Friday, 27 April 2012

Starting Over

I think I've made a big mistake with my tomatoes this year. I started them off inside the plastic greenhouse which was placed inside the normal greenhouse for a little extra protection. They were taking ages to germinate so I brought them in to the house on a sunny windowsill and in no time at all, they were popping their heads up through the soil. I decided that I would move them back outside as plants grown indoors tend to grow leggy and rather weak. Last year, my method worked great, the plants grew really strong. Things haven't worked out the same this year, I assume it's because we're having much cooler weather than we did last year. I've lost a few seedlings to damping off, some are very tatty whilst others just aren't growing. I've decided to cut my losses and start again. I'll still keep the originals going and just hope that they recover, but I've now got a back up, and these are being started off indoors on the windowsill where they'll remain until the weather improves. I've learn my lesson, sometimes seedlings do need a little extra care than I sometimes give them.

Most of the seedlings started off in the greenhouse are taking a long time to germinate at the moment. The radish I sowed a week last Sunday have germinated and are growing well, it shouldn't be too long before they're ready to harvest, they grow really quickly. The brassicas are enjoying this cooler weather though, they don't do very well if they're given warmth so the temperatures at the moment are suiting them and they're growing well. I just need to keep the slugs off the seedlings now, I think it was last year that a slug devoured the lot and I had to start again.

I don't think there'll be any allotment gardening happening this weekend. We've had so much rain just recently that I can imagine it being a quagmire down there, even hubby and son's cricket match which they were supposed to be playing in tomorrow has already been cancelled. Instead, I shall satisfy my desire to be doing something constructive for the garden by sowing some more seeds, I think it's the turn of the sweetcorn and squash.


  1. I think everyone is struggling this year. It certainly did rain yesterday and we went to harrogate!

  2. Hi Jo.

    You've definately done the right thing, every gardener needs an insurance policy when it comes to seedlings and that is why I like to space my sowings out a bit.

    I can not believe it is almost May, we have sown all of our cucurbits and sweetcorn already, but they won't be planted out until the very end of May when there is no more frost scheduled, and even then I might put some fleece around them for a few weeks.

    Our brassica seedlings have gone absolutely wild at the moement, they are in desperate need of potting on but the weather isn't really playing fair, so I can't justify a trip to the allotment just yet. Fingers crossed for a sunny afternoon.

    All the best,


  3. Hopefully your new sowings will germinate quickly now that it's generally a bit warmer now. I've been doing my usual moving of seedlings into the greenhouse during the day and then back into the house overnight for the past month. Forgot a few times and left them out in quite chilly temps, but they have all survived. Hopefully I can start leaving them in the greenhouse permanently very soon.

  4. Hi Jo
    I couldn't agree more about visiting the plot this weekend I'm sure ours will be boggy too.

    I'm struggling with tomatoes as well. I sowed a second batch on 16th April and left them in the greenhouse inside an un-heated propagator. The first are just starting to germinate this morning that's 11 days after sowing.

    I think I'm going to leave my squashes and sweetcorn for a couple of weeks and hope the temperatures warm up a bit

  5. I had the same problem with my tomatoes, the first lots only two took, so I sowed some more and now I have quite a few as most of both lots grew. But it is a nightmare with seeds germinating with this cool wet weather.

  6. It has certainly been a funny kind of year for germination hasn't it. My tomatoes look healthy, but actually ahven't grown at all for the last couple of weeks! I hope they'll leap into life when it warms up.

  7. Our forecast seems to say we might have some decent weather on Saturday (not pouring down and no gales) so I'm hoping to get outside! I need to sow a bit more too! And check how potatoes are doing. (always something to do)

  8. It's a shame about your first planting of tomatos Jo........I know very little about these things........although I did do a happy dance the other day.....both my beetrrot and spinach seeds are poking their green shoots up through the soil...........I planted them outside in pots.......yay! lily x

  9. Our brassicas are in pots in the greenhouse and will be there until they are big and strong before being put under netting outside - to deter the butterflies. The beetroot and onions outside are just poking through the soil now.
    Love from Mum

  10. The rain is something else. I have a load of stuff waiting to go into the ground but the allotment is too wet. My Son has suggested I try growing rice. If this weather keeps up I might have to look into it.

  11. Good luck with your second batch I'm sure they'll catch up soon. It has been a bit sluggish with the cooler weather, hoping that May will see temps rise and a growth spurt for all the veg!

  12. I've lost most of my melon seedlings when I moved them under cover onto the balcony. They were getting a bit leggy so I had to make a decision. Now starting again with a new batch. The chillies and toms are definitely staying indoors for now as the temps are predicted to fall this weekend and we've had some very strong winds here! Hoping for a change soon!

  13. Sorry to hear about your tomatoes Jo but there's still plenty of time to catch up. I'm beginning to wish that I had sown mine later. It's been a really testing April - just like last April was but in such a different way. I'm hoping to do a couple of hours at the allotment tomorrow if it is not raining!

  14. My dad lives in a cooler climate than me and this happens to him every year. The seedlings just seem to stop growing. They usually come good in the end though and he still thinks they are further progressed than if he delayed sowing. It should be interesting to compare yours.

  15. Jo, everyone is having problems like that this year I think. My tomato seedlings are looking OK-ish, and I really need to put them in bigger pots now, but if I do they will no longer fit on any windowsills, whereas if I put them outside they will be beaten down by the prolonged heavy rain. You can't win!

  16. Hi Jo. I know exactly how you feel. I do most of my seedlings in my dining room as it gets the most light and heat (when we do get any sun!) Sadly I lost some seedlings this week in a new pop up cold frame by the back door, they are useless if its windy. So I need to sow more purple sprouting brocolli, curly kale and swiss chard bright lights. Annoying as they were doing so well but couldn't be saved. Amanda

  17. We-re all getting off to a slow start - hopefully we can all catch up eventually.

  18. I agree with all everyone has said. I've got a few tomatoes seedlings on the go but I'm sure that they'd appreciate some brighter, warmer weather just as we would.
    At least you can start again, or buy some plants later on.
    Fingers crossed that May is a much better plotting month for all of us! Flighty xx

  19. I've been selling tomato seedlings for the last two weeks and have come across quite a few people who have been having problems germinating their own tomato seeds this year.

    I sowed my seeds in January and have kept them in the conservatory up until now. I don't think I'd be putting them anyplace cooler since cold damages them more than anything. Mine are doing great and have strong thick stems and healthy leaves.

    Indoor grown tomatoes that go leggy are usually the result of the roots not having enough space to put out roots. If you keep re-potting them and sinking the stem a little deeper in the compost each time you'll have strong stemmed little plants. Roots will actually grow out of the stem and help it to anchor it better and the plant won't be stressed out and try to send up a tall spindly stem.

  20. It certainly hasn't been garden show weather, Sue. There's always something at these events though which will take your mind off the weather.

    It's good to space sowings out, Martin, you're always sure to get some which pull through then. My brassicas also need potting on, another job to add to the list.

    It seems to have been much warmer today, Suburban Veg Gardener. Most of my tomatoes have now germinated so at least I've got a back up plan.

    I did manage a trip to the plot at the weekend, Martyn, but only to survey things. I won't be doing any digging any time soon, that's for sure.

    I think most of us are having problems with things germinating, Wigglywoo. Everything is so much slower this year, fingers crossed for some better weather.

    I think everything's just waiting for a little bit of sunshine and warmth, Su. I'm sure everything will grow like weeds then.

    We had rain again both Saturday and Sunday, Kelli, though it's been a lovely day today, let's hope for more of the same this week.

    Yay for your beetroot and spinach, Lily. I checked out the beetroot seeds I'd sown at the allotment when I ventured down there at the weekend and not a single one had germinated, probably washed away in all the rain.

    My brassicas are in the greenhouse too, Mum. They really need potting on now so I'll get that done this week.

    I think rice is definitely the way to go if this weather keeps up, The Cookie Jar. I'm hoping that everything waiting to go out survives. Even though it's been a nice day today, the ground is still too wet.

  21. I don't think things sown early this year will have much of a head start on later sowings, Damo. There isn't much which seems to have got going yet.

    It's so hard to make the right call this year, Caro. I don't think you'll be the only one who has lost seedlings. Good luck with the next batch.

    Hope you managed to get to the allotment, Anna. No work done here at the weekend. You're right about this year being so different to last year.

    It will be interesting to compare the two sowings, Liz. I don't really think an early sowing will have been beneficial this year, but we'll see.

    You can't win, Mark. It's a case of making a decision, then keeping fingers crossed that it's the right one.

    It's such a shame when we lose seedlings, Amanda, especially when they've been doing well. I only use my plastic greenhouse inside my normal greenhouse now, they take off if there's any wind.

    I'm sure we will all catch up, Elaine. The best thing about gardening is that things generally do want to grow and will if at all possible.

    I've heard the forecast that May is going to be the coldest May for a hundred years, Flighty. I'm praying that they've got that one wrong.

    It's good to hear that your tomato seedlings are doing well, Tanya. Mine will be kept indoors for a while now, at least until it warms up a bit.

  22. I don't think you have made a mistake with the tomatoes...give them time and you will have a wonderful crop again.

    My germination hasn't been so good this year but I have learnt not to panic...I will re-sow a few things and then what I have I will love and what I am without I will just cope with!!

  23. The tomatoes seem to be doing well again now that I've brought them indoors, Tanya. I potted them on last night so they should put on a bit of growth now. I think you're taking a sensible approach with your sowings. We can't do anything about the things which just won't grow for one reason or another, so we should make the most of those which do.

  24. I lost quite a few plants this year as I sowed a lot of seeds very early (unusual for me!) but then I planted them out when we had that nice weather in March, then lost them when it got cold and awful again! So had to start over with a lot of stuff.

  25. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Emma. It's hard to be patient when we get good weather early in the year. The frost can do so much damage, it's such a shame we can't start our gardening year early.


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