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August issue of The Irish Garden








Johnplotman's Journal

Johnplotman's Journal

Last Post 4 days 13 hours ago

Greenhouse and polytunnel growing.

24 January 2010 13:29:04
Thinking time.

Thinking time.

Now that we are well into January and some seed sowing has already started,the next 3 months will be all go for the garden.

Jobs to have remembered in the tunnel and greenhouse are from 1,planning the year ahead 2,Have the seeds sorted out.3,Make sure the soil is ready.Just like we breath so does it need to breath also to be fit for growing there.4 Check doors,windows, etc for any hidden pests.5 Have the pots tubs etc cleaned and ready for use.I have most of the plans for this year drawn up,and one very important point is the use of crop rotation.It is the same ground we will be working with and if that is not ready then sowing plans will be slow and mixed up.We make seeds etc grow by being good to the soil and in return it will be good to us by growing the food we spend hours in the garden sowing,hoeing weeding etc.The ground is the same inside the tunnel etc,and just like the beds outside them. 

While checking seeds and having them sorted out it is important to look over all dates on the pkts.Parsnip seeds for example last only 1 year.You are wasting valuable time in the garden trying to sow previous years seed from them.Ok maybe 1 or 2 might grow,but what about the rest of the seed tray filled with compost,wasting time,and of no use.I will add a list to my journal some evening during this week of the time keeping of opened vegetable seeds pkts.To name 1 type of veg like lettuce,dont sow the pkt all at once.You will end up feeding the compost heap plenty of uneaten heads of lettuce and the worms will have the knife and fork ready for the feast.Sow them by successional cropping.What this means is to sow them little and often.A small row every 10 days or sow.Then when the first small row is harvested the next row will be ready for eating etc.Different with the likes of tomatoes parsnips,sprouts,to name a few.Nature will always win some of the time,but be good to the ground and the ground will be good to you.


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Jacinta Jacinta 24 January 2010 13:44:11

Great John. I have loads of veg packs that are a few years old. It would be worth our while knowing whether or not we would be wasting time, and compost, and expectations sowing what is NOT going to grow.


Rachel Rachel 24 January 2010 13:51:53

I always go through my seeds and throw out anything that is out of date. Usually the seed manufacturer puts 'best before' date. But Thomson and Morgan can be very annoying and don't do that so you need to take note of when it was bought (incidentally, watch out when buying seed. If there is no date then you don't know how long it's been lying there). With Thomson and Morgan tomatoes they put a date but always say that the seed must be used the year of purchase. I think that is just a trick to get you to buy more seed as tomato seed is supposed to keep for 3 years.


Myrtle Myrtle 24 January 2010 13:53:16

Well thought out and organised John.


Cloncaw Cloncaw 24 January 2010 18:02:07

Great tips for anyone new to greenhouse and polytunnel growing, checked through seeds in hand before going shopping last week and disposed of those out of date.


Lìga Lìga 25 January 2010 07:54:58

Very good tips about sowing John!


milkchurns milkchurns 25 January 2010 14:29:28

good tips there john. with old seeds you can test them. place a few seeds from the packet onto damp tissue. keep the tissue damp and after a few days if more than 2/3 of seeds show sign of life you packet of seed could still be worth sowing.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 25 January 2010 17:58:13

Thank everyone.

That is a good tip to know Paul,what you mention about checking an old pkt of seeds.Thanks.


plank plank 24 January 2012 12:51:36

amy one able to help prob with slugs in tunell i am new to this only got tunell last year


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