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Having sorted my seeds into cool weather plants, heat lovers and winter veggies, I start sowing. Many seeds can be direct seeded later, once the soil has warmed up, but with the luxury of a greenhouse you can get a head start on the season. Mesclun mixes (baby salad greens) and oriental greens are best direct sown into the garden in cooler conditions.
In the greenhouse you can seed lettuces, leeks and onions, globe artichokes, herbs, parsley, brassicas – (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, kale); chard, spinach, oriental greens, cress, orach, radicchio and chicory. (If you want to get a good start on peas see the gutter trick below).
Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant need a longer growing season, so seed these with the above cool weather seeds, but be prepared to wait unless you provide heat for germination. Placing these heat lovers on bottom heater cables speeds germination up considerably.
Beets, radishes, kohlrabi and turnips can be direct seeded into cool soils now. Direct seed carrots, parsnips and celeriac later once the soil has warmed up.
Potatoes, sunroots, shallots, softneck garlic and New Zealand yams (oca) can be planted out at this time.
TIP: If your potato tubers stored over winter sprouted, burying them in a damp medium will start them growing. They can then safely be transplanted outdoors once conditions are favourable.
If you have not planted broad beans (favas) yet, it’s getting late. They prefer growing in the cooler conditions; you will still get a good crop – but later.
TIP: A dibber works wonders for planting favas. To plant a block of fava beans I poke 6″ deep holes into moist soil with a dibber and drop the bean in. Holes are 6″ apart in the row, the rows 6″ apart.
I over wintered these strawberry pots in a cold greenhouse and even got some fresh strawberries over winter!
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