20 September 2020

This week we’ve pricked out our tomato seedlings and ‘thousands’ of bok choy.

I said I hadn’t sown spring leafy greens yet, but actually we had in the filming of our upcoming series on Growing Food In Containers. We have 3 households on board and two of them have young children. One of the families love bok choy and the children weren’t as reserved as I am with seeds. With the rate of germination we get, there are almost 40 bok choy plants now growing! A bit more than their Mum and Dad can get through!

Above are our tomatoes germinated – 100%. ‘Roma’, ‘Gardeners Delight’ and ‘Beefsteak’. We recycle pots by washing them in water to which you’ve added a splash of white vinegar for sterilising. For tomatoes, we plant into a pot this size, as the plant needs to be big when it’s planted out. Use a dibber to make a hole and transplant the seedling. Remember to use a knife to cut down between the rows and tease the little seedlings out of the soil. It’s best to have them a bit dry. Once pricked out, we soak the new pots in a water bath to which you’ve added liquid seaweed until the pot or punnet feels heavy or you can see it damp. Transfer to a meat or vege tray and leave in a warm light spot to grow on.

We’ve also sown carrots and parsnips. Remember to buy a new packet of carrot seed every time you sow them. It’s important to make sure the soil is light and fluffy for root crops, so use a fork to gently aerate the soil without disturbing soil life. Add compost, rock dust and this year I added some lime too to condition the soil. Fork through, followed by a rake to smooth it over. Make shallow furrows, don’t sow too thickly, cover over lightly, and stamp down lightly with the back of the rake. A good watering and on go the nets. I thought they were fully bird proof but one persistent blackbird has been in digging for worms, so I expect there’ll be a bare patch where it’s been. Tossed up whether to put a damp towel over the carrots for more even germination, but decided against it this time. We’ll see if I made the right call.

Also 2 out of our 3 early potato varieties are planted. The Jersey Bennes didn’t have big enough chits. So I’ve kept them on the windowsill to keep chitting. Planted are Maris Anchor and Cliffs Kidney. Made troughs as deep as possible, laid out the chitted potatoes about 20cms apart, scattered some neem granules around them to keep any psyllids at bay, then covered over with about 5cms of soil. Finished them off with an application of rock dust and blood and bone.

Only last week I had given all the alliums a dose of fish and seaweed solution to boost them along.

Then I noticed rust on the outer leaves of our garlic! The onions and leeks are clean at this stage. Rob recommends an application of sulphur, so I’m trying out Grosafe’s BioGro certified organic input Sulphur. Fingers crossed!

Lastly, I’ve made some codling moth traps in the last couple of days. You should hang these in your fruit trees before bud burst, but as you can see the Luisa plum is just in blossom. It’s made from a wonderful mix of molasses, cider vinegar, dishwashing liquid and cloudy ammonia. See here for exact amounts and how to make and hang the containers.

And finally, just thought these broccoli microgreens were so pretty!

Enjoy the beginning of your Spring!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!

6 Responses

  1. when pricking out seedlings, hold the small seedling by the leaves rather than the stem. This prevents crushing the tender stem which then prevents water rising up.

  2. Newbie to blog here. From past experience, what yield will your potatoes give you? You don’t mention adding Comfrey here as you did on YT channel? In my very best years, I get 10:1 harvest ratio. I follow Simple Living Alaska on YT… they’re getting harvests of upwards of 20:1 If I can up my yield, I can downsize the plots allocated to spuds. #WeLovePotatoes

    1. Hi Garth Yes yield is as least 10:1. We’ll add comfrey to our potato beds when our plants get a bit bigger. It’s spring here (NZ) and as comfrey is perennial our plants are just getting some leaves on them now. It’s ideal to be able to put the comfrey in with the seed potatoes, but it’s still okay putting it into the trenches as you hill them up. 🙂

  3. My carrot germination improved about 1,000% this past spring (Canada) by covering seedbed with layer of Agribon floating row cover, installing sprinkler in bed and running at least twice a day for ten minutes or so.

  4. Thanks for those tips Garth. Have re-sown carrots since the birds got under the netting and into the bed looking for worms. I put a wet towel over them for the first week or so until they germinated (as you say keeping the seeds moist is important for good germination) and we’re away now.

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