Chitting Sweetcorn, Greenhouse Vent and Howard Dragon

Despite the rest of the country enjoying a wonderful sunny Easter Monday, in Crewe it decided to drizzle on and off. Typical!!

Chitted SweetcornChitting Sweetcorn

On Friday I started chitting my sweetcorn and today most of them had started to sprout so placed them in 3″ pots. At least the shed was dry. I’ve tried various methods in the past including sowing in toilet roll inners, which was a bit of a failure for me, so I’ll stick with what I know works for me. The photo is of the chitted seeds so you can see the little roots that have already started.

Couple of tips:

  • When poking holes into compost, use your first finger as the dibber and bend your thumb onto your finger to give a consistent depth gauge.
  • The seeds have come from a warm kitchen and are going into cold compost so rather than water them in with cold water, I add some hot to make the water room temperature and to warm up the compost. (not hot, of course)

Greenhouse Auto VentGreenhouse Auto-Vent

Down to the plot where I fitted some automatic window openers into the greenhouses.

A greenhouse is wonderful but the temperature can easily shoot up and cook your plants. Sometimes this can happen before you even get out of bed so an automatic window opener is a great safeguard.

I purchased three of these from TwoWests – Bayliss XL Autovent – and they were really easy to fit, despite me being pretty hopeless at practical stuff! In fact the first five minute job I’ve tackled in ages that took five minutes.

Sowing Peas

One thing I’ve never done too well with is peas. If the mice don’t eat the seeds and the slugs don’t eat the seedlings then the pea moth lays its eggs and it’s larvae goes and eats the peas! But we like peas so if at first..

This time I’ve decided to try starting a row in a piece of guttering in the greenhouse. The idea is that they get off to a good start and then you draw a trench and just slide the contents of the guttering into it. The roots from the pea seedlings hold the compost in the gutter together.

Variety Early Onward, fingers well and truly crossed.

Howard Dragon Rotovator

It’s funny on an allotment site. Turn up in a brand new Mercedes (I wish!) and you’ll get maybe a passing glance but bring out a rotovator and an admiring crowd will gather in short order!

Dave has the top corner plot furthest from the gate but his Howard Dragon has drive wheels and it’s more a walk-behind tractor than a rotovator. He told me it had got soaked over the winter due to a leaky roof and wouldn’t start so he pressed his wife’s hair dryer into action and away it went.

So this photo is for Muntjac, Shaun, GWiz, BigBadFrankie and roto-philes everywhere!

Howard Dragon Rotovator

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
8 comments on “Chitting Sweetcorn, Greenhouse Vent and Howard Dragon
  1. Matt Collins says:

    I’m trying to do my own bit of gardening and bought a rotavator like yours Howard Dragon Rotavator but the gearbox is damaged, would you know anybody that might have parts.Your help would be greatly appreicated.
    Thanks and Best Regards

  2. John says:

    Hello Matt
    I’m afraid I don’t know – I suppose it would depend on where you lived for starters.
    Your best bet would be to go to the allotment chat forums (follow the chat link on the top menu) and ask on there.
    We’ve loads of members who are really into rotovators and I’m sure they’ll be able to point you in the right direction

  3. jack turner says:

    I have the tractor part of a howard dragon with the p.t.o but no drive shaft or the rotavator bit the tracto part works well , i use it with a small plough on.

    jack turner Beverley east yorkshire.

  4. Matt says:

    Hello Jack,
    Didn’t see your mail untill today, would you be interested in selling your tractor part of your howard dragon. If so you can contact me through my email address.
    Best Regards

  5. Monica McKinnell says:

    Just wondering, how exactly do you ‘chit’ sweetcorn seeds?
    Thanks Monica

  6. John says:

    Hi Monica – there’s a bit of an explanation here Chitting Sweetcorn

  7. frank says:

    i tried chitting sweet corn for the first time after reading about chitting on this site and to my astonisment over night small shoots have appeared on every seed i placed into the tissue lined containers thank you very much for this usefull tip

  8. pat o leary says:

    Hi i have a howard dragon rotovator and would like to see what the plough attachment looks like . Anyway you could e mail a picture
    Pat o Leary kerry rep of ireland

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