As regular readers will know, my new house came with a significant bonus of a greenhouse in the garden. Having never had the luxury of a greenhouse, I was naturally very excited.
With the greenhouse thermometer reaching 14 or so degrees over the last week, I’ve been spending some meaningful time undercover, culminating in a rather joyous couple of hours today.
Growing undercover is a whole new adventure for me, as well as another learning curve. I’ve done some reading around the subject, but there is a refreshing and invigorating air of experimentation to everything I’m doing.
It’s a little like door opening to a new world of veg growing possibilities as if I’m in a computer game and have reached the next level. There is so much to explore.
Today, the weather was fine first thing but dulled over as I went outside. I ended up begging for rain, so I could experience that smug greenhouse owner feeling, pottering away in the dry.
During the past couple of days, I’ve sown broad beans, early peas, perpetual spinach and mangetout in pots, and celeriac in a seed tray. Celeriac needs a long growing season, and when I’ve tried growing it before the root ball has never amounted to much. I’m hoping the extra month or so in the greenhouse might make all the difference
I was given a very early carrot variety, Early Scarlet Horn, which I’m trying in a container and I’ve also sown beetroot in modules and a seed tray. I’ve had my AcryliCloche out on the patch for a week now, and I’ll be looking to transplant the early beet sowings under the cloche once they’re a few centimetres high.
Overnight I’ve covered the pots to create extra protection from the cold. Ordinarily, I’d use horticultural fleece, but in the spirit of the £5 a month pledge, I’ve been trying old bubble wrap instead. I’ve been removing the bubble wrap during the day as it doesn’t let the pots breathe as fleece will, but for the purpose of night time protection, the wrap is fine.
In the Autumn I put some spare strawberry plants into a container, and I’ve now moved them inside to try for a few early fruits.
So far I’ve been using the greenhouse to steal a march on the weather and get plants out and growing earlier, but more fun starts mid-summer. I’ve bought aubergine and melon seeds to try under glass – a tad ambitious, but with a warm summer, who knows what might happen. A man’s got to have a challenge, hasn’t he?
What with the birth of my son, a warming greenhouse and the opportunity to sow earlier than I ever have done before, I’m feeling very inspired. February used to be a really glum month, but now it’s pretty darn exhilarating.