Tuesday, 8 May 2012

'Weather warming up again?' Gardening Tips from Hugh Cassidy

Cucumber on Window Sill
'How long will I have to look at these plants on my window sill?' 
This was asked yesterday by one of the boys, about his bedroom window sill, where I (or should I say 'we') have some seeds sown indoors in a heated propagator, which has been very successful, and they have since had the heat turned off and the lid removed.
 Tomato and basil on window sill
Of course the next step would have been to pot them on and transfer them to the greenhouse, but with the weather the way it has been, I have held off on this process, 
A) because with the cooler weather the plants would have had a set back & 
B) because the space is limited in the greenhouse as the plants in there should have been hardened off to put outside or into cloches. 

Well, with the change to warmer weather, the gardening wheel will begin to turn again. Plants from the greenhouse will be hardened up to go outdoors, plants from the house will be transferred to the greenhouse and more seeds will be sown on the window sill. 

(Note to self: don't be to hard on yourself in 2012 for only getting to sow your tomato seed in March; earlier sown plants have been 'checked' by the turn in the weather over the past few weeks.)

Of course we can sow seed outdoors, directly into the soil, particularly the hardy annuals, such as sweet-pea, snap dragons, etc.; and veg such as broadbeans, peas, some lettuce, and so on.
Personally, I prefer to start them off in the coldframe or greenhouse in pots, and then plant them out.

The cold frames I use are very basic, inspired by Geoff Hamiltons's version in the 1990's. They comprise of a large cardboard box, with the front cut to about 9 inches in height and the sides cut to slope upwards to the back, normally about 18 inches in height. Some years when I have the time, I paint them a nice bright colour, other years they are left au-natural. For the covers, I use plastic, held in place by staples and clothes pegs, other times they are left completely uncovered, depending on the need.
Now, you understand, these coldframes for me are a gardening basic, that really do serve their purpose, and usually last until winter. If you want to get a few years out of one do what Geoff Hamilton did and paint with gloss paint, store it in a shed over winter, dust off in spring ... Happy days!

As for the window sill? Well it'll be a little time yet before it's cleared!

Avoid those raindrops and have a great week gardening!



  1. This is so spring-like it makes me really happy.

  2. Doesn't just! ALways glad to hear your comments Jenny... speak soon!