Monday, 8 February 2016

Mangetout and Aubergine update

36 days ago I planted 80 seeds of Mangetout Oregon Sugar Pod. It's a strange time of year to sow them, but I missed planting them any earlier and I was hoping they might make it through to give me an early season treat. They were, at least, planted in the polytunnel under bubble wrap.
Well I think that those which are going to germinate have now germinated, which is 34 in total. I put four peas into each pot. Some pots have completely failed. I'll leave them a while just in case. The best pots have given me three out of four plants.

Of course I would have liked 80 plants, but I was pushing my luck a bit so overall I am very happy with 34. The packet contained 200 seeds so next year I'll probably plant the other 120. If I plant them in October / November, I may well get a higher percentage of germination too.

As for the aubergines, they are getting a different start to life. These delicate little things would never germinate in the polytunnel at this time of year. They will need warmth and light for quite some time and will be high maintenance until May. It's early to start them but when I've started them later I've run out of sunshine too early to get a worthwhile crop.
I am growing Aubergine Long Purple. There are plenty of seeds in a packet, so I sowed 16. I only really want a few plants to mature - so Sod's law says they'll all come through and do well! I soaked the seeds in tepid water before sowing them in a heated propagator. It's only really a heated tray without even a thermostat, but it is designed to give an initial boost of heat to kick start delicate seeds such as aubergines, peppers and chillis.

The aubergines have started germinating now and my worry is that I don't want them to get too leggy. I'll leave them with bottom heat for a while but open the vents on the lids. But at some point they will be going into a mini greenhouse in the polytunnel. This will slow down their growth but hopefully make for sturdy little plants. I may have to get that hot bed going again.

In a similar vein, I've started off some celeriac, another crop which can never get too long in the ground. I really like the taste of celeriac, especially in a winter casserole or a soup, but this vegetable is in last chance saloon. I have had limited success growing it, but it takes most of my harvest to make a large cauldron of soup. It quite simply has to perform better this year.

I scattered the tiny seeds on the surface of the compost in a seed tray and the first tiny shoots have appeared today. Hopefully in a year's time I'll be writing about how successful my celeriac crop has been this year!

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