Posts tagged biodegradable pots

Root-trainers and broad beans

broad bean planting

I started by digging out holes for the broad beans

broad beans root-trainers

The beans looked sturdy enough, but what would the root development be like?

broad bean root development

Once opened the root-trainers revealed strong root development

broad bean cloches

The only problem? The first set of cloches were too small to cover all the broad beans!

broad bean seedlings being planted

Larger cloches were the answer. Of 36 bean seeds sown, only two failed to germinate

broad beans in cloche

The broad beans covered with fleece for a week to allow them to fully harden off.

This is the first year we’ve used root-trainers rather than biodegradable pots and I’m impressed with the results so far. After ten days of leaving the beans out during the day and putting them in the shed overnight to avoid potential frosts, I was ready to plant them out…

Today’s harvest was red kale for dinner and some rhubarb which I’m experimenting with – I have a new Paleo rhubarb custard recipe to cook, and if it’s any good the Grow and Tell workshop attendees will get to try it on 29 March.

If you live around Brighton and Hove you’d like to learn to grow your own food (whether you have an allotment or just containers) and particularly if you’re interested in growing your own food to eat Paleo, why not come along to this year’s workshops? On 29 March we’ll be looking at propagating perennial crops like rhubarb and growing exotics like lemongrass. £5.00 per session. Email to reserve a place.


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Greenhouse tasks for early March

103 pea seedlings 6 mar 13We’ve had a couple of warm days, but the cold weather is heading back to us again. As a result, the greenhouse plants that have been spending time outside, to acclimatise (like the polyanthus I divided earlier in the week) are heading back indoors for a while. In addition to those plants, we’ve got pea seedlings that are definitely more like pea plants now! The great thing about growing them in biodegradable pots is that we don’t have to rely on the weather getting good to plant them out. The roots are already through the base of these pots, but that’s okay, we just sprinkle some multi-purpose compost between the pots, the roots spread out and down, and the plants keep growing strongly.

103 rocket 6 mar 13The rocket is also doing amazingly well – this crop comes from the tail end an old packet of seeds (use by 2011) which I found in the bottom of a drawer in the shed. I simply poured the seeds out and watered them – rocket is easier to grow than to not grow, in my experience, and I reckon we’ve got 100% germination of this supposedly ‘past sell by’ date packet. We’ll start to harvest in about a week or so: as they are very crowded, I’ll begin by thinning out the growth, taking around half the baby plants to use in a salad. From I will give it a week, thin them again, and then it will be cut and come again until these plants start to bolt.

103 chocolate pepper seed sowingOur cauliflower seeds are germinating well too – we have great success with cauliflowers (almost none with celery – just to make clear that I’m not boasting here, I’m just lucky with caulis, I think) and we’ve marked out on the plot where the cloches will go to protect the seedlings from birds, cabbage whites and the remorseless attentions of our local fox which does nothing to curb the rodent population but does like to take a dump on newly planted crops! The last task today was to sow some chocolate peper seeds. These are the only peppers we grow now, as we prefer their sweet flavour to all others, and I sow them in a pot, covering half the seed and leaving about half not so much covered as ‘obscured’ by just enough potting medium to hide them from view – for some reason chocolate peppers seem to germinate better with the lightest possible covering of soil. We can only grow four plants, given our space limitations, and I expect to get seven or eight seedlings from this pot, so we will swap the other seedlings, probably for tomato plants from other growers.

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The first pea seedlings

103 pea seedlings 13 feb 13Some people listen for cuckoos, some wait for the first day that they can wear shorts or sunglasses, the Scots cast their clouts in spring but for me, spring begins the day I see the first pea seedlings!

These peas, in newspaper pots, were planted four days ago – they don’t hang about! I can see three seedlings already.

There’s a whole section on making newspaper pots, including which papers we use, and some tips on how to use paper pots in the book!

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