January is not starting too well for me. It’s still too cold to do much in the practical way, even bubble-wrapping the greenhouse came to a halt because my fingers were too cold to twist the clips which attaches it to the greenhouse walls. It’s exasperating when the enthusiasm is there but suitable circumstances are not.
Around this time, I usually take stock of my seeds and when to plant them. Tomatoes are normally the first to be sown. They go into heated propagators until they develop their second set of true leaves at least, then they get transplanted into drinking cups. The drinking cups are deep compared to the plant pots and I feel they develop a stronger root system. I don’t need to transplant them again until they are ready to go into their forever home. It’s easy just making an impression with the drinking cup in the compost first, then lift out the whole compacted root ball straight into the custom-made hole. Most often there is no disturbance at all to the root ball.
I have treated myself to a different type of propagator/root trainer system, more of a multi-purpose one but if it works out well, it will give more plants in less space. Sowing in the individual windowsill propagator seed trays still means lifting the seedling out to repot into the drinking cups. The new propagator, although unheated will develop a lift-out plant, still fitting into a drinking cup but with less disturbance of the roots. It will be interesting to see the comparison.
I have seeds which should have been sown later in the year but are thankfully mainly ‘anytime to sow’ seeds. I had reasonable success with cold sowing in plastic containers last year and I will try again this year. The advantage of cold sowing is you don’t need to do anything with them until spring when they will hopefully be hardy little plants ready to pot on to their final position.
I will be limiting large-leaved plants this year, the over abundance of them last year and a dreadful summer was not a good combination for any sun-loving plants which couldn’t compete with the large leaves of cucumbers etc. I did get a good harvest of cucumbers but that was at the expense of peppers and aubergines.
I won’t be taken in by small squash again though. Large leaves and a rambling habit are not good news when you have a very small area in which to grow produce. I did have some of them entwining through the fence though and it did look quite attractive. However, being a wet summer also turned gardens into a holiday camp for slugs and snails which were often not discovered until it was too late.
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