Sowing the seeds (506)

by Max Akroyd

Despite the eerie gloom caused by the blanket of snow on the greenhouse roof, the seed sowing season started here.

Priority, though, were the vestiges of last year’s efforts: sweet pea, brassica and onion plants battered by heavy frosts in recent weeks. Battered but unbowed thanks to having their feet in almost dry compost whilst being frozen solid. Time now to water these heroic survivors with seaweed solution.

Next the propagators: not a pretty bunch but a collection of heating mats and the like accumulated over the years and together forming a few square metres of heated growing space. This small area will have a significance way beyond its size in the next three months.

The propagators and some pots of onions

A (hopefully orderly) queue of seeds to be sown with a heated headstart will form in the coming weeks: aubergines, tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers, courgettes, runner beans, celery and herbs… first up are the onions and early brassicas though, because, when germinated, they’ll be ok away from this heated haven even if the weather turns sour again…

(Another happy advantage of sowing seeds is they get working while you’re sleeping or, in my case, away for a couple of days later in the week. More and more I think surfing nature’s wave of energy like this is the best way to garden.)

With snow all around, the prospect of tomatoes and chillies seems tenuous. But the excited optimism that surrounds these early sowings – that, with a bit of luck, this may result in food for the family – is a strong and deep connection with the future. 

Goodbye snow, don't come back...