The Land Rover Owners Wife

An alternate use for knitting needles: potting on


A bit more space

A bit more space

Mud doesn’t like clutter! His is a minimalist (except when it comes to Christmas decorations) and would prefer the shelves in our home to be bereft of all but one or two, tasteful ornaments or models (made by himself of course). Pendelfin Rabbits (mine), Liliput Lane Cottages (both of ours) and assorted art works/models (the Mudlets) are regarded as ‘junk’. So you can imagine the effect that the sight of wall to wall propagators has on him, even though he knows that at this time of year and especially considering the atrocious weather we’ve been having, the situation is unavoidable.

Over the last few days, I’ve been busy potting everything on and leaving most of the seedlings in the greenhouse which has led to the house looking more and more uncluttered and spacious, an illusion underlined further by the return to school of the 4 crowded Gardening Club propagators. Of course Mud has been watching the exodus of the propagators with pleasure, a fact which had escaped me until this afternoon when I saw the nearly empty pool table and the gap on the kitchen windowsill which had been home to a propagator containing Kohl Rabi, mixed lettuces and some carrots and realised that my erstwhile other half may well be expecting these spaces to remain.

“Honey,” I began,”Don’t get too used to the spaces, once I’ve finished potting on I’ll be sowing a load more seeds and there isn’t any room for propagators in the greenhouses.”

I did deliver this bubble popping statement with a smile to try and lessen the disappointment poor old Mud was feeling but I don’t think it helped much.

The thing with seeds, I’ve learned over the years, is that generally speaking when you plan how many of each thing you want to grow, you must always sow extra seeds to allow for germination failures because there are always failures. Take Kohl Rabi, for instance, we have grown this in the past, quite successfully, in very deep pots but the germination ratios have never been that impressive, hovering between 40 and 60 percent, even with a brand new packet of seeds. So when I sowed the Kohl Rabi Azur seeds we got from ‘The Real Seed Catalogue’, I allowed for potential failure and sowed extra.

We like Kohl Rabi! We like it raw, grated on salads or as part of a coleslaw in place of cabbage. Around 10 Kohl Rabi per 3 weeks or so, would normally do us over the summer and so 2 or 3 successional sowings are a must, to ensure a constant supply. Today I potted up 20 of them!!!!!

That was a 100% germination rate!!!

That is an awful lot of Kohl Rabi that will be ready around the same time, if they all thrive and grow correctly that is. I think one or two will find their way to the school garden – one of the benefits of having two gardens to grow in I guess. I’ll maybe not sow quite so many next time.

So what has all this to do with knitting needles? Well actually not much other than they are fabulous for burning holes into bottoms of plastic pots ….. 300ml cream pots in this case but I also use them for the bottoms of the washing capsule tubs, and circular ice-cream tubs as well.

Cream PotsWaste not, want not and reuse, reduce, recylce. I have used the cream pots for sowing sweet corn for a couple of years now but as I have sown my sweet corn in seed trays this year, due to aforementioned space constraints and the dreadful weather we’ve been having, the cream pots were available for the Kohl Rabi. With the number of plants I had to pot on, I had soon used up my stock of already ‘holed’ pots but I had 8 or so that were washed and ready for use bar the drainage holes.

Cream PotsYou would think that with the drills and stuff Mud has, that drilling drainage holes would be a job he could do for me but I have long since learned that, unless the item that needs drilling is to do with the Land Rovers/house/workshop/sheds then I will be a long time waiting because “it takes so long to get my tools out and it’s bound to rain” or something along those lines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThankfully, I can be quite resourceful at times and figured out that if I took an odd/partnerless metal knitting needle, stuck the tip into the hot coals of the Rayburn firebox for a few seconds and then pressed it into the bottom of the plastic pots which I placed upside down on the brick hearth, then it would melt nice little holes into the bottom for me. By stacking 6-8 pots inside each other, I can ‘drill’ 6 or so holes through the lot in one go, often with just one heating up of the needle.

NB: This is merely a narrative of how I go about putting drainage holes into recycled pots/tubs and is in no way a recommendation of this method. Readers deciding to emulate this method do so entirely at their own risk.

Tomorrow I will have finished the potting on and will, I hope, have started with the next round of sowing so watch this space Mud, it’s about to fill back up.


6 thoughts on “An alternate use for knitting needles: potting on

  1. I think this blog post may be a prediction of the disappointment of my significant other when he comes home tonight. I put off planting this Spring by almost 3 weeks. We’re still well before our average last frost date, so I bit the bullet and put all my seeds in today. They’re crowded into and around the ledge of our southwest-facing picture window in seed trays, re-used cottage cheese containers, and round plastic trays with cut-up cardboard dividers from Coke packaging. I also kept the plastic pots from plants bought at garden centers last year, so, there aren’t actually geraniums in the pots that say so. It frustrates him to no end.

    • Lol, to be fair, I think Mud is okay with my improvisations, so long as I keep them in the greenhouse.

      The rows and rows of standard black seed trays and inserts, little brown pots and the green windowsill propagators are enough for him to deal with in the house without adding ice-cream tubs and cream pots, although he does have to put up with the empty laundry capsule tubs when I sow the Leeks in February/March but only until the seedlings are through and standing tall, at which point it’s out to the greenhouse with them πŸ™‚

  2. I nearly fainted away at the thought of using my Knit Pro needles for anything gardening related… so I was very relieved to hear it was a partner less metal one. Phew… Sounds like the seeds are coming on well πŸ˜€
    Btw my husband collects Lilliput Lane. I hate it! πŸ˜‰

    • Lol. So sorry to have given you such a huge shock πŸ™‚ As for the seeds, my large greenhouse is looking, well, very, VERY green at the moment. We’re selective about which cottages to get – only the pretty ones (although Mud would dearly love one of those with rail track and a steam engine in it).

      • I know they’re pretty. I can appreciate their attractiveness. I’m just not that keen… But everyone Assumes they’re mine πŸ™‚
        I tell Him that he’s got old lady taste – if he had his way we’d have flouncy net curtains,big floral prints and lacy doilies everywhere. And everything painted green!

  3. Lol. Thankfully, they are the only thing of that nature in the house (my Rabbits aside) as Mud and I prefer less chintzy things around us, although modern doesn’t work for us either, especially in a Victorian cottage. Mind you there are a couple of rooms in lighter shades of green …………. πŸ˜€

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