At last Spring is finally here! Not wanting to wish my life away, but it’s been a long underwhelming winter. I’ve been sowing seeds since February but now it’s all systems go: As one batch of seedlings needs potting on, it’s time to sow another batch. T&M plug plants have been arriving regularly. This year I decided that I would be well and truly geared up in the greenhouse: 9cm pots washed and stacked by colour (perhaps a little too obsessive?), new plant labels written up in advance with indelible pen (sick of guessing!), propagating lids washed (green algae tends to block out the light!), seed modules matched up with waterproof seed trays.
In preparation for the onslaught I moved all perennial divisions and bulbs outside into the sheltered gap between greenhouse and shed. The potted tree lilies were being nibbled by mice (ungrateful vermin, quite happy to accept the hospitality and shelter of the greenhouse over winter), now temporarily housed in the auricula theatre. My treasured tender salvias and cannas were allowed to stay inside, along with last summer’s T&M trial Fuchsia ‘Eruption’, which are showing signs of life, and of course sweet peas sown last autumn.
David is a huge chilli fan, so I have grown two each – an heir and a spare – of the following T & M varieties: Prairie Fire, Naga Jalokia, Tabasco, Tropical Heat, Padron and Cayennetta. Guaranteed to blow his socks off. Considering I have only just harvested the last of the 2015 chillies from two plants overwintered in the porch he is pretty much guaranteed to have chillies all year round. He was less than enthusiastic about the four ricinus plants that I have grown from seed, convinced that we will all be poisoned due to their toxicity. So they are growing like triffids in the warmth and sunlight of a high shelf in our sunroom, well out of reach of our seven cats. Eventually I shall plant them out on our roof terrace with grasses and exotics.
At the beginning of April I sowed Cucamelon for the greenhouse and Squash Patty Pan Summer Mix & Courgette de Nice a Fruit Rond for the allotment. We sampled the cucamelon at T&M’s Plant Triallists’ Open Day last summer. They were delicious and I can’t wait to snack on them in the summer.
Fuchsia Berry, Minitunia and Crazytunia plugs have transplanted well from their plugs into 9cm pots. I love receiving Order Despatch Confirmation emails from T&M so I can enjoy the anticipation of next lot’s arrival. Mail ordering in this way has become quite addictive!
I have also been busy filling gaps in the borders. With slugs and snails so fond of fresh young growth I always use my plastic Tomato Auto-waterer collars as protection around newly planted perennials. Although I have never used them for their original purpose I wouldn’t be without them. To give the plants the best start in life I have also sprinkled Incredibloom® fertiliser granules around and am looking forward to reaping the benefits.
And finally….not wishing to be overlooked is my Devon Rex cat Jitterbug who is showing green pawed tendencies. She does love to get involved in the garden!
Hi… Wonder if you can help with a tomato question. I bought capriccio, black cherry and black opal seeds this year, varieties I’ve not bought before. The packet says plants require side shooting, does this mean leave them to grow side shoots or pinch?. Not sure which to do
thank you for your post. . These are all cordon varieties, so pinch out the sidesideshoots. I hope this helps but do come back if you need anything further. Kind regards, Wendie
I am growing Patty Plum Squashes too, so will be interested to see how they compare in growth etc as I live in Wales. Mine have only just germinated from a March sowing.
Seven cats and the mice still get away with murder! Cute cats though.
Thanks Amanda. Will keep in touch re: Patty Pans. My cats are far too well fed and lazy to bother with mice. Frogs on the other hand………….. Rgds, Caroline
What a lovely garden cat….where did you get it from ?
She is long haired Devon Rex – quite rare. She’s from a registered breeder somewhere in South East England. I have some more amusing cat v garden photos which I intend to include in future blogs. Who says cats and gardening don’t mix?