I used to think I was an autumn kind of girl until I started gardening and discovered the joy of spring.
After a burst of activity that involves sorting through the seed tin, ordering new seeds and excitedly opening the post box when they arrive, life settles for a few weeks until the light increases and the temperatures rise. Towards the end of February it’s time to get busy again. A quick drive to the garden centre to buy fresh new seed compost, washing modules, making newspaper pots and sorting through the shed is quickly followed by the first seed sowing session.
Most vegetable seeds bar roots can generally be started off in trays and modules – it gives them a head start, protects the tiny seedlings from slugs and snails and means that when the weather improves the seedlings can be transplanted to their final growing positions, shortening the growth period and freeing up space in the garden for follow-on crops (or in the case of tomatoes, giving them time to ripen and turn red!).
This year was the first using my heated propagating bench and has been a delight to observe. With the thermostat set at 18-20oC, the seeds have germinated much quicker than on my windowsills.
Each morning, as I pop outside in my PJs to open up the polytunnel for the day, allowing the fresh air to move around it, I’ve had the pleasure of observing the tiny stems push their way through the
compost, discarding their cozy seed shells like old jumpers that no longer fit. Each morning this spring I’ve started the day with a smile.
As the shoots quickly develop their first cotyledon leaves so that they can start the process of photosynthesising, feeding and urging the tiny seedling towards the light to grow bigger and stronger, this to me is a true sign of spring. I’m watching the wondrous birth of
new life and its magical.
Once the seed leaves open fully, the true leaves start to grow, taking on the characteristics of their adult form. The roots get stronger and more prolific, giving you the nod that it’s time to move the seedlings from their tiny modules into bigger pots.
Holding the seed leaves gently and moving the seedlings into fresh, dampened multipurpose compost, allowing the little plants to take in more nutrients so they can continue their growth unchecked is a delicate task and forces you to slow things down – this is not a job to be rushed or you risk breaking the delicate stems.
Careful and regular watering throughout this period of growth will ensure strong, healthy plants ready to transplant to their final growing positions in a few weeks time.
So I’m a Spring kinda gal. Do you share my delight of this season or do you prefer the heat of summer, the colours of autumn or the frosty mornings of winter?