As I peered into one of my little growhouses yesterday, I got a bit of a surprise …… my first ever cauliflower! Cause for celebration, you might think but this speicmen is no family sized block buster, nor would it sustain a health conscious singleton, in fact even the local vole would struggle if it was wholly reliant on this cauliflower for survival. But a cauliflower is a cauliflower, even if it is only 1 inch diameter, and it is the first one I have ever grown at home and so I am going to celebrate it Lilliputian style with a suitably subdued ‘Yipee!’
Elsewhere in the winter garden, this years leeks have moved from their home in the bathroom, into the same growhouse as the cauliflower and their tubs have been carefully slotted into the gaps between the O-Cross Cabbages ……… which aren’t. There has been a bit of a technical hitch with the O-Cross Cabbages. These were grown from saved seed given to me by a friend whose mother had sent them to her. However, recent irrefutable evidence has revealed that these are not in fact cabbages of any sort but are a sprouting broccoli – the side shoots with florets on them were a bit of a give away. Ah well, never mind, we like broccoli and sprouting broccoli is a pleasant alternative to the norm.
We do still have some of last years leeks to harvest and this seasons onions are growing nicely whilst in the hallway the seeds sown last weekend are, for the most part, through. As usual, in the small propagator, the lettuces and rocket were through in record time but the last of the seedlings to show themselves in that propagator, Amish Tomatoes, are only now (Saturday) starting to show their faces.
Also in the hallway, 6 of the sweet corn and fair few squashes, pumpkins and cucumbers have appeared with more on the way, if the ‘molehill’ like mounds in the little pots are anything to go by. So far though, there has been no indication that the Wautoma Cucumber seeds I saved from one of last years fruit are viable but that’s the thing about gardening, nothing is ever guaranteed and I do still have some of last years seed from the Real Seed Catalogue, to sow if needs be.
The hall is also home to the various chillis and these appear to be doing well and are starting to put on more growth and the three Stupice tomatoes from my original sowing, are thriving in the dining room but really do need to be potted on into the next size pot. Two more seedlings from a second sowing of Stupice are doing well in another propagator tray and are also ready for potting on and in the same tray are the 5 Chocolate Cherry tomato seedlings, also from a second sowing which are looking pretty good at the moment. All the Chocolate Cherry seedlings from the first sowing wilted after potting on but never, at any stage, looked as good as this second lot do now.
If the weather holds out, then tomorrow I really need to get out and do some weeding, especially under the plastic covers and I’d also like to get the parsnip seeds sown, although the Met Office is forecasting a bit of a cold spell which is already noticeable, so I may have to be patient for another couple of weeks. I know the books all say that parsnip seed can be sown from February but I’m of the opinion that ALL seed needs a degree of warmth to germinate and the longer seed sits in cold, damp (or, after this last winter, more likely saturated) ground, the higher the risk of poor or non-germination due to rot. As a result I tend to wait until the end of March before I even start to consider putting the seed in.
Next Sunday is Mothers Day in the UK and I am hoping to get some ultra fine insect mesh for the garden this year, so that I can grow my lettuces outside between the carrots, beetroot and parsnips initially until the root crops get too big and start to shade the lettuces. We have grown lettuces quite successfully in the greenhouse in recent years but I find that despite my best efforts they inevitably fall victim to whitefly. I’m sure this is down to the humidity and so I hope that by growing them outside but under netting, we’ll get a good crop and less whitefly infestation.
With ultra fine mesh, I might even be able to try grow some more brassicas, but we shall see and don’t tell Mud ….. he thinks they are too much trouble and take up far too much space (and he’s probably right) but I do like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower but I think I’ll give Brussel Sprouts a miss as they really do take up an incredible amount of space and we simply don’t have the room.