Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Temperamental Weather

After a very warm March, when we started to get on top of the weeding after the wet winter, the temperature has now dropped again, with rain and hailstones the size of peas on occasion!  While my broad beans and peas are hunkered down inside their cloche, it's much too cold to sow anything else outside.  I therefore decided to start some seeds indoors: lettuce, coriander, parsley, spring onion, leeks and basil.
I don't really like starting the Salad Bowl lettuce in pots as they put out very long roots and transplant badly, with high losses.  So this time I used a tray which had plug plants in last year, and carefully planted one seed in each module.  If you know how small lettuce seeds are you may be surprised at this!  My technique involved putting some seeds in the palm of my hand, wetting one finger and pressing it onto a seed, then poking it into the appropriate hole in the tray.  Of course, it helps if you're short-sighted; I took my glasses off and could see the tiny things perfectly!  I think a couple of modules may have two seeds, but it did seem to work.  They're already germinating after only 3 days, so we'll see how they go and whether I reduce my losses.
Elsewhere, the cold weather is giving us a prolonged display of flowers; these cherry blossoms are over in 3 days when the weather is warm, but they've been blooming slowly for a week now and should last several more days.
My white daffodils are putting on a good show too.
I'm particularly pleased with this bleeding heart, which I chopped off my Mum's plant 18 months ago.  It's looking pretty happy.
And after a very bad year for poppies last year, my oriental poppy has several buds.
But what is even better, my Himalayan Poppy, which didn't flower at all last year, has two flower spikes.  It has filled out substantially over the last year and is much larger.  Something to look forward to when the weather warms up!