You might remember me planting carrots a few weeks ago? I used some snotty looking gel to try and speed up the process somewhat, so I thought I would report back on how that had worked out…
Well, both the kitchen-roll method and the gel method worked wonderfully and both patches of carrots sprouted at the same time! The big difference is that it took three weeks of patience for the kitchen-roll carrots, whilst the gel seeds took fewer than 7 days to germinate. The gel and soaking really does speed things up…
That said, I think that I possibly suspended too high a concentration of carrot seeds in the gel. The little seedlings poking up are still very tightly packed.
You can just about see the little green shoots amongst the onions in the picture above.
The point of the gel method was to speed up the rate of germination, and to avoid wasting the tiny, precious seeds by planting them all and then needing to thin them out. I think if I had used more gel/fewer seeds and planted over a larger area then I would have had a lot more success with the planting.
In contrast, the picture above is the little seedlings, happily spaced from having been carefully laid out on kitchen roll. A slower start, sure, but one which results in a lot less wastage.
The gel method did nothing for the root parsley, incidentally. It’s either not going to make an appearance, or it is taking far longer than anticipated.
Behind the kitchen-roll carrots, you can see some giant daikon radishes – something that a lot of our cookery books call for but which you can’t readily buy in rural Aberdeenshire (a region once described to me as, ‘the place good food goes to die slowly’.) Behind that, you can just about make out some wisps of fennel, whilst garlic and chives are hiding towards the back. To the right, you can see the ghost of a courgette plant, stunted by some mid-May snow! We’d been gifted the seeds at Christmas as we had expected to have a greenhouse by now, but as we haven’t had any luck in sourcing one, the courgettes were a gamble for the cold, northern soil that doesn’t seem to have paid off.
The back garden is looking increasingly green, at long last. And true to form, the plants seem to have finally realised that we’ve entered spring and are merrily growing now. Lettuces and radishes make up the first half of the closest raised bed…
Onions and carrots are next in line, then potatoes and tentative celery…
And finally there are the peas and basiccas, asparagus and beetroot.
I don’t know how all of this will work out – whether we’ll get anything worth eating, but it has been an absolute joy to watch all of these things grow and flourish, despite the strange weather.
The mystery trees from Freecycle have all grown their seasonal foliage now – all are rowan, except for the beech and holly. The holly doesn’t seem to be doing particularly well, though, and will perhaps end up being replaced by a second rosemary bush, the first having been planted a little further back in the same row.
At the front of the property, we’ve let the grass grow long – better for pollinators and small children.
The enormous branch was gifted by the farm as firewood, but the children love playing on it so much that we haven’t cut it up yet. You can also see the den they made, and the log planter in the foreground.
The herbs and flowers in the planters are growing well. I know that I’ll have to move a lot of the plants as they grow and take up increasing aounts of space, but for now, they all fit in nicely.
This is the second planter – it contains parsley and chervil, and some edible flowers from a selection of seeds we got for Christmas.
I’m also trying to reduce the number of weeds that I can’t use, by introducing weeds that I can. In the pot with the rose above, I’ve scattered camomile seeds…
And though my tea plant didn’t make it through the winter, the rocket I scattered at the base seems to be doing well.
in the back garden, up by the apple tree, there is a stump from a sycamore which had succumb to the giant polypore fungus. Too large to move, we decided to make a feature of it. If all goes to plan, these little bean plants will climb up the sides to the netting and create a lovely little leafy den on top of the stump – a perfect spot for summer reading!
We tend to be a little late to the party in Scotland, but here are some of the beautiful flowers, finally making an appearance as we march towards June…
Did you plant anything this year? How are you getting on with it? I bet your veg is further along than mine!