First of all, I tried winter sowing and had a certain degree of success. I learn from my mistakes (I hope) and the Komatsu Japanese Green Boy was left just a bit too long so that it bolted. Our weather was a bit weird by being unusually hot and sunny during the day for the time of year and frosty at night, so some of the plants didn’t know whether they were coming or going and the Komatsu certainly went. I also sowed too many other seeds as I erred just a bit too much on the side of caution and those enthusiastic little seeds had a high degree of germination.
The next mistake I made, was not using a good compost, I used coco fibre and it’s great for germination but doesn’t have enough nutrients to sustain the plants after they have germinated. In spite of my mistakes I did manage to rescue a few. Spring onion (Darcy) did well, so did the sweet peas, garden peas and self-blanching celery. Various types of nasturtium were germinated in pots, trays and even polybags as well as cold sowing in a five litre water bottle. I will be more selective next time but it did save a lot of space by giving them the cold shoulder.
I use many things to grow plants in and I now realise my mistake when I used an old supermarket basket. I should have lined it with landscaping fabric instead of plastic, and now that I’ve realised my mistake, I will try again using the basket and fabric as an air-pot. It may also save a little bit more space if I can still have healthy plants with a better root system. I will also plant up a laundry basket using the same rules and I should be able to get even more plants in a smaller space. I planted strawberry popcorn in a seed tray and when I see the length of the roots in such a tiny shoot, I think it would benefit from air-pot growing by getting rid of the excess root and encouraging more roots to branch out, theoretically giving a healthier plant.
I never find instructions on seed envelopes and websites as informative or interesting as speaking to people who have grown the plants. Speaking to someone who used the ‘square foot‘ system, I was amazed at how much produce she could harvest and I think it would be more space-saving than using containers. However, the advantage of using containers is their mobility. I am constantly moving containers, removing the ones whose plants have been harvested or worse still, eaten by predators and considering the amount of damage they cause, I am starting to wonder if they were prehistoric monsters in another life that still have their prehistoric appetites.
… and the culprit, a new way of capture, caught in the net. A lesson to snails not to be so greedy!
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