Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Boot camp for seedlings

Be a strict parent with your seed trays.  No lounging about in a nice warm propagator allowed.  As soon as you see the first signs of germination, get medieval and boot the spindly whizzers out into the light and cool.

Being nice to them only makes them spoilt.  And when they're spoilt, they just flop over, go limp and generally act pathetic. Damping off - pah! Where's your stiff upper leaf?  A life spent in the bracing environment beyond the propagator is character building and helps to stiffen the stem.

Maybe we can't boot babies into the great outdoors just yet, but my snapdragons have bucked up no end since they were forced to leave home and set up camp in the unheated greenhouse.  More natural light, better ventilation and tough love are good for them.

Dahlias are having their first dose of outside conditions today.  They'll be allowed to sleep in the greenhouse but its time their leaves started to stop being so green and sappy.  Come on, show some spine and build your defences against slugs you 'orrible little plants.

Mind you, I still relent at night and tuck them up under a blanket of horticultural fleece so they don't catch fright and a cold.  I'm a softie at heart.  Except for with slugs:  I'm off to go and stomp on them.


  1. Good advice there. The nasturtiums are out to the greenhouse the moment they show their first leaves. I've some chillies that came up in a propagator in the nice warm and dark airing cupboard (that I forgot about) so they're about 4 times as tall as they should be with little yellow leaves. Here's hoping I can rescue them with a bit of tough love and deep pricking out.

    1. Which reminds me I haven't sowed any chillies yet and it's getting a bit late to do it. Looks like I might have to buy in some seedlings at this rate.