There’s still a little moment of wonder when seeds germinate and grow, pushing through the soil, even more so when they’ve got themselves through a cold winter … with only a little help from me.
Protected by the cold frame, my little batch of plants, sown in September, have soldiered on, and now that it feels like spring is really on the way, I brought them out at the weekend to give them a general tidy up.
There are about sixty plants in there, made up of:
- Digitalis Lutea [foxgloves]
- Digitalis Excelsior
- Hesperis matronalis [sweet rocket]
- Lunaria annua [honesty]
First off I cleaned the lid of the frame, inside and out, to let in as much light as possible. Then I snipped off all the yellowing lower leaves, they invite pests and diseases, and we don’t want to make things easy for them.
I checked the undersides of the pots before putting them back and knocked a few tiny slugs off the base of the pots.
Then I watered the plants with tepid water and left the frame open to get some air circulating, and to let the water evaporate a little.
The plants have hardly needed watering over the winter, but I’ll check them more regularly over the nest few weeks, only watering when the soil is dry. Too much water hanging around in there only encourages mould and fungal disease as the weather warms up … warm weather is going to happen soon isn’t it?
And, if you’re wondering why I sowed seeds in the autumn ready for this year, it’s to get a bit of a head-start. I’ll obviously be sowing more seeds in a few weeks time, but this way I won’t have to wait so long for sizeable plants and flowers.
I want to plant them out at the earliest opportunity, I’ll be opening the cold-frame lid during the day to get the plants toughened up, and just before they’re planted out, I’ll leave the lid open a crack for a few nights.
Most of the seeds are from Higgledy Garden, check them out here
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson