For the last time this year, let’s see what’s going on in the seed department.

Not yet sown.

There’s a lot!  I won’t list them here again, but suffice to say we are going to be busy next year. Some I listed last time, and I have subsequently ordered a load more. I’m not even including the vegetables yet, that will come. To house all those seeds, and in a fit of jealousy over a beautiful set I saw on Twitter, I cobbled together this seed drawer arrangement from scrap wood. It’s a bit rough and ready, wonky, one might be forgiven for saying.

I plan to engage the assistance of #4 child to decorate it appropriately, partly to save me staining it but mostly to hide its many manufacturing faults. We’re thinking decoupage. At my age, that’s not a word I imagined ever needing to use in a practical sense, or indeed at all! A project for us in the holidays.

Sown, not yet pricked out

Lupins – sigh. These looked great last month. I took them off to the potting shed to prick out but foolishly left them in front of the shed heater for a minute. They quickly succumbed to heat exhaustion. I sheepishly put the pot back in the greenhouse and watered. There is no resurrection to report, sadly, but one tardy seed has germinated. Sole survivor.  I hereby name him Chesney*.  Hardly worth bothering taking it forward, but I will. I’m a sucker for a sob story.


The rest are a sorry looking bunch, I’m afraid I’ve neglected them. A few seedlings have appeared, I’ve left them, waiting for more to appear to make it worth a pricking-out session. Then they died. Not sure why – could be damping off, could be slugs. There are a few poking their heads up that I should prick out. Manana.


I think I saved some of the seed of each so I can have another crack at these in the spring when conditions might be more amenable, and this gardener will be more focused on seeds and their needs.

Fair warning, there’s more death and mayhem to come.

Pricked out, growing on

Since last time I have removed the top layer of compost from the hollyhocks as it was going green. I’ve topped up with grit instead in the hope that will prevent liverwort and the like from colonising.

I’m still losing the odd hollyhock but I’m telling myself that is merely the great struggle for life being acted out in my greenhouse, the strengthening of the hollyhock gene pool. That, and I don’t need 30 hollyhocks – if a few pop their clogs now, that suits. Up to a point.

The poppies (left) look fine, one seems to be KIA. The nigella (right) also look perky enough.


Last time round I observed that the calendula were looking particularly leggy. I finally got around to re-potting them a bit deeper. I’m not sure how they’ll respond, but they already look a bit happier in the larger pots. A few had died off before I got to them. Positively Darwinian round these parts.

Shortly after the last update I noticed that the middle third or so of the Coleus tray had died, some kind of mould attack from the look of it. I disposed of them and quickly pricked out 15 of the stronger looking seedlings. They looked fine for a while, but just in the last week or so they have begun to check out. Most are done, one or two might be ok but I suspect they’ll all succumb. C’est la guerre.



I’ll end on a happier note. The second batch of sweet peas are doing fine. Sown on the 5th  of November, they are in root trainers. At the last update there was just one emerging, now most are growing away, fairly straight.

I have been told the trick to straight sweet peas is to give them a light waft once or twice a day, to mimic a gentle breeze. I just brush the tops with my hand a few times. This toughens them up a bit, I gather.

The first batch is still minding its own business in the cold-frame, looking a bit more bedraggled than it’s later-sown brethren. They haven’t been getting the hand-brushing treatment – perhaps that’s why. I’m relying on greater exposure to the outside world to toughen these guys up – as you can see they were under an inch of so of wet snow, more or less gone by the time I took this photo Monday evening.


I need to put together some sort of sowing plan for the multitude of seeds. I don’t think it will be sensible to sow all of them so I ought to prioritise, and I think I want a week-by-week sowing plan so I know where I am.  I’m not prepared to discuss whether it was sensible to order them all in the first place. Shan’t.

That’s the state of the nation for the seeds I have going at the moment. I need to up my game before the sowing starts in earnest in late January, early February, things have been sloppy.

I’ll be back in the New Year with another seedy update.


* after Mr Hawkes, famous chiefly, or solely, for “The One and Only” circa 1991. My thanks to John K over at Rivendell for reminding me of what I’d tried so hard to forget.