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Post  plantoid on 2/14/2012, 4:11 pm

Mid February and only just now do I have all, well almost all my seeds for the year.
Yesterday I found that my leek seeds were well past the sell by date by two & a half years according to the details on the packet. They have been kept in air tight storage in a small lab sample bottle.
They’ve managed to give me a few decent leeks up to March last year when I had to wreck the vegetable plot because of a major landscaping/garden re planning exercise. At four years old I felt it was time to retire them .

Which really brings me to the meat of this script.
If you haven’t got your seeds for this year your leaving it rather late.
Here in South Wales ( to the left of Swansea ) we have passed the traditional bad weather period end date which for us is Valentines day . We tend to get another blast of bad weather around St David’s day just so we don’t feel left out of things Welsh & religious ( I’m a Yorkshire man , body & soul with more than just a dash of Viking blood in my veins )

The month of March is the crazy month when all hell lets loose in nature which to us usually means weeds , seeds , slugs , thieving birds & rain plus more rain .
I had a quick peek on all five pages of my garden planner sheets , at a quick guess-i-mate, I’ve over 100 things that can be planted or sown in the vegetable gardens or the flower gardens . Ok so I know this year will be a heavy one due to the resetting up of things but I took me by surprise when I checked it out. Putting aside all the flower seeds, bulbs, corms & tubers I still have thirty or more veg seeds to play with .

I’ve struggled to get all the soil areas dug and heavily manured so as to let the early February frosts get into them . The 20 ANSFG’s 900 x900 x 900 high raised beds fared much better than flat earth old garden areas , the old soil filled SFG’s didn’t do as well as the 10 ANSFG’s that have at least 18 inches of Mel’s Mix in them .
The MM beds froze down to a good 8 inches ( 200 mm ) deep once the frost got a decent hold and were the first to thaw out . The lawn areas froze to 4 inches ( 100 mm ) deep & took another 48 hrs to thaw , the soil filled SF beds took just a tad longer. So my vote is definitely for MM in my all my SF beds.

All the empty MM SFG beds have been ,“ irritated “ with my Kiddies sand spade ( fixed on an old sea fish rod butt ) I didn’t find a single weed root that had possibly been lurking in the beds 18 inches of MM till it got warmer.
The 8 beds that are on the front aspect of the property have had a stack of primroses, polyanthus , bulbs and some Dicentra put in them over this last week or so .

It’s amazing how just after a week tiny shoots are peeking through from the bulbs , the flowering potted plants have taken a hold out of the main root ball that they were in & the Dicentra are easing their lemon yellow /green shoots out up through the 25 mm layer of peat I put over them
The MM in these front beds is 1.3 C warmer than any of the beds in the rear gardens ( they get full sun every day it is sunny )

Tomorrow I hope to fumigate the glass house after giving things a “ Jayes Fluid “ garden disinfectant wash down . By the week end I hope to have the first few greens sown in vermiculite inn the green house on the heated preopagation bed setup for transplanting in to the by then fully completed ANSFG beds at the beginning of March as I’m desperate to have my own veg again.. this supermarket stuff we’re on at present is only fit for the compost pile .

This Saturday I’m taking delivery of another 2 ton truck load of 30 yr old leaf mould to replace the soil in the ten remaining back garden soil filled beds with 18 inches ( 400 mm ) of homemade MM.
The one foot squares ( 300 x 300 mm ) are delineated using a cheap reel of net curtain plastic covered wire , pegging it down with some modified homemade 9 inch ( 225 mm ) seed labels ,it does look like a donkeys hind leg as the spring in the wires tends not to lay truly straight unless pulled taut but it is easy enough to slip one of my profile squares in the right place and either mark or sow down the hole as needed . I have to do all this faffing around as I have diabetes and have lost sensitivity in my finger tips ... I’m using a metal tea spoon to sow a seed at a time or sliding a seed around on a plastic profile to a predetermined hole as it’s far easier than trying to pick up a single seed and drop it in the appropriate position.

I’ve decided to cut up a load more 9 inch long white labels from somer “ Ogee “ guttering on my band saw and make several hundred more long labels so I can mark each square with it’s contents using a Chinagraph pencil on those long labels . I did this a couple of years ago , the Chinagraph stayed on even when facing bright sun for two years , the plastic guttering has a very good anti UV property ..it’s still pliable and white.

Don’t forget the carrot growing competition in the main threads .... Using only Nantee’s carrot seeds in Mel’s Mix for longest and/or ugliest carrot ... you need to get the bed/beds prepared very soon and let it/ them settle a couple of weeks before sowing.
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