Occupying one whole section of staging in the large greenhouse, three seed trays of young chilli plants sat patiently waiting their turn for potting on. If you remember, a couple of months ago, I had been feverishly potting on the trays and trays of seedlings, that had resulted from the over sowing of seeds, caused by the mistaken belief that the seedlings from my initial sowings were succumbing to damping off. As it turned out my fears had been misplaced and most of the original seedlings suddenly began to thrive, as did all of those that resulted from my second sowing which meant that I suddenly found myself with close to 100 tomato and roughly 60 Chilli seedlings to care for. Consequently, when it came time to pot on the seedlings for the first time, I soon realised that I didn’t have enough first size pots and so had to think of a solution.
As it happened I had recently bought some more seed tray inserts, with modules which held about the same amount of compost as a first size pot and so I decided that the best course of action was to pot the slower growing chillies into the inserts, whilst the sweet peppers and much faster growing tomatoes went into the pots and this worked well. In the intervening weeks, the chillies have been growing happily in their modules but the other day I noticed the first signs of flower formation on the Cayennes and realised that potting them into bigger pots was now a matter of some urgency.
However there were two major stumbling blocks to this plan: firstly I didn’t have any compost; and secondly, there wasn’t any room in the greenhouse and wouldn’t be any until the last of the tomatoes and the cucumbers were planted on ……. which wouldn’t happen until I got compost.
You may recall from the post I did the other day about making my hanging baskets, that it was a Bank Holiday weekend and the reason I had used the compost from our own bins (which it turned out was gloriously rich and moist), was that the garden centre on a Holiday weekend is one of my least favourite places to be, due to the sheer volume of people. Fortunately for me, on Bank Holiday Monday itself, Mud decided that he would go, on his own, and get the growbags and compost I needed, an act of self-sacrifice that I truly appreciate and was happy to agree to and soon I was the proud recipient of two Jumbo (60ltr) growbags and four (50ltre) bags of all purpose compost.
Finally I could make headway but first I needed to move all of all the flower seedlings which were still sheltering in the little greenhouse in to the large one, clear out the floor staging and sweep the detritus and cobwebs away. This took about an hour on Monday evening but by the time I had finished, the greenhouse was ready for the arrival of its’ new inhabitants, the following day.
Tuesday dawned clear and bright and I was soon in the garden ready to begin planting the tomatoes and cucumbers into ten of the small green flexi tubs we use as planters. The tubs were filled with a 50/50m mix of growbag compost and all purpose compost, before eight of them were put into position in the little greenhouse and the other two positioned near the raised beds. Once all the small tubs were ready, I set about planting up 3 Stupice tomatoes, 2 Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, 1 Gardeners Delight Cherry tomato and 2 Marketmore Cucumbers, with a couple of marigolds thrown in as companion plants for good measure, in the greenhouse tubs and a Gardeners Delight tomato in each of the outside ones.
Next, two medium sized flexi tubs were filled, again with a 50/50 mix, one of which went into the small greenhouse and the other into the large greenhouse and these were planted up with melons, two Melon ‘Pepito‘ in the tub in the large greenhouse and two Melon ‘Arava‘ in the small greenhouse.
All this planting up resulted in some much needed space in the large greenhouse and, at last, I was able to rescue the chillies from their cramped conditions and move them and the Sweet Peppers, into larger pots. Two hours later and I had finished potting on: 14 Sweet Peppers; 17 Patio Chillies; 4 Ohnivec Chillies; and 26 Cayenne Chillies. A further 20 Chilli plants had already been moved to the Poly Tunnel at school. The space I made just a few hours earlier, was already a dim and distant memory and I still had the flower seedlings to pot on.