Getting a head start

Two daffodils in bloom

It is really starting to feel that spring is on its way. We had a few days of glorious sunshine and even a colder snap over the past few days can’t dampen my enthusiasm. The days are getting longer, skies are blue and every bird that passes over our heads is carrying foliage for nesting material. Our Pampas grass has constant feathered visitors and all the flowers are likely to be stripped over the next week or two. Leaves are starting to unfurl on our shrubs and a couple of trees in the village are even starting to blossom.  

Pussy willow tree in close up
Our pussy willow is at its best right now

We spent some time in the greenhouse last weekend and surprised ourselves by how full it is already. I collected seeds from the flower garden in the autumn and sowed them to give them a head start, along with some peas and some herbs on the kitchen windowsill. Everything germinated with its usual success – you would think I would realise by now – and the result is literally hundreds of seedlings. I have potted some on and will give others away but we cannot possibly use them all. D is in a similar position with the veg. We subscribe to the Grow Your Own magazine, which gives away several packets of seeds with every issue. He sowed a range of different veg earlier in the year and again, they all seemed to germinate successfully. If they all survive, we will have enough beetroot, turnips and carrots to feed the street.

Lime green beetroot seedlings in a plastic seed tray
These are the beetroots D didn’t have the space to pot on – we definitely have more than we can eat!

At first glance, it looks like we are losing our battle with black plastic. Tray after tray fills the greenhouse and it appears that I have been unsuccessful in my plan to reduce our plastic. However, looks can be deceptive. Aside from the raspberry canes, which we bought bareroot in the autumn, we have grown everything in the greenhouse from seed. Every plastic pot and tray has been cleaned and reused from previous years. Much better than using it once and then sending it to landfill. So maybe our environmental credentials aren’t too compromised after all.

Trays of seedlings in black plastic containers
Plastic, plastic everywhere …

Proud as we are of our achievements so far, we do have a problem. With the greenhouse so full already, we have no space to start anything else. Some of my plants have had to be moved to the Sitooterie to grow on until it warms up enough to move them to the cold frame. And we still have a lot to do. The veg beds need topping up with topsoil and manure, the lawn needs scarifying and reseeding and we are perhaps only a month away from needing to sow our next seeds. When the beds are warmed up enough to plant out some of what we already have, we may run out of space there too. We have our first early potatoes chitting in the house and some of them will need to go in bags to give us a bit more space. Last year we gave up two whole beds to potatoes and as a result we haven’t had to buy any throughout the winter – we just ran out last week. This year, we simply won’t have the room to grow so many.

Even with fewer potatoes, I can see we have a busy season ahead!

7 thoughts on “Getting a head start

  1. Looks like you’re well organised Lisa. My greenhouse is also nearly full but mostly with heritage vegetable stuff for the local 1620s house at Donington le heath where I volunteer. KA ready for the off.

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  2. Space is becoming an issue here, too, since winter is determined to hang on and on. I use plastic pots as well, and some of them are decades old. Stored away from sunlight, and cleaned well before each use, they will last and last so I feel no guilt. Hope you have a great season.

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