Sandgate Community Garden: Update 1 March 2020

Far too much weather again this week, and how much we will appreciate warm sunny days when they eventually appear.

It is a long shot, but we are putting out an appeal to anybody reading this that might have a greenhouse and is willing to either look after our seedlings or allow us to look after them for just a few weeks until it is warm enough to be able to sow seeds outside.  Once the seeds are sown, they can be put into any warm space like a cupboard, seed trays piled up on each other, just until germination; for most this is just two to three days.  Then they can be brought out and placed in the light to grow on for another couple of weeks until planting.  With these dull, rainy days, the seedlings on windowsills  are becoming long and straggly, which is ok as they can be planted deeper, but it is not ideal, and a greenhouse will  mean more light and stronger plants.  If you can help with greenhouse space for just a few weeks, send us an email, or phone/text 07840138308.

Most of our seeds are to be started off in modules and then transplanted.  It means a faster turnover of plants in the growing space, and you can keep a close eye on them.  From now on, the only direct seed sowings will be of carrots and parsnips (because they have long tap roots) and garlic.  Seed sowing itself is reasonably simple and so satisfying, when miraculous little shoots start to show above the compost, but such a big disappointment when nothing at all happens.  The common thought is to blame yourself for not doing something right, but the fact is that seed companies push the boundaries of packaging and selling viable seed, and are often accused of releasing seed that is simply too old.  As time goes on, seeds become less able to germinate successfully, numbers drop off until all the seed is dead.  Many seed companies state the year the seed is packed, but are not required to say when the seed was collected, and so you never know just how old your seeds are.  Seed companies and seed management are not regulated tightly enough, and there are many practices that need exposing.  There is nothing worse than spending between 3 and 4 pounds for a packet of seeds that fail to germinate, or will never look like the picture on the packet; less painful to buy packets for 25p to £1 from Wilko or Lidl.  So, if you are just looking for most common types of veg seed, do not be afraid to try the cheaper brands, they seem just as good.

Below are pictures of our seedlings, some are ready to be planted, with a fleece covering.  Beetroot is sown 4 seeds per module, spring onions up to 10 seeds, peas for shoots up to 5, radishes up to 6. 

What’s next?

  • Sow even more seeds
  • Plant out the radishes
  • Continue with the compost cover and pathways
  • Keep up the weeding