Sowing for Spring

There are those days in spring when the sun shines brightly, but the temperature stays resolutely low. That’s when my greenhouse comes into its own and I’ve been basking in mine whilst sowing tomatoes, peppers and aubergines for high-summer consumption.

I don’t start sowing too early here either, because I live in the bleak Cotswolds and my plants, which are all grown in a greenhouse, do not need to be planted into situ until May. Once the seedlings are large enough they will need their own three-inch pot and a sturdy label each. They soon flourish though tucked up in an electric propagator, the plant equivalent of the kitchen Aga.

My next bit of productive sowing will be cucurbits. These large seeds (of cucumbers, courgettes and squashes) will need a bit more warmth so spring has to be in the air. Place the seeds vertically, as they can rot if laying flat. Normally I use two per pot. I use every seedling though because cucumber seeds cost an arm and a leg. ‘Tiffany’ AGM, my preferred variety, costs £3.99 for 4 seeds, although I expect to raise at least thirty per plant.

Home-grown cucumber is a delight, quite unlike anything you buy, and I’m dreaming of summer teas with wafer thin sandwiches on flower-covered plates as I enjoy the precocious warmth provided by my greenhouse – a place where dreams come true.

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