Monday, 7 October 2013

All Sown Up


- well not quite. This weekend was blessed with ideal weather for outdoor work. A full day out at the allotment on Saturday whilst yesterday was devoted to the garden. On a blissfully sunny October afternoon it is hard to get your head around how much earlier darkness falls and to realise that that you have not got that seemingly eternity of a June evening stretching ahead of you. There seems to be a mad rush to try to accomplish all you want to. I was however intent on sowing some sweet peas this weekend which I have done using my discovery of the year - root trainers! I ordered a couple of these earlier in the year from Sara Raven, making use of a free packing and post offer. They were used to sow sweet peas in the spring as well as for climbing French bean and pea seeds. When you get to the stage of releasing them from their cells to plant each plant has such sturdy, well developed root balls so planting them out is so much easier and with far less risk of root damage. I'm kicking myself for not trying them sooner. Although they are not made of the most sturdy of materials and will probably will not last much more than a couple of seasons, I'm so pleased with them that I will be ordering a couple more packs before next spring.  My spring sown sweet peas flourished and I'm still picking small bunches now.



So far lathyrus 'Fire and Ice' and lathyrus odaratus 'Almost Black' have been sown. I never soak my sweet peas seeds as is sometimes recommended but have rarely had any problems with germination. I've sown them one to a cell with the hope of seeing some green shoots later this month. Plans to also sow my favourite lathyrus 'Matucana' were thwarted as I could not find the seed packet that I thought I had. Will have to have a thorough search today. If unable to find them I will just have about enough time to locate another packet to sow by the middle of the month, which is the latest time recommended for sowing in the north of the country.

I've also spent some time preparing for the colder nights that are predicted for later this week. I doubt that we will have frost but just in case tender plants, that have been sitting out for the summer, are now near to the greenhouse in readiness for a quick move indoors. I also made a start on the task of sorting out plants that will be overwintering in the cold frames - pots have been emptied of their contents which have in turn been throughly inspected before being popped back in. I discovered a number of glistening slug eggs in the process so was pleased to nip these in the bud before they had the chance to become fully grown molluscs. Have you finished putting the garden to bed yet or are you like me still dashing round to fit it all in? I've still got perennials to plant and as for planting bulbs there's another story ......

P.S The bulbs were conveniently out of sight therefore out of mind but a box of bulbs from Peter Nyssen has just arrived this morning - the pressure is on!

23 comments:

  1. Sounds like you've had a very productive weekend Anna, and love the colours of those sweet peas. Still getting used to dusk creeping in earlier but thankfully yes the weekend weather was on the whole lovely. We haven't started tucking the garden to bed yet but we ought to soon...

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    1. Yes it was a good weekend guys although still waiting for the seeds to germinate :)

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  2. You may be rushing around trying to fit everything in, but you're further ahead than I am. I've decided to sow my sweet peas in spring rather than autumn so the pressure's off there, but I've only just bought my bulbs, never mind got round to planting them.

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    1. Ah but there's still all a few perennials that I'd like to plant Jo as well as the tidying up at the allotment. Have been away this last weekend so not sure when it's all going to happen especially as the weather seems to have turned very iffy. Race you with the bulb planting!

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  3. You too had a productive weekend. We are lucky with the weather at the moment arent we, I have to keep reminding myself not to take it for granted and time will quickly disappear for bulb planting. Feeling on top of things at the moment but that can change very quickly!

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    1. It was a brilliant weekend for working outdoors Helen but as you say not to be taken for granted. I'm of the third degree frostbite school of bulb planting so it' still early days for me. Glad that you are feeling on top of things at the moment.

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  4. Another person who has had a busy weekend, your vase of sweet peas is gorgeous, lovely colours. I too tried root trainers for the first time and was very pleased with the results. Now I have to catch up as we were away last week and can see lots that need doing.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Pauline. Hope that you have been able to get on with some catching up.

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  5. I know exactly what you mean about mild days seducing you into thinking there will be light evenings too, it is such a shock the way the dark suddenly floods in. I am a new convert to root trainers too, having used loo rolls for years but I got fed up with them starting to rot before the plants were ready to put in the ground! You are well ahead of me in the autumnal clearing and tidying stakes, though I did manage to finish clearing the brassica bed and plant out the alpine strawberries round its newly manured edges, plus potted on some of the perennials that I know I won't get time to put in the ground - mainly because the ground they are to go in is currently still covered in grass! Hope you find your Matucana seeds, a real favourite with me too.

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  6. Way behind here... still trying to clear weeds so that I can think about planting and moving perennials! Good luck with your sweet peas.

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    1. I think that we're probably neck and neck Jessica - I'm still clearing weeds too :)

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  7. Busy girl indeed! Are all Lathyrus varieties scented (too lazy to look them all up)? I always sow them in spring and find they do very well, maybe due to the long growing season. I don't put my garden to bed as such, as I enjoy plants in their death just as much (or almost ;) ). Here it doesn't get colder until late in the year which is great. I even have a self-sown pumpkin doing its best to produce a Potimarron before it's too late. There are so many flowers out - only the moving sun reminds me that autumn is here. Enjoy the fine weather, Anna

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    1. It would seem that some of the modern lathyrus varieties have had the scent bred out of them Annette but I only grow the scented ones. My favourite 'Matucana' is not only very old but highly scented too. Spring sown did well for me this year but I'm trying to get a head start on sowing now. Love the idea of a self -sown pumpkin. Would not happen here :)

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  8. That cooler weather continues its journey south down to here. It's shortlived I think.

    I have loads to put to bed. I hope the frost is a long way off.

    Get hold of those matucana. What if you sow in the spring?

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    1. Like you I'm hoping that there's a while before we see any frost Rob. Sweet peas will be fine if I wait until spring Rob but wanted to make a head start on sowing :)

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  9. It's good to get ahead with sowing and planting, but I shall be rushing around in November I fear! I try to leave everything as long as possible, but will have to start cutting things back soon in case it snows early again this autumn!

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    1. I'm sure that I will be rushing around in November too Cathy - just to keep warm if nothing else.

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  10. You're putting me to shame! Hasn't it been lovely to be able to get out into the garden in glorious autumn weather this year.

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    1. There have been some glorious autumn days here Su - glad that you have seen them in the east too.

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  11. Very productive, Anna! It was a lovely weekend for getting out into the garden, though we still have a mountain of things I'd like to get done before winter. Little by little...

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    1. It was just the right temperature for working Sara and possibly the last chance to spend a whole weekend outdoors for a while. Little and often ..... :)

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  12. Interesting to know that you found root trainers good, Anna. I ordered some earlier this year, being fed up with the toilet roll inners, but found that quite a chore to keep watered. The base of the trainers sits above a tray so the water freely drained through! Did you just water every (other) day? I found it quite hard to know whether I was watering in the correct quantities! I'm also going to autumn sow sweet peas as I hated waiting so long for the arrival of spring this year!

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  13. Can't remember exact watering regime Caro but my root trainers did not have a tray underneath.There are different versions of root trainers though if my memory is serving me correctly. I certainly did not water every day but just as and when I thought necessary. Yes it was a long, long wait for spring this year and my fingers were itching too so a good reason to sow in autumn :)

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.