Absolutely Potty!

small seedlings in pots

While we waited for the weather to clear up we decided to give some of our plants a head start inside. What started off as a few chilli and pepper seeds germinating on the kitchen table soon became too many trays of baby plants to fit on the available surfaces. It was time to harden them up.

The trays were moved outside into our (unheated) greenhouse, but we had to do it gradually, giving them time to adapt so they didn’t go into shock. For the first few days they went out there on warmer days, then outside all day and inside at night, then finally they were outside. Table space for breakfast at last! Just in time for us to plant the tomatoes and aubergines inside, and start the whole process all over again.

A week or two after our initial few trays and some of our crops have needed potting on or thinning out. In the greenhouse we currently have trays of numerous varieties of chillies, peppers, courgettes and tomatoes, and a few trays of aubergine and purple sprouting broccoli, and the courgettes have really gone on a growth spurt! Moving the plants to slightly larger pots lets their roots get more nutrients but it’s important not to put it in too big a pot, as the plant will spend all its energy making roots rather than leaves and flowers.

courgette leaf stage
Courgette plants ready for potting on, having reached their ‘two leaf’ stage.

To keep our seedlings happy and slug free, without the use of nasty pesticides and fertilizers, we have concocted a blend of eggshells and coffee grinds which we spread liberally on the soil around our seedlings’ stems. The coffee is especially good for the seedlings’ soil as it has lots of nutrients and the sharp edges of the ground up shells deter slugs from making the effort to cross it. So far its working well but only time will tell. Thanks to our chickens we have no shortage of eggshells as we are up to 3 eggs a day now!

seedling and eggshell
Combine all those seedling pots with a few varieties of bee friendly flower seeds I’m getting going for the garden and it is getting crowded in there!

Seedlings in greenhouse

Now how’s that poly-tunnnel getting on……..

Pippa and Theo


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