Spring 2019 seriously begins for SOTG…
Now the frost chance overnight has seriously reduced and the workload of post Winter and Pre Spring clearing and tidying for Clients is mostly in hand or close to being so.
I turn my focus a little inwards to one of my favourite pastime and gardening events.
Sowing and propagation!
SOTG style though!
Yes, I do follow traditional sowing methods in large rows or plots. I also utilise Grow Tents and Indoor grow lighting.
This year I will also be trying some new methods to fit the strange set up I have and can use at my disposal.
It’s been a long time coming and I didn’t get to enjoy this phase last year due to work schedule and business matters taking my time and energies. This year however I have about 200 packets of named seeds plus thousands of harvested stock from my own sources to play with!
More about all that later.
As the weather has now fazed into a more stable upwards climb with regards temperatures and more importantly in some ways the length of daylight also available. This is the combination I am looking for when sowing or Spring Planting outside. The warmer and constantly above 10 Degree Celsius is also to be mixed with prolonged allowances of sunlight given by longer days that start in late winter and early spring. By around Easter the days are long enough to give enough sunlight to power the heat and also the light lengths needed for plants to burst into life and then carry on growing once their initial seed or starting phase energy of the seed pod is depleted.
That race to Germinate and then get the first leaves up and out to start harvesting energy is just as important as getting roots down to look for water. The hours needed per day is critical to strong and healthy growth let alone survival.
The old Gardeners method would be to place ones behind, naked of course, onto bare soil and test the warmth that way. This may or may not be where Naked Gardening Day evolved from. I do not know…
So given the weather again spiking upwards steadily after this impending storm has passed, if you have not already. Get your seeds sorted and ready and prepare for what looks like an interesting year growing ahead.
Time now is ideal for:
- The last tidy up after Winter and any last remaining Spring detritus opr clippings.
- Turning the compost heap.
- Weeding and strimming + lawn care and feeds.
- Borders prep and planting.
- Spring Bulb/flowers seasonal haircut or tie back + Mulch and feed.
- Top dress Lawns and finish scarification.
- Hand pruning hedges to clip away any remaining branches not taking to training.
- Wiring or Staking of Roses, Shrubs and small Saplings and flowers that may require it soon.
- Window Boxes and Pots or Troughs planting or weeding/tending.
This week given the potential weather inbound Shadow and I will mostly be working from home and I from the Growing studio on seed sowing duty. I aim to get around 50 Batches of Seed out this week as a test run.
Why do I do it this way instead of normal methods?
One of the main ones being speeding up batch processing of a large number of seed packets and then moving onto a further staging area to harden off and then be moved out onto prepared land and then left to fight for themselves and be pricked out to allow a further harvest over time.
I just don’t have the volume of pots and trays this year to deal with the quantity of seed bought in over the last 9 months, so I am opting to also try this to reduce plastic use and reuse or recycle products I already have to reduce my use or buying new plastic products.
Mostly though for ease and also reducing compost use and costs as well as trying to get every seed to grow this year or as high a % as possible. Also to try and hone the process and flow of seed being produced given growth time variation and quantity of different or new species I will be growing and trying this year.
Transportation and growing as well as storage room is also a factor.
I can only process or carry so many seed trays or pots, and also inhouse growing space is precious and expensive and outside growing undercover also has logistical requirements that require to be met constantly; or else a failed crop is the result.
What you see is a small propagation grow tent with indoor horticultural lighting. This will increase the lighting and hours of lighting per day to a steady constantant cycle. While also increasing the temperature and humidity to more optimum ranges and again for longer more stable lengths of time. Even though the lighting may not be as strong as the sun, the constants make up for that.
I am only using the grow tent to get the spark conditions for germination and as many seed trays through as possible to start feeding the Polytunnel waiting for them to grow on and get to the pricking out stage in a few weeks to months where they will be eventually outdoors under sunny days and skies.
We (Shadow and I) must give a quick mention to a visitor we had recently at the Bonsai Studio as it was being put together for the season. Arthur from HTS Fishing in Oakham came over to visit and wanted to investigate the bright lights in the studio so gave it the royal paw inspection. (As can be seen in his photobomb while the lighting was being tested!)
Always nice to have Arthur over and see him. =]
Wishing Mrs SH a very happy birthday.
Many happy returns from Shadow and I.
We hope you have a lovely and well deserved holiday.