Friday, 25 February 2011

Weapons of Mass Production

With the distinct prospect of  spring it's time to roll out the secret weapons from the armoury.

The Germinator

First there's the germinator. A Christmas gift from the adoring family I have to admit I'm a bit nervous about using it. After a flurry of enthusiasm in my early allotment years I soon adopted a policy of "grow what can fend for itself".  Stalwarts like potatoes parsnips strawberries and beans dominated my plot. But as the family has grown up and demands on time diminished I've got a bit more adventurous. Bluberries and carrots, onions -  and last year tomatoes and cucumber - have been accomodated. By pandering to my whimsy for one of these the family is keeping the old man usefully diverted.  Now I've just got to learn to use the force - wisely!

I've held off until now as there is no use producing masses of plants before the days are long enough and before you can plant them out. I think I'll start off with basil, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber to be kept indoors on our minimal windowsill space, and parsley, spinach, celeriac to go outdoors. It's too early for beans yet. They can follow later.  Some things I believe are not suited to heat. Parsnips carrots broad beans.  How about peas??  I feel all at sea with the new game plan, but I'll have some fun learning from my mistakes. Any advice or suggestions gratefully received.   

My second weapon is the 'scud'. This has been deployed for a couple of weeks now on top of  one of the rhubarb crowns. Having done this for the last couple of years I am more on home territory here.

The Enforcer
Hopefully this will bring on the advance guard of rhubarb stalks in a few weeks time!


  1. Great post title. Tomatoes and peppers will do well in the heated propagator. I've started various brassicas in unheated propagators and have sown parnsips and carrots in the pipes outdoors. Broad beans are in toliet roll inners in the cold conservatory with the spuds. If you follow B&Q's lead you should have 4" high tomatoes, courgettes and squash by now - crazy even by my impatient standards - for down here in Salisbury that's a good 6 weeks ahead at least! I'm holding off on cucumbers until the end of March as I went too early last year and lost my prized Carmens. Best of luck!

  2. Looks as if you might get stopped by airport security with the first lot!
    You are so...ahead. I am going to have to have a late spurt.
    Love your rhubarb forcer.

  3. I'm doing the same as you but have also sown melons, onions and leeks on the heated mat. If you have seeds with differing germination temperatures, you can place some on an upturned seed tray to keep them cooler. I've also had good success rates with cuttings over the winter. The combination of low air temps. and bottom heat seems to have worked really well.

  4. Not much sown jere yet although the basil is through and growing now under our light thingy

  5. Dynamo - You're ahead of the game as ever!

    Linda - I'm hardly ahead. The pots and trays, you will notice, are empty! Tomorrow is sowing Sunday (Today was another bricklaying Saturday)

    Izzy - You know a trick or two. Thanks for the tip. Melon, eh!!!

    Sue, I get a heated propogator and you get lights?!?! Give me a break!

  6. Good luck with the germintor. I am hoping to get a few seed in this week coming and will definitely get my pots sorted so i know what space I have got and what I can grow. My celeriac was a disaster this year but I am going to give it a go again this year and see if I can improve things!!

  7. So, are you on for a celeriac square off, Tany? ':)

  8. Sure why not...I don't expect to win though but I can't do any worse than last see how we both get on!!

  9. Good! lol - Me and my big mouth!

    ...I'm sure I ordered some celeriac seeds...