Monday, 25 March 2013

My seedling guests are confused ...

Usually my seeds and seedlings know where they are in the grand scheme of things. ! They are allocated their place in my growing system, and they usually stay there, moving gently along from stage to stage, in the fullness of time. Not at the moment, however, - they are shuttled between 1 star and 5 star accommodation with dizzying speed. Usually, when all is right with the world, my seeds start life in the propagator and stay there until the majority have germinated. That is full-on 5 star accommodation, that is ! They have everything a pampered, small guest could require - warm, even temperature, heaps of light, no cold draughts, room service, the lot.

5 * -Tigerella tomato seedlings keeping their feet warm !

Then they move to the 4 star accommodation aka the Kitchen Windowsill. Admittedly, the temperature is not quite so even, but they still have daily room service and they are draught free.

4* - 'Bishop's Children' Dahlias, Aubergines and chillies 
When they are a little bigger and a little tougher, they are moved to 3 star accommodation in the conservatory. The lucky ones have a place away from the draughts of the doors, which are constantly opened by the dogs, Ruby and Gus (aka The Ungardeners). The most favoured 3 star guests can nestle up to the thick stone wall between conservatory and house, which tends to retain heat and is a bit of a micro-climate.

3 * - Delphinium 'Pacific Giant'

2 * - 'Bishop's Children' Dahlia seedlings

Less lucky seedlings have to cope with 2 star accommodation -  being on the table in the middle of the conservatory, it is draughtier, but at least it isn't near a window with the fluctuations of temperature that implies. The room is heated on cold nights like these, so it never falls below about 6 degrees.

1* - sweet peas (mixed) in the unheated greenhouse

Then there is my 1 star accommodation - the unheated greenhouse. At the moment, the only young plants braving that are my sweet peas, as they are as tough as old boots ! I am growing Cupani, T & M 'Ultimate Mix' and some native Alpujarran cultivars. The Spanish ones seem to feel the cold more than the ones bred for the UK climate, but they are hanging on in there !

Every dusk sees me running around like a loon, carrying all the seedtrays into the kitchen, so that they can all spend the night on the kitchen table, in the warm ( the equivalent of sofa- surfing I suppose!). They are ferried about mornings and evenings and are probably very confused by it all. I am finding it difficult to keep them all growing well, as, not only is it very cold, but light levels are low as well, and so windowsills are not easy either. I am constantly having to turn seed trays, and move them away from cold draughts at night. Growth is slow and I am sure I am having more casualties than usual. Because growth is slow, there is a queue of seeds waiting to go into the propagator, so the whole process is delayed.

Normal service will resume as soon as possible ... come on Spring!

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