Potato Planting Delay, Germination So Far

Once again my plan to start planting potatoes on St Patrick’s day hasn’t worked out. There’s been some dry days but the ground is so wet that working it isn’t sensible. The traditional Irish planting day makes more sense for us – when possible – than going for a later Easter planting because our climate is nearer to Ireland than England.

Still, I’ve got some planted in the polytunnel that should produce enough to carry us through. We’ve still got maincrops in store that are in good condition as well.

Sorted the big chest freezer the other day and our frozen veg stocks are going down but it looks like we’ll be OK. They only vegetables we consistently have to buy are peas and onions. The reason is that peas are time consuming to pod and we don’t do enough. Onions we grow enough of but lose a lot due to the humidity here causing them to rot. Frustrating when a lovely looking onion turns out to be squishy and rotting.

Back in the Potting Shed

Vitopod with Growlights

Vitopod with Growlights

Checking the seeds sown last week, some had germinated and were emerging from the compost, others are yet to show and I wonder if they will. Remember most of the seeds were from previous years and technically some were well out of time.

The broad beans have not emerged yet but I’m not expecting to see them appear for another week. Really I should have soaked them in some lukewarm water for a few hours before sowing as that kick-starts the germination. I’ve had broad beans come up in 3 days that way.

I want to use the grow lights on the other seedlings so moved the beans over into the Eden greenhouse on the bench. They’ll still be faster than directly sowing outdoors and losses due to rot and pests will be eliminated. The grow lights have been set to come on at dawn and run half hour on, half hour off. This is to avoid overheating below. Because the potting shed windows look to the west, I want to boost the morning light, so the lighting is off from 1pm


Brassica Seedlings in pots Emerging from Vermiculite

Brassica Seedlings in pots Emerging from Vermiculite

In theory, all the brassicas should be showing pretty much at the same time although I expect some of the older seed will be slower.
The sprouts haven’t shown at all yet which is worrying but if they fail, I’ve still time to get more seeds.

Cabbage Earliest of All are showing well. Difficult to judge but at least half have emerged already. By contrast, none of the Hispi are showing. I suspect those seeds are just too old and the germination rate is minimal to zero. None of the Greyhound have shown either – still it’s early days.
By contrast, the cabbage Red Acre look as if they’ve got 100% germination. They’re crowding the pot already! I’ll let them grow on for a bit to be easier to handle for pricking out.

The cauliflower All Year Round are just pushing the surface but the cauliflower Skywalker appears to be near 100% properly up already. Calabrese (heading broccoli) Green Magic looks to be just starting to emerge.

Any of the brassicas that haven’t shown by next weekend will be fails, I think.


The Partner Gherkin seeds have done well. I sowed my remaining 6 seeds, 2 per pot. 4 have come up although one looks a little odd. I was only looking for 2 plants so no problem.


Tomato and Cucumber Seedlings

Tomato and Cucumber Seedlings in Vitopod

Sungold, Crimson Crush and Black Cherry are up. The Black Cherry are the oldest of the tomato seeds so I expected failure but appear to have very good germination. The Crimson Blush has one seedling well up and another just pushing out. The one I want the most plants from is the Crimson Plum and the germination is looking very poor at the moment. I’ve another packet so if no more show in the next few days I’ll sow those and hope.


My Black Seeded Simpson lettuce appear to have all germinated. They need reducing to one per cell asap but the Little Gem and All Year Round don’t seem to be playing.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
2 comments on “Potato Planting Delay, Germination So Far
  1. Anne Love says:

    I germinated my tomato seeds for greenhouse growing in my propagator a few weeks ago and then transferred them to the heated mat in the greenhouse but it’s been so grey and sunless that they have stalled and are taking ages to produce their second leaves. You don’t say where yours are growing on, still under the lights in the probagator or out on the bench?

    It’s a tough spring

    • John Harrison says:

      I’ll keep my tomatoes under supplementary lights until they go out. Tough spring following a wet wet winter, wet wet autumn. Such is gardening.

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