Growing Vegetables #2 – Seedlings & Herbs
This year I have vowed to provide more regular updates on my vegetable growing endeavours. Last year I had some great successes and took millions of photos, but was so busy actually doing it I hardly got round to writing about it. To take the pressure off, this year I will write shorter posts more frequently. Some might contain only a few words and photos, just to show you how things are progressing. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that going, even when the growing season kicks off in earnest.
I have now planted my tomatoes, sweet peppers, chillies and cucumbers. In total I have planted 40 tomatoes, 20 peppers, 16 cucumbers and 10 chillies. This is much more than I need, but I am allowing for the fact that not all seeds will germinate and that some might not survive the hardening off process (when they are moved from my warm conservatory to the relative cool of the polytunnel.) Last year I definitely brought the seedlings outside too early and lost quite a few as a result. This year I will set up some temporary shelving in the conservatory and keep them inside for longer, then harden them gradually by initially taking them outside for just a few hours per day before eventually leaving overnight.
As it’s still too early to start work on my outdoor plants and my greenhouse plants are chugging along nicely, I am currently focusing on herbs. Yesterday I paid a visit to the seed shop and bought the following:
Basil (Green) – Toscano
Basil (Purple) – Purple Opal
In previous years I planted my herbs in window boxes, but this presented two problems. Firstly, it provided too much at one time. Some herbs, like coriander (cilantro) can go to seed very quickly if not used regularly and so having a large supply at one time can be problematic. Secondly, it is not so easy to transplant to bigger containers as the plants themselves get larger. This year I have decided to plant my herbs in individual pots. This way, I can plant small amounts on a regular basis – perhaps once a month for quick growers like coriander. Secondly, I can repot them easily as they grow, ensuring they continue to grow. Both the rosemary and the mint in the photos actually came from supermarket kitchen pots. I find both of these very slow to grow from seed, so I bought pots and immediately repotted them into bigger pots to allow them to grow. The mint pot actually contained 10 individual plants, so I repotted these into 4 separate pots. They are thriving, and I expect to have to repot them again soon. It’s definitely more expensive than buying seeds, but it’s much quicker and more reliable. The hardest part is resisting the temptation to eat them before they have reached a decent size!
If anyone has tips on growing herbs indoors I would be very interested to hear them. I love to cook with fresh herbs but buying them can be so expensive. I really want to get to a point where I have a constant, varied supply. Also, if you’ve started planting vegetables for this year I’d love to hear how it’s going.