The fascination of gardening. Constant learning curves.Posted by Fiona Nevile in Discoveries, Vegetables | 10 comments
For the second time this year my tomato seedlings in the greenhouse and Solar tunnel have been hit by sharp frosts. I thought the first fifty had succumbed to damping off. This happened last year when I watered them with rain water from the butts. These had had the same treatment. Since then I’ve discovered that this is a bad idea as they can easily keel over with the nasties lurking in a butt. Tomato, pepper and cucumber seedlings are very delicate for the first few weeks after germination – they need tap water or filtered water from a butt if there’s all there is to hand.
Luckily, I had lots of seed that I’d saved last autumn. So about 10 days ago sowed more. Last night there clearly was a frost in the garden, despite the frost free weather forecast for our area.
As when I went down I found the seedlings, as transparent as the legs of the spiders that live on our kitchen, were lying lifeless in their pots. It was my fault. I knew that delicate seedlings should be covered on frosty nights. They looked so strong that I doubted the wisdom.
Now, finally, I’ve learnt my lesson. Tomato, cucumber and pepper seedlings just have to be covered at night in a greenhouse or tunnel until all the possibility of frosts are over.
The one variety of tomato that I’m desperate to grow this year is Sioux. Overall winner of the Gardening Which? blind taste tests. This, unlike the organic veg versus non organic test, was quite a big operation. Involving over a thousand blind tasters.
Sioux originates from America. This heirloom variety was bred in 1944 and is a prolific early tomato suited to extremes of temperature when mature. That was the gut wrenching gasp this morning – the last eight seedlings had flopped. But I exorcised this disappointment with a happy hour on the Plants of Distinction website justifying the postage cost of the Sioux seeds. Celtuce here we come! Celtuce? Apparently it tastes like peas and be eaten raw or cooked.
I’m still kicking myself over the wasted seedlings. Possibly 80 kilos of tomatoes down the pan, if all had gone well.
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