I have to say that the bubble wrapped greenhouse is quite a pleasant place to be on a cold autumn morning and judging by the look of my tub of Christmas Carrots, the plants seem to agree.
Obviously, I don’t expect the roots to get to the same sort of length as they would in optimum conditions, outside during the summer but I am quietly hopeful for some baby sized roots for Christmas. I’ll need to pick up some feed in the next few days though, as the compost is probably in need of replenishment and I may as well give the over wintering chillis, the cauliflower and the cabbage a drop of extra nourishment whilst I’m at it.
The Winter garden is all primed and ready for planting. I put the covers over the grow house frames a couple of weeks ago, to help keep the ground temperature underneath warm, scattered a generous helping of chicken manure pellets around to feed the soil and now I need to get the planting done.
Mind you, I have had some worrisome nights starting with the night after I put the covers on, when over a period of a week the wind was fierce and gusting between 50- 70mph. This sort of weather went on for days and each morning I peered out into the garden in trepidation, expecting to find the covers had been blown off or torn to smithereens but so far, touch wood, they appear completely unaffected by the weather conditions.
Elsewhere, pods are drying out on the plants and will soon be ready for picking, podding and the seeds storing for next year. All the beds need some serious attention and I have some bags of farmhouse manure from the garden centre to add to those supplied by my horse owning friend.
Back inside the warmth of the house and my three Little Elf chilli plants are doing really well. Sarah the Gardener and I planted our chillis at around the same time and we are keeping an informal comparison of how the grow and do.
Sarah, for those of you who don’t know, is in New Zealand and is enjoying spring at the moment, whereas back here in the UK we are definitely dealing with autumn. So, whereas her plants are enjoying longer hours of daylight and warmer ambient temperatures both day and night, mine are in the house, on a windowsill with shorter days, coping with artificial lights and, I suspect, more dramatic drops in temperature at night, as we set our solid fuel Rayburn to run at a much lower temperature during the night time (to prevent the boiler over heating and blowing up). That said my plants are growing nicely and the ‘Tim and Joey’ chilli (named after Sarahs’ two boys) now stands at 6.5cm tall.
At this point I am going to digress slightly because Mud doesn’t like centimetres. In fact he frequently tells me that nobody uses centimetres anymore. No! Apparently millimetres or inches is the correct way to record measurements, never, ever centimetres and so to keep Mud happy and to ensure that everybody else in the world knows just how tall my plant is: 6.5 centimetres (which is my preferred unit of measurement) equates to 65mm (bet you didn’t know that) or 2.56inches.
Okay back to my chillis.
A quick look on the underside of the seed tray revealed that the roots of the two larger plants were starting to emerge through the drainage hole. Time to plant on and so a quick trip to the garden centre later and I had a nice, fresh bag of John Innes No2 Potting-on Compost (with 33% extra free don’t you know). I then washed out three of my 4 inch pots and matching saucers and then carefully repotted each of my seedlings.
The newly potted plants are now on the kitchen windowsill which is where they will live because, being right beside the Rayburn, it is much, much warmer than the dining room at night and if last winter is anything to go by, they will need all the warmth they can get.