And We’re Off!

Despite my laid-back approach to growing my own veg I can be a bit impatient at this time of year and today saw the first seed sowing for the Two Chances Plot.

Into a couple of unheated propogators went Onion ‘Globo’, Peppers ‘Etiuda’, ‘F1 Denver’, ‘Anaheim’, Chilli ‘Cayenne’, Aubergine ‘F1 Bonica’ and Tomato ‘Golden Peardrop’. The propogators will sit on the south-facing bathroom windowsill over a radiator so the seeds have a reasonable amount of warmth to germinate……..fingers crossed!

I used my standard approach to seed sowing. Filling up the cells with moist multi-purpose to about 2/3rds full, then topping up with seed compost. Sow the seeds on top of the compost then cover with a vermiculite. Seeds need a nutrient poor start hence the seed compost but it’s expensive so I keep its use to a minimum and when the roots start to form there’s a layer of multi-purpose to keep the plants going until they’re ready to prick out. That’s the theory anyway, based on an excellent talk from Ray Broughton last year. Check out one of my earlier posts for more detailed info on seed sowing.

What’s that I hear you say? Yes, I know it’s too early but I’ve been itching to get something underway since the New Year and seeds are cheap and I have them in abundance so what’s the harm? I’ll sow another batch in a month’s time and what I have left over will go into the Horticultural Society Plant Sale in May. If my first batch fails there will be less for the Plant Sale I’m afraid. Come the end of March I’ll select the strongest plants to grow on through the summer.

After much heated debate on UKVG following the announcement of the peat ban due to come into force I’m trialing a new peat-free compost this year from New Horizon which was highly recommended in recent Which magazine trials. I picked up half a dozen bags at Wyevale.

Have you got any compost recommendations? And any seeds on the go yet??

23 responses to “And We’re Off!

  1. Your windowsill looks like mine lol
    I got my leeks, 250g onions and exhibition onions on the sill and the wife is going mad

  2. It’s the sowing seeds too early that makes the profits for the seed companies ;>) I always been peat free and use the New Horizon stuff. It does have some big bits of twig/bark in but they’re easy enough to fish out and I’ve never had any problems with it.

  3. I haven’t started anything off yet but I will be doing so shortly. I want to start off some peppers and then sow some more a little later so I can see what difference it makes. Some things need a long growing season but whether it’s beneficial to start them off when it’s still so cold and the light levels are low remains to be seen. I bet your wife’s chuffed to bits having propogators in the bathroom.

    • It’s the downstairs bathroom and fortunately my Dad’s just fitted a new upstairs bathroom for us so we’re not reliant on it and I have space for the seeds. The peppers ripened quite late last year so I wanted to give them an early start.

  4. No seeds in here yet, but spaces have been cleared, especially for the Chilli seeds that need molly-coddling.

  5. Hi Damo, good luck with your early sowings – I never find germination a problem at this time of year, but the low light levels tend to leave me with leggy plants.

    Re compost, I have been using New Horizon Peat Free Organic for a while now, and had excellent results. I tend to use the tomato grow bag version for everything, sowing seed, potting on, growing tomatoes (!) and chillies and anything else in pots, the lot. I sieve the compost for the top layer when I am sowing seed, but get such good results on most things that I just don’t bother to buy seed and cutting compost any more.

    • Thanks Janet I’m glad you’re getting good results from the compost. I don’t think I’ll bother buying seed compost anymore just sieve some multi-purpose on the top.

  6. We’ve ordered one of these so we can get some tomatoes, peppers and stuff like that in a bit earlier. We tried the windowsill method but everything just grew leggy leaning towards the window! It’s Martyn’s birthday present – he chose it – but I may just use it too. (I let him use my camera!)

    We had real trouble with compost last year. Even when buying the same brand some performed better than others. I read that too much wood in the compost robs it of nitrogen.

    • Now you’re talking Sue, I’ll stick that on my Christmas list! Compost does seems to vary year on year. I had some rubbish stuff from Westlands last year which is normally pretty good. The New Horizon compost looks Ok so I’m hoping to get good results.

  7. Well if yours is a laid-back approach then goodness alone knows what mine is! Anyway it’ll be good to see how you get on with all these.

    • Thanks Flighty, I think laid back means I’m not too bothered if things go wrong, I’m certainly busy enough and 2011 looks to be my busiest year yet!

  8. Flighty, I think he was laid back until he met me and my set up
    PS don’t forget I got your Carrot seeds Damo

    • haha you’ve spurred me on with the amount of work you’re putting in mate. Thanks for the reminder, I’ll see you on Saturday at Whitchurch.

  9. You’re off to a good start Damo!! I think i’m about as impatient as you, as i’ve got a whole load of seeds in already, mainly small early sowings, but quite a few varieties of them 🙂
    I’m just about to fill up all my windowsills with my seed spuds… woohoo!!
    Huge blog by the way…. it’s going to take me ages to read it all! 🙂

    • Hi Simon, thanks very much I do find it hard to hold back the temptation to sow something at this time of year. I’ve enjoyed writing the blog, it’s a bit of a mixture not all veg growing, hope you find it interesting. Best of luck with your early sowings!

  10. patientgardener

    Hi – so far only sown onion seeds, holding off on tomatoes and peppers until February. I use New Horizons alot and like it, though I dont use it as a seed compost.

    However, I think I will be sowing perennial seeds this weekend as some of them benefit from a bit of cold to get them going.

  11. Just read your post ….

    Now I know I’m going to need to get on with my sowing for this year. I haven’t sown a single thing yet 😦 … I;ll do my best to catch up though.

  12. Pingback: Patience is a Virtue « Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

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