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Seed raising

Posted by Guy Barter on 19 Mar 2009 at 11:56 AM

Seeds sown in the heated propagator are germinating freely now.  As the propagator lid cuts out a lot of light the plants are whisked out of the propagator and stood out on in bright cool place. My way of growing brassicas for next winter is to germinate them in pots of 50:50 vermiculite and multipupose potting media and priick out one seedling per 7cm pot of multipurpose potting media as soon as the seedlings can be handled. I like a coldframe for the growing on as this is very bright but cool giving sturdy plants in time to set out in June. At the moment I have sown: 

  • Brussels sprouts, ‘Maximus’, ‘Diablo’ and ‘Revenge’ for early, Christmas and late respectively
  • Calabrese ‘Fiesta’ for summer cropping
  • Cabbage ‘Hispi’ for summer
  • Cauliflower ‘Clapham’ for summer – it is clubroot resistant


 As these come out of the propagator the red and white storing cabbages and go in – the idea is to grow enormous heads that will store well next winter.  It is so convenient to have these hanging in the garage ready for a quick winter salad or casserole. As well as brassicas, the propagator is filled with: 

  • Celery ‘Loretta’ – my plants were a bit weak last year and were supplemented with a bought plants of Lathom Self Blanching, a lesser cultivar that performed very poorly
  • Celeriac ‘Prinz’ – agin my own plants were weak, but here bought plants of ‘Alabaster’ did as well as my own last year
  • Lettuce ‘Lobjoits Green Cos’ - pelleted seeds easily sown in a module tray.  I much prefer to sow lettuce to grow  in situ, but this pelleted seed is tad expensive to sow outdoors until April
  • Leek ‘Roxton’ – this is an early cultivar for use from September – a module tray of 20 plants will meet my modest needs for early leeks
  • Outdoor tomatoes: ‘Ferline’ –blight tolerant and delicious beefsteak, ‘Black Russian’ – highly susceptible to blight but even more delicious than Ferline, ‘Olivade’ – plum shaped and ‘Sub Arctic Plenty’ – very early bush for growing under cloches
  • Aubergine ‘ Moneymaker’ – Nothing else grows so well without heating as this cultivar
  • Sweet Pepper ‘Redskin’ – this dwarf, but tasty, patio cultivar is ideal as cloche crop to supplement the greenhouse ones form September to November.


 So much valuable seed is protected by treating with copper fungicide (Cheshunt Compound) after sowing to control fungal seedling pathogens.   

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