A short while later and I was busily hosing down some of the black plastic shelving which had been used for housing pots of seedlings in the front hall last spring but had spent the winter in the greenhouse, offering shelter to spiders. With the last of the spiders evicted, I left the shelves propped up against the fence to dry in the sunshine (yes, we did have some yesterday and it was quite warm, relatively speaking), along with the two large propagator trays I’d also found.
Forty small pots and three larger ones were then left to soak in warm, soapy water in my Belfast sink and I went back to my knitting. Once the shelves and trays were dry, I brought them in and set them up against one of the kitchen walls and stacked the plant pots, upside down, in the trays and left them to finish drying overnight.
With morning came the realisation that before I could actually get the seedlings potted up, I needed to buy some more compost. It’s the half term holidays at the moment and as Mud was working from home today, I jumped at the chance of escaping from the squabbling Mudlets and headed off to the garden center in search of potting compost and King Edward seed potatoes.
In past years, I have habitually potted seedlings straight into all purpose compost and, for the most part they have done alright. This year, however, I have decided to use the full range of John Innes composts and see if that makes a difference to plant growth and so this afternoon I bought potting compost No.1 and No.2, as well as my usual seed compost.
A quick visit to the seed potato section followed and I was quite surprised to see how small the tubers were this year. The ones I had previously seen in town had also been small and I had assumed this was just an example of a ‘get what you pay for’ scenario. So I had held out getting my King Edwards, thinking that the garden center would have better quality, if more expensive examples but it would seem I was mistaken. Even the more pricey nets held small specimens, the largest of which were still half the size of last years seed potatoes.
Admitting defeat I opted for a packet of 10 King Edwards (which for those of you who don’t know, is a main crop potato normally ready for harvesting August to October). Of course I already have a dozen Albert Bartlett Rooster seed potatoes chitting on the dining room windowsill and as these are also a main crop variety, we should, all being well, have a plentiful supply of potatoes in late summer. On a whim I also decided to buy a packet of 10 Duke of York seed potatoes which are ‘First Earlies’ and should be ready to harvest come June/July, just in time for salad season.
An expandable feather duster completed my purchases and has subsequently dealt with a really irritating and massive spiders web which was in the topmost corner of the stairwell by the window and which, until now, I haven’t been able to reach!
This afternoon I spent a calming and relaxing hour repotting the three Little Elf Chillis into the next size up pots which now means they won’t fit on my seed drawers. However, I then potted the three largest Stupice Tomato seedlings into the newly vacated ‘chilli’ pots and these have now taken up residence on the seed drawers. The remaining Stupice, Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, Ohnivec, Cayenne and Patio chilli seedlings were all then potted into the small pots I washed out yesterday and are now sitting in the propagator trays, on the shelving in the kitchen.
The kitchen isn’t the best place for these to be as they could either be knocked over by the hyperactive Mudlets, or get too warm because of the Rayburn. Come the weekend and the pool table will move back into the kitchen and then the shelves can take up their former position in the hall. For now, though, I’m just happy to have seedlings in pots again …… although this now means that the propagator is empty ….. wonder what else I can get underway now that February is over half way through and spring is just around the corner …….