Potting On Tomato Seedlings

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I spent a little time yesterday afternoon potting on my tomato seedlings. They’ve reached the point where they now have a good set of “true leaves” and are ready to be moved on.

[A quick aside. “True” leaves are the first leaves on a seedling that actually look like those on the adult plant, and not the “seed” leaves that are the first to appear. Potting on seedlings before they have their true leaves can mean that the seedlings won’t survive the transplanting, and it is more likely that you’ll damage the seedling moving it to it’s new home. I’ve seen a few pictures in the last few days where a keen gardener has potted on a seedling without true leaves. They might be lucky, but the seedlings stand a better chance with the patient gardener.]

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I start by getting the new modules ready, filling them with good quality, multi-purpose compost. I know roughly how many seedlings there are, barring clumsy fingers, so I prepare all my modules beforehand.

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Next I prepare a hole for each new seedling. One per module using my handy dibber pencil.

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Then carefully I tease them out of their current home with the tip of the same pencil, being careful to keep as much of the seedlings root as possible. Being gentle and not yanking them out of the soil, will reduce any transplant shock and help them to establish in their new modules faster. Also handle them by the leaves and not the stem. Picking them up by the stem, can break the stem and you’ll loose the seedling. It seems a little
counter-intuitive but it works.

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When I’m done, I move the module trays into gravel trays to help with watering, and give the seedlings a little drink around the top of the compost. Again being careful not to drown the seedlings and squash them under a deluge of water.

These now go back indoors to a warm and sunny spot e.g. a windowsill. They’re not ready to plant out yet, it’s too cold and they’re not big enough. I’ll probably pot them on again once more, before putting them in their final growing spot, once they have their first flowering truss.

Planting and Harvesting on the Allotment

 

2016-05-28 08.55.40The allotment feels like it’s reached that point in the year where there is going to be a regular supply of veg coming from it. I walked around this morning, and was surprised to see just how much things have grown in just a couple of days. Leeks that were just looking like blades of grass a day or so ago are now looking more like stout reeds, and the runner beans have now all germinated (or at least there is one plant beneath each cane). I decided that I was going to plant out my pumpkins and the remaining cucumbers, as well as some courgettes. They need to go out, they’ve exhausted the compost that they were sown in, and are big plants, but the leaves are yellowing, so they need more nutrients. I gave them a liquid feed last night, but the weather forecast for the next week or so, is for double figure nighttime temperatures, so I’m going to risk it. I’ve kept some of the courgettes back just in case, and the pumpkins have gone in relatively sheltered spots, so I think they’ll be okay.

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I’ve also harvested the first broad beans of this year. There were absolutely loads of pods, and I’ve picked enough for a meal tonight, and I’ll get some more later in the week. These are the ones that were sown last autumn, and I didn’t think were going to amount to much, but oh how they’ve proved me wrong! There are lots of pods, and the ones sown a few weeks ago to fill some of the gaps are coming along too. Hopefully they’ll be well spread out, but if I get a glut, then I’ll freeze as many as I can.

As I’d planted so many plants I also got the hose out of storage and laid it out. I used it to water the plants that I’d put in, and gave the rest of the plot a good watering. It will stay out now until the winter. I’m always a little worried that it is something that could easily be stolen, but in the eight years that I’ve had the plot it’s been left alone, and hopefully will be again this year.

With everything looking so good at the moment, I’m really enjoying my growing year again this year. Sure it’s hard work, but I love being able to feed myself and my family.

If you’re in the UK and have a long weekend this weekend or are off for the half-term school holiday next week, why not get out in your own garden and sow some seeds?