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Spring Equinox

March 17, 2016

It will officially be Spring on Sunday March the 20th the day when the sun shines directly on the equator and daytime and night-time are very nearly equal. The sun will rise at 06 am and the sun will set at 18.14 pm so very close to being equal. I guess because we’ve had a relatively mild Winter it feels we are drifting effortlessly into Spring without the usual craving for the new season. And I’m not rushing too far ahead with sowing since it’s not unknown to have heavy frost and snow in April. But two pots of leeks sown just a week ago are through the soil …

 

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These were kept indoors on a sunny windowsill so I shall do the same today with my favourite White Silver chard which has the thickest white stems and huge leaves.  It’s hardy enough to keep going through next Winter so I plan to grow two large rows for the summer season and then repeat sow in July/August.

silver chard 2

With the sun on my back it seemed a good time to propagate the pineapple sage since it’s a great plant to give away. I pulled side-shoots gently down the stem and trimmed off any large leaves.  Then I dipped the stem in hormone rooting powder and planted five to a 9 cm pot. These are indoors on the windowsill in a polythene bag basking in the warm sun and when they’ve rooted they’ll be put into individual pots.

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A large bag of sowing and potting compost bought from a DIY store when shopping for other stuff seemed like a bargain. But when opened it felt too fibrous and coarse for seed sowing although good for using in pots for bulbs, shrubs and climbers. However I used it for peas sown last week and they are emerging unscathed.  So it may be too heavy for fine seeds but it’s perfect for fatter ones such as beetroot, beans, nasturtiums, cerinthe, chard and peas. And lots of the major supermarkets are selling a refined seed sowing compost for as little as £1 for 20 L which is a size easy to carry. These are good value as the larger well-known makes, available in back breaking 60 L bags, can cost up to £5 or so.  I am experimenting with an Aldi one for fine seed sowing and it’s a great quality and cost £1.50 for 20 L.

I’m loving the tones of these green-yellow daffodil flowers which reflect the opaque yellow glass of the vases…DSCN6292

 

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2016 10:42 am

    Seed sowing compost doesn’t seem to exist here at all; I don’t think many people grow from seed although that can’t be completely true as I do find all kinds of vegetable seeds in the shops. I love using coconut fibre which Ikea sells in compressed blocks to which you just add water I find it encourages a very good root system but it is best if mixed with a little other compost and vermiculite.

  2. March 17, 2016 11:46 am

    Yes I’ve used those compressed blocks in the past. I’m finding that the warmth and light from the sun is the fastest way to germination almost whatever medium I sow in. Nature responds faster it seems even than the heated propagator.

  3. March 17, 2016 11:53 am

    Coir is a good idea, how useful to know IKEA sold the easy sow pellets. Vermiculite or fine horticultural grit work for most grass seeds – builders merchants can supply in bulk at a lower cost. Your vases set off the colour in the daffodils beautifully.

  4. March 17, 2016 11:59 am

    Yes I am so pleased with those odd little vases.

  5. March 17, 2016 3:00 pm

    (Please do delete this reply to your comment on the poem). Sorry, the page was deleted in the muddle, now somewhere in the ether. Glad you liked the McKee – from Wisps of Tussocks c.1900 – and thank you for gong to the trouble of replying.

  6. March 17, 2016 4:22 pm

    No problem and yes the mysteries of the world wide web.

  7. March 18, 2016 5:38 pm

    Interesting analysis of the supermarket composts. Do they contain peat? I must seek out those compressed blocks of coir …. they worked brilliantly when I used them a couple of years ago, but I haven’t noticed them since. Your vases are lovely and work brilliantly with your material.

  8. March 19, 2016 9:01 am

    They seem not to contain peat-well nothing on the packaging so I’m sure they are peat-free. Glad you like the new lemon vases.

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