Seed update February 2016

It’s been quite a busy month and so far I’ve been managed to plant shallots, garlic and sown broad beans, brussels sprouts, leeks, lettuces and peas.

Since then, however, I have been battling some pests as my seedlings did get eaten by a little mouse.  I can’t blame the little blighters as the weather has been frosty at this time of year.  However, this does mean that I’ve had to resow the broad beans and the peas about three times and I’ve had to put together a better coldframe.

I’ve also had to contend with birds pulling out the shallots from the ground.  I’ve read a number of reasons as to why birds pull at bulbs, from thinking that the heads of the shallots are worms to them thinking that the tips of the onions are ideal nest-making materials.  Needless to say, this has stunted progress!

Because of the delays, I was hoping to show off tiny green shoots, however, the only thing I have to show are a few tiny wisps.

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Sowing Leeks: De Carentan 2

In the spirit of getting a head start on things and trying to make sense of this weather, I’ve decided to sow some leeks. The variety I’ve chosen is called De Carentan 2, which is a variety said to be ideal for novice gardeners.

De Carentan 2 is very old, French variety of leek and they date back as far as 1885. You can sow leek De Carentan 2 indoors from January, but the minimum temperature for germination is around 10 degrees.

Annoyingly, temperatures plummetted to -2 a week after I sowed these seeds, so I’m hoping this doesn’t cause too many complications – if it does, I can sow the seeds straight outdoors in March.

To make the most of the space that I have available, I have chosen to sow the seeds in a seed tray of around 85 cells or so. I managed to grab these trays when I noticed my local garden centre throwing them out.

I’ve also searched high and low on the internet to see if you’re able to buy something similar online and the closest seed tray I’ve found is this product available to buy on www.groworganic.com.

I just hope it doesn’t break during the delivery!

Leek De Carentan 2

Once these leeks have reached the size of a pencil (roughly) and assuming the temperatures are accommodating, I’ll look to transplant the seedlings outdoors.

These leeks can be used in a variety of dishes and are said to be a good, all round staple for the kitchen.

Like any other seed tray, I first filled each cell with multi-purpose compost. Because there are so many cells to fill, I then watered the tray to get everything even and to make sure that the second layer of compost on top didn’t brush off the seeds from each cell.

Leek seeds are quite fine, so I won’t be surprised if one or two cells end up growing three or four seedlings or so (assuming they germinate at all!).

leek de carentan 2 seedlings

I can almost smell the leek and potato soup….