Even though I live in a frostless spot beside the wild west coast I am still treating my seedlings like I’m in my frosty old garden and they are tucked up nice and safe in the greenhouse. Because while it isn’t frosty it is still cold. Yesterday was so gloomy and cold it chilled me to my bones, and I couldn’t seem to warm myself up. It wasn’t as cold as the depths of winter, but it was still too cold for me and would certainly be too cold for my summer loving plants.
And I expect to keep my seedlings in greenhouse lockdown for at least another 2 weeks or so – give or take the behaviour of the weather because spring is unpredictable. Even though we have entered mid spring with the start of October – oh pinch and a punch for the first of the month and no returnsies… the weather can’t be trusted. I read a forecast yesterday suggesting in would be a milder October than average but that it would also be chaotic – which means it will probably be all over the place with rain and wind and all the other weather events that deserve the title ‘chaotic’.
Most of my seedlings in the greenhouse have been transplanted for the last time into larger pots – around 10cm in size. Although a few are still in their first transplant pot size - around 5cm and some are still in seed trays, include the last of the ones I really want to have that are refusing to germinate for me. I sowed fresh seeds yesterday.
The good thing about having most of them in the larger pots is I don’t need to worry so much about watering. I still need to check but larger pots don’t dry out as quickly as the smaller pots and a sunny afternoon in greenhouse is enough to completely fry vulnerable seedlings to a crisp.
But they can still dry out – you miss a few pots with the hose, or the sun comes out and dries things out unexpectedly. Or even during the hardening off process – if the wind gets up it can also dry a plant pot out in an afternoon. The soil can get so dry that no amount of watering can rehydrate it. It just seems to roll off the top and down the sides and out the bottom without touching the root ball.
If you need to rehydrate a dry pot, submerge it slowly in a bucket of water. Added seaweed tonic will help the stressed plant to recover. Let it sink on its own and leave it submerged until after the bubbles stop coming. Then lift out and allow to drain. This will rehydrate the soil and the plant, and it will respond as normal to regular watering.
The other thing to think about, before the garden is full of plants is how will you be watering them. Now is a good time to consider the possibility of irrigation – from a soaker hose running the length of your bed, to installing drippers and sprinklers controlled by a timer. This can save time and water but also mean your plants get regular watering’s in the right amount.
But that mightn’t work for you, so then you need think in a different way – are you likely to have water restrictions? What can you do now to make this less of a problem when there is less water about? With the promised chaos of this month, if you don’t already collect water, maybe now is a good time to start. Or even consider hooking up your greywater – although grey water isn’t suitable for edibles – you can water your flowers with it and save your precious good water for the food. Yates has a cool >product< that turns greywater into a fertiliser and helps kill unwanted bacteria so your flowers will love it.
A good thick layer of mulch applied to wet soil is also a great way to conserve moisture.
It is always better to be ready for a potential problem, than trying to troubleshoot in the middle of it – especially when you are trying to keep plants alive.
And in my garden my favourite thing I'm usings right now is a little thing that acts like a glue. You see I have rust on my garlic again. Although I have been preventatively spraying so it isn’t as bad as it has been, and I’m still optimistic I can still get a good harvest. But the problem is garlic has a kind of waxy leaf and so a lot of the fungicide just rolls off it. But with >Yates Spray Fix Wetting Agent< it helps the spray to stick improving the effectiveness and improving my chances of getting on top of this annoying problem. I will have a good garlic harvest this year! I’m determined!
I hope all this helps.
Happy gardening and as always – if you want to get in touch leave a comment below.
Sarah the Gardener : o)