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.
Waste 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.
You 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.
Thankfully, 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.