January. . . What a month, I’m honestly really glad its over. I know it’s not just me but throughout January I have been desperate to get sowing seeds, desperate for spring, desperate for longer,lighter hours that I’ve kind of been wishing my life away without really realising it. Since I posted my last blog I’ve been feeling a lot better, a little bit more positive and maybe sowing my first few seeds of the year has really helped lift those heavy clouds.
Between gardeners & grow your own enthusiasts I have found that we all tend to do things a little differently. we all have ways that work better for ourselves and something that works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for another. so for me this all started out last year as a ‘have a go, hope for the best and learn from your mistakes’ journey of discovery into my allotment,
last year after joining the wonderful gardening community on Instagram i started to realise I was lacking a few things on the plot that I would loved to have grown. Honestly for me the planning for 2018 really started in spring 2017, jotting down all these wonderful vegetables and flowers I had never heard of, making lists so I wouldn’t forget what to buy. The two things on my list that I just HAD to grow this year was sweet peas and chilli’s. Now I did some research into both and had read that a lot of people sow them in January, so for me this was even more reason to grow them as it gave me something to do in that dreaded month of mine.
So in I went jumping on the band wagon and giving in to those itching hands of mine, and on January the 9th I planted my first seeds.
I sowed my sweet pea and chilli seeds in unheated propagators on sunny windowsills in my house, the seeds were sown in peat free compost and watered straight away. The only difference between the seeds was that i soaked my sweet pea seeds in water for a couple of hours before planting,
Within 6 days I had success the sweet peas had sprouted and 2 days later, on the 8th day out popped the chillis.
I was really surprised at how quickly the seeds had germinated, i was expecting it to be a couple of weeks especially as i wasn’t using a heated propagator or a heat lamp. I was so chuffed to see them grow so quickly and to see something come to life this year was just what I needed.
Now for me there is a BIG worry when it comes growing my own food this year. I seemed to have a really successful year last year on the plot and to be honest it was completely unexpected. I now have this great fear of not being able to grow a single thing this season, so seeing the chilli’s and sweet peas pop up was a definite sigh of relief from me. Now don’t get me wrong I like to have failures on the plot as it pushes us to improve ourselves and try again and try it differently, I’m just praying that last year want just beginners luck!
After a couple of weeks the sweet pea plants are doing really well and most of them now have two sets of leaves. a lot of peopt of people at this stage ‘pinch out the tips’ now if you are a savvy gardener you know exactly what I mean, but if like me last year you are a newbie and learning about everything, I honestly had no idea what this meant?! after a little tour through good, you tube and some books I found out what I needed to do. But for anyone wondering I have done a little step by step picture guide. I hope it helps.
Doing this will still allow the plant to grow tall but it will also encourage the plant to put some energy into producing side shoots off the main stem to create a bushier plant, this in turn should add additional blooms to your plant.
I did this with all of my sweet pea plants and so far all of them have started to develop one or two new shoots form the sides of the stem and have now continued to grow taller.
Hello February the month of love. . . or for me the month where I can officially say its march next month so that basically means it spring.
We have now hit February and I have managed 100% germination with my chilli’s and I’m only waiting on a few more of the sweet pea plants to pop their heads through the soil. My chilli seeds have been fantastic I got them from a company called @Lincolnshire_chilli_co on Instagram and I have had 100% germination, cant really argue with that percentage. For me I have found that the germination in the sweet peas has been extremely varied and I have found that soaking the sweet pea seeds in water first hasn’t made a massive difference for me. If we take the same seeds from the same packet some germinated on the 6th day and others have taken a couple more weeks too show. It was fun trying something new but, it just hasn’t showed the result I wanted to make it work.
A little update from my chilli plants today, some of them are starting to develop their true leaves which is really exciting as its only taken a month, I am now also a little more hopeful these plants will survive and hopefully produce some lovely chilli’s for me.
What to do next. . .
For me once my chilli plants look strong and healthy enough i will transfer them from the cell tray into their own 3inch individual pots and transfer them to my greenhouse when the last risk of frost has passed. I will be re potting my chillis into larger pots for final positioning in my greenhouse once they are big enough and have formed a good root system in their 3 inch pot. As for the sweetpeas i will again transfer them into largers pots when they are big enough but i wont be transferrering them to the greenhouse. I will start to harden them off outside for a couple of hours a day once the risk of frost has passed, I will then directly plant these outside into my garden and allotment when they are hardened off fully.
In summary, January was a long month, but I got through it, and I also got through it without a drop of alcohol, 1 month down 11 to go. I have really enjoyed getting this growing season started and I am just itching to do more, but I honestly don’t want to wish my time away so I promise to be a little more patient. I would also like to say a massive thank you to everyone that read my last blog and contacted me, I am still working through the messages and promise to get back to everyone. I have had such lovely feedback that I have has a big improvement in my mental health during the past couple of weeks. Everyone’s stories and kind words have been so inspiring and have given me an extra boost I wasn’t expecting, Thank you so much!
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Thank you Kirsty x