As the Met Office predicted, the cold snap arrived. I prepared as best I could and kept the fire in all night so we awoke to a warm house. The snow came down in the early hours of Thursday but not too heavily. It warmed a bit and rained in the afternoon washing the snow away. Friday the snow was much heavier in the night and still falling in the morning. Strangely the afternoon was lovely and bright with sunshine melting much of the snow away.
In the potting shed the propagators kept the chitting potatoes from frosting and the seeds germinating.
Cabbage Earliest of All
I sowed some cabbage, Earliest of All. It’s a heritage, open-pollinated, summer ballhead. First referenced in 1927 as being a Danish cabbage, it was said to be the most popular home-grown cabbage in Britain in the 1950s.
Unlike expensive F1 varieties, the packet of Earliest of All contains 3200 seeds. That’s what it says but I’m not counting them. At just 70% germination, that’s enough cabbages to fill a field!
So, I prepared some multi-purpose compost by adding some perlite and a little lime. Filled a half seed tray, watered thoroughly and then sprinkled seeds over, covering with fine vermiculite.
I’ll prick out and pot on what I want, the rest can grow on in the tray as a treat for the hens who are still in avian flu lockdown.
Germination / Seedling Emergence
I had an email pulling me up about referring to germination when I should have said seedling emergence. I know they are different things but people know what I mean by germination and I’m not looking to write a scientific paper.
The propagator must have held temperature well despite the cold snap. Most of the brassicas have shown and some of the tomatoes as well. I’ll leave them as they are for a few more days to develop which will make it easier to move them on. Most of the brassicas moved to the Geopod with a minimum temperature of 10ºC. First step to the cold big world.
The Hispi cabbage isn’t showing at all. If nothing happens in another week, I’ll accept the seeds are just too old and throw the remaining packets away.
Some of the lettuce and chard are showing but no signs from the parsley. The ideal germination temperature for parsley is 27ºC so 23ºC is a little low and I expect they’ll show by the end of next week.
Set up the grow lights on the Vitopod and Geopod to give the seedlings a boost and hopefully avoid them being too drawn. The fluorescent lights aren’t expensive to run. Their electricity use is compensated by the reduction in electricity used in the propagator. The lights produce heat.
LED lights use less electrical energy per unit of light energy output but run cold so the propagators would still need to heat up. In warm weather this can be a problem causing overheating but not in the cold weather we’re enjoying.
The lights are set to come on at 7:00 am and run through to 7:00 pm. They have a couple of hours off between noon and 2 pm when the ambient light is brightest in the shed.