Seeds to Sow in the Cold and Observations from the Greenhouse
They’ve taken almost 4 weeks, but I’ve finally got signs of carrot and beetroot germination (pictured) in the greenhouse. I’m putting this progress down to a few short bursts of sunshine which has temporarily brought the temperature of the greenhouse up.
Typically, the temperature has been between 2 and 8 oC during the recent cold weather, and according to some reports the chilly conditions are set to stay with us until at least the end of the month.
I’m desperate to make some more sowings, but how will further cold temperatures impact on our sowing plans? Well, all is not lost if you can find yourself some glass to sow under, whether it be a grand greenhouse or an old window laid on breezeblocks.
For many veg, the increasing light levels is more important than temperature. A good amount will germinate at between 5oC and 7oC, which means we can still crack on, excitedly ignoring the fact that it is darn cold.
5 oC Germinators
|Brussels Sprouts||1-2 weeks|
|Purple Sprouting Brocolli||1-2 weeks|
7 oC Germinators
|Spring Onions||2-3 weeks|
|Globe Artichoke||2-3 weeks|
Radishes, Chard, Leeks and Kale Germination
As well as the beets and carrots, I’ve got radishes, chard, leeks and kale in the greenhouse, all of which have battled the elements to germinate. They took their time, but I can understand that. I’m not the fastest of movers in the cold either. Today, they’ve been joined by sowings of sprouts, PSB, more carrots and leeks and spring onions.
Some books recommend a steady 10 oC for pea germination. However, I’ve also sowed peas, mangetout and broad beans during the middle of February, and these have germinated, although with differing levels of success. I saved seed from a Heritage Seed Library early pea called Essex Star last year, and they have all germinated, as have the Real Seeds Golden Sweet mangetout.
The Telegraph maincrop pea from the same company has not done so well, with only a handful of germinations. Hopefully it is just the maincrop in them holding the Telegraphs up.
Protecting the Sowings From Cold, Hardy Radish and Out of Date Seed
I have been covering the sowings with horticultural fleece and bubble wrap on particularly cold nights, but what’s interesting is that I don’t have enough to cover my radishes, yet they’ve happily germinated, and look very healthy. Some days have been near enough zero degrees in the greenhouse, which makes these seeds a real winner in the cold weather.
Furthermore, the seeds are two years out of date, which also goes to show that just because the packets says they’re unlikely to be any good, it is still worth a sow.
I’ve always been a half glass full kind of chap, so I’m still adamant that the newspapers, the Met Office and Carol, the nice BBC Breakfast weather forecaster and my favourite in living memory, are all wrong and Spring will return after its fleeting appearance a fortnight ago.
Still, I’m reassured to know that even if Spring doesn’t come back, I’ll still have something growing.