February 26, 2010

Grow Your Own 2010!

I’ve been eagerly awaiting for Spring to arrive so that I can start sowing my seeds! I’m a lot more organised this year and I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the winter planning what I’m going to grow and gathering all my bits and pieces. For Christmas I asked for tub trugs to grow carrots and squash, a pair of decent secateurs and also a windowsill propagator. I’ve also bought some new gardening gloves that actually fit my childish hands, some small pots for transplanting and 2 large propagating covers to go over my raised bed to create a greenhouse effect (the good kind though!).

 

Last year my seed growing was a bit slap-dash to say the least, so I wanted to make sure I grew my seedlings properly this time. I now know I made a few mistakes last year, such as not transplanting my tomatoes into smaller pots before planting out. I also planted them out too early and didn’t let them grow tall enough. I still got loads of tomatoes so it wasn’t a complete disaster, but I’m hoping for much better results this year.

 

I had a lot of seeds leftover from last year, but I decided to buy a lot of new seeds as I wanted to try new things. I bought most of my seeds from a company on Ebay called Premier Seeds Direct. Their prices are brilliant, with dirt cheap postage costs and they have a really good range of seeds. I’ve also got a lot of seeds for free – check out my Gardening Freebie/Discounts for the latest gardening goodies that you can get your hands on!

I’ve decided to use the Square Foot Gardening approach for my raised bed this year. After some rough calculations I worked out I could grow the following in it:

  • 1 Tomato plant
  • 3 French Bean plants
  • 3 Pea plants
  • Spinach
  • 1 Sprouting Broccoli plant

 

I will be growing carrots and squash in 14 litre trugs. I decided to try the Uchiki Kuri variety of squash as I read on other blogs that it is quite easy to grow. I didn’t have much success with my Butternuts last year, but I still have some seeds so I might give them another shot.

Last year I bought 2 types of thyme, rosemary and parsley as small plants. I pretty much killed off the rosemary by cutting it too short. So I bought some seeds to try and grow it myself, plus I wanted sage (to go with my homemade ravioli!) so I’m growing that from seed too. I’ll also be having another go with basil as the plants only last for 1 year.

So anyway, here’s my new windowsill propagator! It’s from Marshalls.

Propagator Propagator-1 Propagator-2 Propagator-3

You fill the 49 plant modules with compost and then turn the transparent lid upside down and press down to create seed holes. Some of my seeds needed to be sown a bit deeper so I just used an old pen to create a deeper hole. I used proper seed compost instead of multi-purpose and it is definitely much finer. I wet the soil before sowing my seeds and then just put some more water in the bottom tray. I then put the lid on and placed the propagator on a sunny windowsill.

Prop filled 26 Feb 
Here is my diagram so I know what I’ve planted/plan to plant:

Prop grid

 

I planted the following in my propagator on Friday 26 Feb:

  • Basil
  • Peas
  • Rosemary
  • Tomatoes

 

On Monday 1st March I planted:

  • Chillies
  • French Beans
  • Sage
  • Sprouting Broccoli
  • Squash – Butternut and Uchiki Kuri

 

Here’s a table to help me keep track of when to sow indoors/outdoors, when to transplant and when I’ll be able to harvest!

Temp’ for seeds
°C
Sow Under Cover Plant Out Sow Direct Harvest

Basil

15-20 Jan–Dec May May–Jun All year
Carrots 7.5+

Mar–Jun May–Nov

Chillies

18-21

Feb–Apr

Jun

Aug–Oct

French Beans 12 Mar–Jul May–Aug Apr–Jul May–Oct

Peas

10 Feb–May May–Jun Mar–Jun May–Oct
Rosemary 15-20 Feb–May Apr

All year
Sage 15-20 Feb/Apr May

All year
Spinach 10

Mar–Oct Jan–Dec
Sprouting Broccoli 18-24 Mar–May Jun–Jul Apr–May Jan–Apr

Squash

15-18 Mar–May Jun–Jul

Oct–Nov

Tomatoes

18 Feb–Apr Apr–Jun

Jun–Oct

 

Last year I sowed things in short rows in my raised bed. This year I decided to try ‘Square Foot Gardening’. Well, sort of square foot. The bed measures 100cm long by 50cm wide, so by dividing the bed into 6 squares, each square is roughly 33cm by 25cm (a true square foot is 30 x 30cm).

 

At the beginning of the year I had planned to grow tomatoes, beans, peas, spinach and sprouting broccoli in the bed, but I keep changing my mind. I didn’t realise that the sprouting broccoli takes such a long time to grow, so I might plant them in pots instead. Then I remembered the tomatoes I grew in the bed last year got totally out of control and I said I wouldn’t be planting them in the bed again! I also have 4 squash plants that are growing really well, but I only have 2 trugs, so I might plant the 2 Uchiki Kuri squash in the bed and train them up canes.

 

So here’s what I’ve planted in my raised bed so far:

  • 2 French Bean plants (will sow more seeds direct)
  • 4 Mange Tout plants (will sow more seeds direct)
  • 1 row of Spinach seeds (will sow more seeds later)

 

10-04 Raised bed plan

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