearl' look like little red jewels that happily dangle from compact plants. Along with the bright yellow 'Golden Sunrise' I think my conservatory is going to be an even crazier tomato jungle this year than it was last.
Though I bought a couple of heads of 'Seed Garlic' this year I probably shouldn't have bothered. A head of garlic from last year's harvest was forgotten in the back of the fridge and by the time I found it green shoots were bursting through each clove. I broke the cloves apart and planted them up in the module tray that can be seen in the above image's foreground. The new garlic is in the background and is just now starting to produce shoots. I'll keep these all growing in modules until mid-March since the soil at the allotment can get quite sodden between now and then.
Another experiment of mine has been growing Elephant Garlic indoors. I bought two cloves for £1 off of Dot at the Farmers Market and planted them up in the conservatory in November. They're fairly dear so I thought I'd grow them inside until the spring when I'll plant them out with my other alliums. They're doing great and I can't wait to have Elephant Garlic growing in the garden regularly.
To top off all this garlic growing at home I also discovered that a couple of garlic bulbs were overlooked in the allotment. While digging over one of my beds I found strong green sprouts coming up from one corner and so dug them up for a little relocation. I separated these strong little renegades from each other and planted them in one of my top-most beds where I think they'll be able to weather the worse of the late winter rains. Already the greens are long and whispy and make me wonder where I'm going to put the rest of the garlic, let alone the other vegetables come spring. Growing vegetables is certainly a stressful business ;)