Seedlings and snowdrops romping ahead

It may be snowing today, but the previous mild weather has made the garden romp ahead. The show of snowdrops is weeks ahead of last year. Although I don’t know much about the varieties I grow – a mix of singles and doubles, tall ones and short ones – they thrive here and each year I have many more of them.  Last year I divided the clumps and redistributed them and it has really paid off.  It is looking so pretty, I must indulge in a snowdrop montage:

Or maybe two snowdrop montages!

snowdrop montageAll these shots were taken today (18th Feb) – the alternating heavy snow and brilliant sun was more mad March than February!

Until today – isn’t always winter at the weekend? – it has been beautiful gardening weather. Shame I’ve been deskbound and not able to partake.

I’ve gone seed sowing crazy!

The one indoor job that is easy to fit round the day job is seed sowing.  Lulled by the mild weather, every window sill is already a propagation production line. Space is going to be tight be late April!

The usual over-ordering of seed is complete.  For the first time I have bought a lot of my seed from Nickys Nursery.  I haven;t used them before, but I was particularly keen to grow Stevia and they were on of the few suppliers.  As it turned out they have a really interesting range of stuff and I bought a lot of herbs and pretty things.  The seed and instructions are nice and clear and I’ve been impressed so far.

I’m probably unlikely to succeed with Stevia – even Basil finds my windowsills too chilly – but a sugar substitute herb with no calories….  You have to try, right?  I shall indulge it with heat like a rare orchid!

I have refined quite an efficient little system of seed germination. The hot progator gets things started.  Then they move to the cool propagator, which helps them onwards gently so they don’t die of shock in my freezing house.  Then they move onto the windowsills.

I find that on the hot propagator, plastic bags (especially sandwich bags) – rather than the tray lids that came with the propagator – are ideal for keeping the humidity and temperature right.  The seed tray lids seem to result in the germinated seeds cooking to a crisp, whereas there is rarely a loss with in the sandwich bags!

No doubt I have over ordered the seed and have probably started sowing too early (the first batches started last week in January) but it makes me happy!  And right now the all seedlings are looking pretty happy too.   Growing nicely so far:

  • Sweet peas (loads of varieties, especially scented ones)
  • Chillies
  • Diasca
  • Training pansy
  • Stevia
  • Geranium
  • Salvia
  • Basil  (goodness knows why, it never thrives & I end up buying plants from the supermarket)
  • Perennial cornflowers

And as soon as one lot move off the hot propagator, that makes space for something else!  My challenge is never at the seedling stage, it is in the finding space where they get enough light during the hardening off process.  Any tips?


8 thoughts on “Seedlings and snowdrops romping ahead

  1. Your snowdrops are beautiful. I am behind on starting my seeds. And I can’t help you much on the hardening off stage. That’s the hardest part for me. But, I’ve been impatient in the past – this year I’m going to take it slow and make sure they’re ready before I plop them in the ground.

    • 🙂 – every year I say that – then by April and the sun is shining and every indoor space is full I put them outside for a few hours and a week later remember to bring them in. Still – if the skugs, rain or cold hasn’t killed them, they’re usually tougher for it. At least that is what I try and tell myself. This year I have been so impatient, I’ve not been able to contain myself – but the weather has largely complied…

  2. What a joy it must be to see all those blooming snowdrops at this time of year. Here in the northeast US, the weather also seems more like March than February, with warm sunshine combined with cold winds, changeable weather, and flowers beginning to bloom here and there.

    • It is a joy, I really do find it good for the soul after winter to see these little signs of the whole cycle beginning at force again.

      Your weather does sound very March-like, though I assume there is still a chance of really bitter cold? I was quite astounded the first time I visited Boston in winter (only having been in summer and fall previously). I didn’t even take a serious coat (just my suit, silly fool that I am!) and so I’ve never been so raw with cold in my life! Whenever it is truly windy and bitterly cold here (in a dry way) my husband and I find ourselves thinking of our walk along the waterfront in Salem. Only Montreal in February has ever topped it for me in terms of the chill factor.

      That must bring some gardening challenges for you!

  3. Gorgeous snowdrops…too much winter here with no blooms. I have to resort to grow lights and I will be hardening mine off outdoors under a white row cover. I read recently that I could not only use the covers on my veg garden as I do to start outdoor sowing early, but they are great to protect the seedlings as you harden them off…we shall see.

    • I might give that a go – thanks for the tip. In the past my “clever” attempt to protect seedlings with a plastic cheapo coldframe thing from Lidl got foiled when the whole thing blew away in the first puff of wind, bashing the seedlings to oblivion.

      But I guess you peg the covers down or something, and raise them up a little somehow?

  4. I have a mix of snowdrops like you some tall and some short but no idea what is what. I have started seed sowing too. I might try basil again this year but I never have any luck with them, they germinate and then just stop

    • That is exactly what happens with my basil – they germinate fine and never get past 3cm high. I’m trying something different this year with them – I’m going to leave them on the heater propagator long after germination and see if that helps (it won’t if the issue is sun, I don’t have enough of that – even with my silly tin foil reflector from space!)

      Good luch!

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