Lifestyle, Vegetable Garden

Seeds and the Joy of Spring

April 7, 2012

True Leaves Form on a Brussels Sprout Seedling

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.

Courgette (left) Crown Prince (right)

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!).

Heated Propagating Bench

This year was the first using my heated propagating bench and has been a delight to see. With the thermostat set at 18 – 20°C, 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

Cauliflower Seedling

Calendula Seed

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

Winter Squash

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.

This is when you learn the importance of labelling as to an untrained eye, it’s impossible to tell a Brussels sprout from a cauliflower, or a ‘One Ball’ courgette from a ‘Crown Prince’ winter squash.

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 make sure strong, healthy plants are 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?

 

5 Comments

  • Reply Amanda April 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Love the new site! How are you finding WordPress?

  • Reply greensideupveg April 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Thanks Amanda. I really like (most) of it. Somehow feels more professional & ‘cleaner’, though find some bits frustrating in that I could do pretty much everything myself on Blogger in terms of design etc but bits elude me here. No matter how hard I search I can’t find certain things… Currently have no idea how many are subscribing. Sure it will all become obvious the longer I use it though, it’s still early days 🙂

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