I’ve not being have much success with my sowings of peas so far, so I decided to consult my bible on such matters ‘Seeds’ by Jekka McVicar. Normally my early green-house sown peas will romp away, but this year – nothing. The reason, I discovered is that they won’t germinate below 7deg and although I did sow them when it was milder, each time cold weather has returned. I’ve just planted my third batch and this time they are in the conservatory rather than the greenhouse and with more cold weather threatened, I might even bring them indoors until they germinate. Once they are growing they will be fine – it’s just the germination process that’s crucial. By the way, they are equally reluctant to germinate above 18 deg.
The wisdom of moving my salad seedlings to the cold greenhouse as soon as they germinated is apparent in these robust little seedlings. Had I left them indoors they would have grown leggy, but now they are looking a picture of health. I’m not watering them at all at the moment, the compost is still damp enough and they can wait for warmer weather.
My first sowing of French Beans in the heated propagator are popping up and looking good. I’ve moved them into my Growlight Garden and towards the end of the month I will them move again into the greenhouse for an early crop.When using GroChar compost I think it is best to keep germinated seedlings in a heated propagator for as short a time as possible because they really don’t need the high humidity.
February is the time to start seed sowing, so I’ve got my kit together – a bright shiny new electric propagator (the old one had stopped working), seed compost and seeds for sowing in the month ahead. I’ve sorted my seeds into months and while I wait for the weather to improve I will start writing labels in happy anticipation of many plants to come.
I have some not-very-well-stored open packets of seed from last year and thought it would be sensible to test the germination rate before I use my precious seed compost. To do this, dampen some unbleached papertowel and line a plastic box. Make a grid of 10 seeds and covere them with another layer of the towel. Put the lid on the box and place in warm dark place. Check daily. Allow 24 hours from first sign of germination and then count the number of sprouted seeds. With these Chard seeds 4 were growing strongly, 2 less so and 4 had not sprouted – in other words a 60% germination rate. Ok for outdoor sowing but I will use fresh seed for my undercover sowing in GroChar seed compost.
Well you might not need to go to the lengths of wrapping it in a scarf, but it is a good idea to store your GroChar compost undercover and frost free to keep it in peak condition. This also means that if you are seed sowing in an unheated propagator in the next few weeks, the compost will be nicer to work with and seeds will germinate faster .