Gardening Advice & Tips for Irish Gardeners

The Weekend Gardener (Part 4)

Day 4 in the Garden – March 13th With the worst of the frost behind us, St. Patrick's bank holiday weekend is the official beginning of the gardening year. Soil temperatures are on the up and many people choose this weekend to get out and sow their seed potatoes and other hardy vegetable seeds. I am remaining cautious and won’t be planting outdoors for another 2 weeks.

Sowing Seeds

I don’t want to plant out just yet because in recent years I have been caught out by late frosts which killed off many of my young seedlings. So instead of planting out this weekend I am going to sow a range of seeds indoors in pots and seed trays. Once planted these trays will be placed out in my greenhouse. I am sure that even later sown seeds will quickly catch up on earlier sowings in the heat of the Summer sun. This year I'm going to grow

  • Carrots - Autumn King
  • Beetroot - Detroit Crimson
  • Potatoes - Roosters (Main), Queens (2nd Earlies)
  • Butternut Squash - F1 Hunter
  • Courgettes - Alexander
  • Tomatoes -  Sungold (Cherry), Alicante (Round) & Lucciola (Plum)
  • Salads - French mix
  • Pak Choi
  • Chard - Bright lights
  • Lettuce - Gondor
  • Onions - Sturon Sets
  • Garlic - Elephant Cloves

Tomatoes The tomatoes were sown 2 weeks ago and have since been sitting on my kitchen windowsill where I can ensure good warmth and regular water and light. They have since germinated and in a week or so I will thin them out to one seedling per cell.

The carrots, beet, potatoes, onion sets and garlic will need to be sown directly so that just leaves the squash, courgette, salads, chard and lettuce to sow today.

Squash & Courgettes The squash and courgettes were sown directly in 9cm pots. I used general multipurpose compost by Supa Garden. Like all composts lately, it is full of annoying bits of twig and fibres and other organic materials that makes seed sowing a bit difficult.

Squash and courgette seeds are fairly big so they need to be sown quite deep into pots. I planted three seeds per 9cm pot – later I will prick out to 1 seedling per 9cm pot. I also sowed the seeds on their sides as this helps to prevent rot.

After sowing I covered with soil, watered well and placed on capillary matting on my garden tray.

Salads The salads were next. I am hoping to grow these as cut and come again crops so I just filled a single cell seed tray with both pak choi & french salad mix. The plan is to grow my salads in these trays and sow a new tray every 3 weeks. I’m hoping the shady side of my greenhouse would be a good spot to grow them.

Lettuce & Chard As for my lettuce and chard, these will eventually be planted out into the raised beds. So today I sowed 4 cells with lettuce seeds and 4 cells with chard. Again these will need to be thinned out and once large enough I will plant them out into the beds.

A few things on my check list to remember

  • Use labels – it’s important to note what and when you sowed
  • Think one step ahead – If you are sowing seeds in pots & trays, make sure that you have a bright, warm place to put them and make sure that you have enough space for repotting and eventually transplanting into growing in your vegetable plot
  • Keep on top of watering – Once seeds are sown you will need to keep them moist until time of harvest
  • Stay vigilant for frosty weather. If you seedlings in a greenhouse they will need to be brought indoors or covered with frost fleece on cold nights
  • Turn trays regularly and water pots and trays from beneath
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