In the Greenshed (407ish days to go)

by Max Akroyd

“The Greenshed” was the spontaneous name applied to our greenhouse by my daughter during the Easter holiday. It captures the nature of the place so precisely, it has become the official name of our baby plant production line.

If only it was a production line: a smooth transition from seed, to seedling, to potting on, to hardening off, to planting out. I’ve bemoaned the spasmodic nature of  my seedlings’ reality before, and clearly failed to do anything about it since! I blame those pigs.

This morning was spent engaged in what can only be described as a salvage operation. A lurching form of progress during which each plant was assessed, fed, watered and moved on – or given up as a lost cause accompanied by much self-berating. 

At least space on the outdoor hardening off benches was earned by yesterday’s efforts:


Planting out brassicas...

This space was instantly filled this morning by a load of lettuces, chicories and yet more brassicas moved out from protected hardening off – which is just an inappropriately fancy name for an old table standing in a sheltered corner of an open barn. The celery, celeriac, cardoon and artichoke seedlings then took their place, ready for planting out next month. They needed to escape the burgeoning heat of the greenshed, preferably a week ago. I had to hastily construct another platform to accommodate their numbers and sprinkle the lot with organic slug pellets like electric blue confetti – and about as effective.

What remained in the greenshed after this exodus are suited by the rising temperatures: my tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, courgettes, squash and trays of flower seedlings – all of which needed potting on. I got about a third of them done. Clearly an evening shift is required to get this particular backlog cleared… Everything in that list will also have vacated the greenshed by June, apart from the chillies which will stay in there, in pots, to be cruelly hot-housed to fruition over the hot summer months…


I always forget to sow parsley. It’s a strange mental block which I’m determined to overcome this year and which invoked much rummaging in my seed boxes – the earliest stage of the whole growing process chez-moi. I spent ages pulling out packets of this and that which needed sowing now – maybe a night shift is in order too…


Back to the start


 But I refuse to spend any more of this beautiful daytime indoors. I’m off to dig a trench.