The Land Rover Owners Wife


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“And there I saw a spike of green”

Melon seedlings just 5 days after sowing

Melon seedlings just 5 days after sowing

The wait between sowing seeds and seeing the first seedlings emerge, can be a tense one in my experience, especially if you are waiting for seeds with a very long germination period (chillies and parsnips for example). So it’s always something of a relief to spot the first spikes of green beginning to unfurl from beneath the compost. Continue reading

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Butternut Squash seeds from a shop bought fruit.

They look healthy enough but time will tell if they'll be any good.

They look healthy enough but time will
tell if they’ll be any good.

As I was preparing a shop bought Butternut Squash a week or so ago, I thought how lovely and healthy the seeds were looking. Now baring in mind the fact that I already have 6 Winter Squash seedlings through, not forgetting 6 pumpkin “Invincible”, 6 pumpkin “Jack O’Lantern” and 4 pumpkin “Sweetie pie”, sowing yet more squash seeds was not high on my list of priorities. Continue reading


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A bit of squash (and other things)

The nearest propagator houses the winter squash and pumpkin seeds and the other is home to the flowers and courgettes.

The nearest propagator houses the winter squash and pumpkin seeds and the other is home to the flowers and courgettes.

As a result of my potting on, I suddenly found myself with a load of empty propagators and windowsills which could only mean one thing…. time to sow a load more seeds! I rifled through my seed drawers and to my absolute glee, realised that it was time to start sowing my winter squash and pumpkin seeds. Continue reading


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Improvisation in the greenhouse

The areas under the fleece frames are full to bursting

The areas under the fleece frames are full to bursting

You may remember that back in February I thought that I had a problem called ‘Damping Off‘ in my seed trays, as my seedlings did not appear to be doing so well. So to ensure that we had sufficient tomato, chilli, sweet pepper and cucumber plants for the year, I sowed a whole load more and hoped for the best. Well it would appear that ‘Sods Law’ has kicked in because despite my fears to the contrary, the original batch of seedlings all pulled themselves together and suddenly decided to thrive which I am convinced wouldn’t have happened, had I not sown replacement seeds (that’s the ‘Sods Law’ bit) AND the replacement seeds have also germinated in huge numbers and thrived. Continue reading


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The sweet corn sprouted

Can you see the tiny tips of the shoots. They're much bigger now!

Can you see the tiny tips of the shoots. They’re much bigger now!

Out of the four sweet corn kernels I took from my saved cob (post here), three germinated successfully. Initially it looked like all four had started to throw out a root but one stopped at a couple of millimeters but still, a 75% germination rate is pretty impressive in my biased opinion, especially from saved seed. Of course getting the seed to germinate is only part of the story and the real test will come as the season progresses and the plants grow, hopefully producing their own fat, juicy ears in due course. Continue reading


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Carrots and sweetcorn

Self saved carrot and sweetcorn seed, rehydrating.

Self saved carrot and sweetcorn seed, rehydrating.

I’ve sowed some more seeds yesterday, some carrot and sweetcorn seeds to be precise. Yes, yes, yes, I know its way too early to be sowing these particular crops, especially the sweetcorn and you could be forgiven for thinking I was losing my mind, or being unrealistically optimistic in regards the British weather but as you can see from this picture, all is not what it seems. Continue reading


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I predict a problem with available space ……

These aren't looking quite so sick anymore

These aren’t looking quite so sick anymore

You may remember that about eight or nine days ago I wrote about the disaster I thought was happening in my seed trays. The seedlings weren’t doing very well, a few had keeled over and several were looking decidedly dodgy. I felt that this was probably a problem called damping off and that I had over-watered my trays, resulting in the facilitation of the damping off fungus which was impeding both the growth of my seedlings and the germination of some of the seeds, not to mention causing some of the seedlings to give up the ghost entirely and fall over. Continue reading


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A disaster in my seed tray

The first true leaves should be in by now!

The first true leaves should be in by now!

The tomato seed tray to be exact and if the cause is what I think it is, then it is entirely my own fault. The majority of the seedlings appeared between 5 and 7 days after sowing which is about normal in my experience and all seemed well. However, a week further on and we still have no first true leaves, one seedling collapsed with a tell tale brown stain at its’ base and a few of the others are starting to look a little under the weather. So what do I think is the matter with my seedlings? I believe they are suffering with a condition called damping off and as I said at the start, if they are then I have nobody to blamed but myself. Continue reading


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Signs of life

Look! Can you see them? Tiny little roots

Look! Can you see them? Tiny little roots

You may recall from my last post, that when I sowed my second batch of Stupice tomato saved seeds the other day, I soaked them overnight in some damp kitchen towel to rehydrate them prior to sowing, instead of just sowing them direct into the compost which I did with the first batch. As I had re-hydrated far more seed than I actually needed for my seed tray, I decided that I would keep the left over seed on the damp kitchen towel to see if these would germinate, as this would potentially give me a clue as to what may be happening, out of sight, buried in the compost. The idea was that if nothing happened with the seeds on the kitchen towel and after a week or so there was no signs of life in the seed tray modules either, then I could safely assume that the seed was not viable. Continue reading


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Stupice tomato saved seed, a no show

Saved seed before rehydration

Saved seed before rehydration

That’s the thing with saving your own seed, there are no guarantees that your efforts will result in viable seed but you have to give it a try. So far this year I’ve sown two saved seed tomato varieties and four chilli varieties. It is still too soon for the chilli seeds to have germinated but the same is not true for the tomatoes and the three varieties of shop bought packets of tomato seed, as well as the saved seed Amish Paste Tomato are all through and standing tall. Alas, this is not the case for the saved seed tomato variety, Stupice. Continue reading