Monday, 5 February 2018

Queen of the Seasons

February is the month for spending more time than is socially acceptable with my ever-expanding collection of seed packets. How I dream of releasing these little powerhouses of hope from their envelopes so that they can snuggle up in my propagator under a soft duvet of warm compost, but as I gaze upon their loveliness, I remind myself that too much, too soon will result in skinny, leggy plants and a seedling housing crisis. 
When Frustrating February gives way to Sowathon Spring, we discover if we have been over-exuberant in our seed purchasing (of course I have). I divide my seed packets into the months during which I plan to sow. If I’m honest, it is just another ploy to spend more time with the darlings, but it also gives me the opportunity to assess how cramped my office will be in April, and how little light I can expect to receive at my desk in early May when I crowbar yet another tray of plants into an already overcrowded space because the soil and the weather aren’t ready for them.
If I were Queen of the Seasons, I would declare that late summer is the time for pricking out seedlings. In spring, we are so busy waging war on weeds that pricking out can easily be overlooked. If only seedlings could adjust to our requirements, we could prick them out at our leisure in August when the sun is shining and the garden is under control. Sadly I am not Queen of the Seasons, so seedlings continue to scream to be pricked out just when our hands are at their coldest, our dexterity is through the floor, and we are being pulled in a gazillion other gardening directions.
Hardening off plants is a joyful task. Carrying them hither and thither, morning and night, is a wonderful way of upping my step count, which in turn makes me feel marvellously virtuous and deserving of another bowl of strawberries and cream. Around this time I invariably find myself with an aphid infestation in the office. It helps that the plants have barred any access to the windows, thereby ensuring that no cleaning is possible so that the spiders are at liberty to enjoy aphidfest in their cobwebs. Visitors are frequently alarmed at the quantity of wildlife in there (best not to mention the year of the office slugs and the convalescing chicken).
If you have stuck with this post thus far, you may have quite rightly gathered that I am struggling with the concept of not sowing. It’s an annual battle. This year, to offset my frustration, I have sown more sweet peas than I know what to do with. They are now clogging up my cold frames and causing me a headache as I meander around the farm looking for frameworks for them to scramble up. I am considering commandeering the kids’ swings for a sweet pea tunnel, or perhaps popping some string around the wheelie bins and masking any unpleasant smells with scented flowers.

There is much to look forward to this summer. It will be fragrant, and filled with aubergines and hyssop. An unlikely combination, but I may have accidentally sown quite a lot of them when they leapt unbidden from the seed tin and made themselves at home in some lovely warm compost. Clever things.... seeds.

19 comments:

  1. Ha! I too have accumulated many more seeds than I have places to sow them. In my climate (especially with the very warm start to this year), many seeds can be sown directly outside and, lazy gardener that I can be, I direct seed almost everything now. My current problem is that the sunflowers and zinnias are in a holding pattern until the sweet peas, snapdragons and foxgloves lease out space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An embarrassment of riches... and one I would love! The very notion of a sunflower in a holding pattern in February is a wondrous thing!

      Delete
  2. Ah, Sarah, I love when January has passed, the days already getting longer. I also now have an office capable of nursing our little treasures. Like you, I cant wait until I get stuck in with the propagating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems like an eternal wait. I look forward to seeing the beautiful plants you raise in your office nursery.

      Delete
  3. Do not resist indeed, all part of the fun even if it doesn’t always make sense :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am afraid that I have no self control....

      Delete
  4. Nothing sown here no even sweet peas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you! You are more virtuous than I will ever be *hangs head in shame*

      Delete
  5. I have bought some lovely sweet peas at Hampton Court Flower Show. I am looking forward to sow them. And like you, my greenhouse will be packed with seedlings! Groetjes Hetty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really look forward to seeing those! I didn't know you were at Hampton Court. Are you going to any shows this year?

      Delete
  6. It is a common complaint, many gardeners get infected with early sowing syndrome!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is so hard to hold off! I try to spend lots and lots of time picking out my seed varieties before ordering, as spring sowing season is still a month away here...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ha! As long as you can joke about it, you haven't planted too many seeds. I say give in to your magnificent obsession

    ReplyDelete
  9. You wrote about them in such an interesting way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have beautifully captured my feelings. Oh! all your extra plants -- you can just post them to me :-P...come on! seeds and plants also desire to visit other countries and places. Free spirit is in every living being.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There's too little time and not enough plants. Sow away and enjoy. Your extra plants can be gifts to your friends. They'll love it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love that you have so much wildlife in the house. I would have no problems keeping company with chickens in my tiny home office. Maybe you need some indoor grow lights! That helps me with my seed sowing addiction.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello Sarah, I've had to be very strict about not sowing seeds. I don't have any new borders ready for them to be planted in yet given the clearing work from last year. We do have seedlings that are from last year though, and they're safely tucked in the greenhouse and there are reasonable/manageable numbers of them, thankfully!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very nice post really ! I apperciate your blog Thanks for sharing,keep sharing more blogs.

    หนังออนไลน์

    ReplyDelete