I always think there is little more satisfying than planting a seed in a pot of compost, nurturing it with warmth and water, and waiting for the day when the tips of those two first little leaves poke their way through the soil into the light. Every day when returning from the office, I make my way down the alleyway like a child at Christmas to see how much the little family of seedlings has grown, and whether there are any new plants making their tentative first look at the world above the compost.
Only having a small garden, and being lucky enough to have an allotment, this year we’re raising most of our seeds at home before transplanting them into their designated beds at the allotment. The only exceptions are root veg, such as carrots, parsnips, swede and beetroot, which will go directly into ‘the root bed’.
Last summer saw the building of a mini greenhouse backing onto our little house, and at the moment it is filled with seed trays, fibre pots and planters with the teeny seeds germinating (hopefully) where we cannot see them. Alongside are two generations of broad beans and peas – succession planted to give us a longer growing season and so they don’t all crop at once; 5 week old cabbage and purple sprouting brocolli plants – the next to be evacuated to the allotment to make room for successional plantings of more beautiful brassicas! Next to those are 4 week old leeks and spring onions sharing a bed, and a tray filled with Ailsa Craig onion seedlings, getting stronger by the day, and the tomato seedlings, which sadly seem to be on a bit of a go slow. The rest, apart from 8 little fibre pots with sweet peas emerging and a seed tray of minute lobelia seeds, are rows of fibre pots and 3 seed trays containing squashes, courgettes, a multi-tude of beans, cucumbers, 3 types of lettuce, 2 types of cabbage, kale, cauliflower; basically enough brassicas to feed the village if they all succeed!
This weekend will see a new batch of sugarsnap peas and ‘normal’ peas added to the little community, and hopefully there’ll be a few more green pots rather than bare earth by the end of the weekend!