Updated: May 5, 2019
A delivery man this morning, bringing a box of 'Million Bells Mixed' mentioned that the reason why the wind was cold today is that it was from the Arctic. Shortly after this, James casually mentioned that today is World Naked Gardening Day... an unfortunate combination! I certainly don't intend to 'garden' in the nude, although the top I'm wearing (all my gardening clothes are old clothes being 'worn out' to destruction) does have holes in it, this will have to suffice. It is a strange day for weather, one minute bright sunshine, the next pouring rain and even hail. This is quite inconvenient, as I want to finally finish planting all seeds today and it is nice to do this on my outside bench as there is no real space in the polytunnel, as everything is covered in seed trays. No sooner do I settle down to sowing seeds in the sun, listening to radio 4 - bliss! Then I have to leap up, grab the radio and seeds and dash into the tunnel. Patrick and James are also being hindered in their attempts to finish the cold frames, which will be a massive help when they are finished. As usual, there are a number of odd jobs that delay me on my sowing marathon. Watering the polytunnel, 'dead heading' in the Auricula Theatre, and removing unwanted bits of
Artemisia 'Oriental Limelight' from parts on the herb garden that it is invading! I have a moment of quiet pride with my beautiful Woad plant which is taller than me and in full bloom. In the past week I've seen Woad at Chenies Manor and Chealsea Physic Garden and to my surprise they were no more than a foot high with no flowers, well the Woad is obviously growing in the right spot! I am determined to finish planting all seeds today, so I can start planting things out in the garden.
I start with 40 cell trays of, 1. Endive - Fine de Louviers x 15, Blond Full Heart x 15 and Cornet de Bordeaux x 10, 2. Flat leaved Parsley x 20 and Curled leaved Parsley x 20, 3. Corriander x 20 and Dill x 20, 4. Samphire x 40, 5. Quinoa x 40 6. Purslane Golden x 20 and Green x 20, 7. Turnip - Snowball x 40, 8. Oriental Radish 'Pink Dragon' x 20 and Pak Choi x 20, 9 Kohl Rabi 'Purple Delicacy' x 24 and Nasturtium x 16, 10. Lettuce, 5 each of Batavia Blonde Paris, Lollo Rossa, Buttercrunch, Tuska, Relay, Lollo Bionda, Continuity and Valmaine, 11. Mustard Golden Frills x 7, Purple Frills x 8, Giant Red x 5, Mizuna x 10 and Rocket 'Esme' x 10. I planted two 84 cell trays of Meconopsis Blue Poppy x 32, Grandis x 32 and Godetia x 20 and a tray of 84 Godetia. I then did some general resowing, one complete tray of leeks (Bandit and Pandora) had not germinated, so I replanted them with Lancia x 15, Hilari x 15 and Hannibal x 10.
I also resowed any empty cells in trays of Basil, Beetroot and Chard. Some things have poor germination, some seeds have been dug up by mice and some seedlings have been munched by slugs! There are quite a few things to contend with, I try to remember to cover newly sown seeds with glass to deter mice and I try to cover tasty seedlings with plastic covers at night to protect from slugs and I go out at night to pick slugs off the plants. This makes putting the polytunnel 'to bed' quite a long job. I finally come inside at 9pm having finished up by trying to calculate how many things I will eventually have to plant out. I count 22 x 84 cell trays, 59 x 40 cell trays, 25 root trainers (each with 32 sections) and 12 larger 15 cell trays. This gives me approximately 5188 things to plant. This does not include the Dahlias (206), Cannas (about 30), Begonias (about 60) and 48 Hardy Mums and Verbenas plus a whole collection of Perennials and Clematis, not to mention the melons and cucumbers that are presently in the extension. I am slightly daunted by this calculation, but I did plant 5000 bulbs in the Autumn so I guess the sooner I get started the better!