I decided to get a head start with our spring plantings this week, particularly as there was a new moon last Tuesday (4th) & I sow by moon cycles where possible. Sow leaf crops during a waxing moon, root crops during a waning moon – will aim to post on moon planting sometime, but if you have any experience of this, or thoughts on the idea, please post a comment.
As we don’t sow early Broad Beans in autumn due to rats/squirrels digging them up, I tend to chit & sow them as early in the new year as I can (when I remember, that is!). I put @ 60 Aquadulce Broad Bean seeds in to soak on the 3rd, then drained into a sandwich box with barely damp kitchen towel on the 5th – in a plastic bag , clipped to stop flies, & left them on a cool shelf. The root radicles began to emerge on the 6th. Today(9th), I planted them all out into root trainers & have left them, covered, in our kitchen extension, essentially a cold greenhouse. Will post pictures when they begin to emerge.
I also sowed some summer leeks-Pandora & Carentan, in modules-once they emerge I’ll transplant them into a seed bed on the allotment & cover with blue builders’ netting. My intention is to plant them out into the early Potato bed once the potatoes are cleared, then follow them with early Broad Beans next spring 2012, so maintaining rotation sequence.
I’ve @ 100 early pea seeds also chitting (Piccolo Provence, originally from Seeds of Italy, but our own saved seed from 2010) but I’ve no more root trainers, so off to buy some this week. Again, will post pictures once they emerge. I intend sowing all our peas in root trainers this year because of an accidental experiment with them in spring 2010. I usually sow peas in guttering lined with newspaper & then popped into channels along the pea frames once the seedlings emerge. Last spring I ran out of guttering but still had nearly 2 dozen chitted peas to plant out. I planted them instead in root trainers & these plants consistently grew taller & cropped better than those sown in guttering. You use less seed but you end up with stronger, sturdier plants that withstand pests & weather much better. Again, if I remember, I’ll take some pictures & post for you to see for yourself.