On Sunday, I decided that it was time to start off some of my seeds in my little electric propagator. I got this propagator last year from our local Freecycle along with loads of plant pots, too many for me ever to use and I ended up Freecycling a lot of them myself. Freecycle is a great idea and most areas have a scheme going. The idea is that if you have something you no longer need, you post on the Freecycle site and if anyone wants it, they contact you and you can then arrange to give it to them. Similarly, if you are in need of something, (say a small electric propagator) you can post a wanted message and if anyone has one they no longer need or use, they can contact you to arrange to hand it over.
Anyhow, I digress. So, on Sunday afternoon I cleaned up the propagator which has been lurking in the shed for the past year, plugged it in to warm up and then set about filling twelve little pots with seed compost and planting my first seeds of the year. Four each of Miniature White Cucumbers, first one on this page http://www.realseeds.co.uk/cucumbers.html, Latah tomatoes, 2nd one down on this page http://www.realseeds.co.uk/tomatoes.html and Kaibi Round sweet peppers, 2nd one down on this page http://www.realseeds.co.uk/sweetpeppers.html. I attempted to grow all of these last year, the tomatoes were a success and fruited right up to December! The cucumbers were a partial disaster/partial success in that I put them out too early and we had some really severe rain and wind and they got battered to death. I then planted another seed and it germinated and grew really well, lovely pretty yellow flowers and simply delicious cucumbers but then I went on holiday and left my 17 year old son in charge of watering them...yep you guessed it, poor thing, along with the tomatoes was almost dead when I got home a week later although after copious watering, the tomatoes survived, the cucumber alas went off to that great greenhouse in the sky. The peppers just didn't amount to anything and never flowered or fruited so I think I didn't start them off early enough and hope I've rectified that this year. It was my first attempt at container growing last year though and I'm naturally hoping for better results this year.
I stumbled across The Real Seed Catalogue whilst searching for organic seeds on t'interweb last year and was impressed by their ideas and ethics. They encourage their customers to learn how to collect seeds from their own plants and produce a free leaflet how how to do just that, which would seem as though they are doing themselves out of business but they appear to be really passionate about what they do and about growing real vegetables rather than the hybrids we get so much of nowadays. If you are interested in growing your own veg from seed, don't go to B&Q for packets of seeds, read about these people here http://www.realseeds.co.uk/about.html and have a browse through the website. I can honestly say that the tomatoes I grew last year were quite simply the most tasty and firm tomatoes I have ever had and I can't wait to be eating them again this year. Bye Bye supermarket tomatoes for the summer (and beyond if last years crop is anything to go by)
Two days after sowing and my cucumber seeds are sprouting already! I'm simply astounded at how quickly they have germinated. I love growing from seed, it never ceases to amaze me how miraculous it all is. A tiny dried seed has all that creation inside it. I love how the tiny plant breaks out of the seed case, it peeps up from the compost, doubled over like a little hook and gradually straightens, strengthens and grows, producing flowers and fruit, which then seed and the whole process starts again. Amazing! I feel like a new mummy watching my babies grow. I'll keep you well posted on progress.