Sunday, 28 March 2010

Clocks Forward, Leeks Backward

In the words of 'Manuel', of Fawlty Towers fame; "I no understand Mr. Fawlty!"....
I was very kindly given some organic Leek seeds by a friend, and, rightly or wrongly, sowed them all on the same day. An early variety called 'Almera', a mid-season variety called 'Ardea', and a late-season variety called 'Carentan'. Imagine the scene: day by day, you're watching and waiting eagerly for the first leek seedling to germinate in the Earlies. You wait patiently, and one pops up in the Lates, two pop up in the Lates, they all start poppin up in the Lates! Then one pops up in the Mids, two pop up in the Mids..... do you get my drift? Then just as I'm despairing of an Early ever popping up, they have just started to - completely bizarre....

Mustn't complain though, eh? Although I haven't quite finished having a mini-rant yet, because there's a lot of 'damping-off' going on with various seedlings here this year. It may well be entirely my own fault for not washing seed trays/pots as religiously as I used to, but it's difficult to adhere to a strict cleanliness routine in the greenhouse, when everything's still not as organised as I'd like it to be.

I can't begin to tell you just how much pleasure I get from sowing 'finger carrots' (Amsterdam Forcing variety) in plastic troughs high up off the ground and in the protection of a greenhouse. It's the horticultural equivalent of 'Ner Ner Ni Ner Ner!' from a childish adult to an adult carrot root fly. And basically, that means that you end up with absolutely beautiful, unblemished baby carrots, not totally unusable ones riddled with tiny white maggots.

And the same goes for Salad. I've never been thrilled to share my salad crops with Slugs'n'Snails? It hardly matters much when you're growing a huge lettuce, because there's loads to wash, but when you're dealing with Cut'n'ComeAgain baby salad leaves and small-heading lettuces, why should you share it? It's taken roughly a week for these little CCA seedlings to germinate in the foreground, and too, the weeny Little Gem seedlings that will follow on from the bigger seedlings at the far end. Successional-Sowing, is what it's called, and it's an elusive skill that most of us only 'aspire to'.

I'll try and keep you in regular touch with this salad bar, to show you it's progress, and how I yet have to learn the art of successional sowing (!)
Talking of raised carrots and raised salad, my strawberry plants are just beginning to burst into life again, and it will soon be their turn for some TenderLovingCare.
In the meantime, I'm crying off early tonight kids, I'm not my usual self, as I've got a dead-hurty elbow, and desperately need to rest it.
So I'll squeeze you later.X

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