End of Month View of the Garden: End of February 2017
The weather in February started off quite balanced, and reasonable, but ended with a blast by Storm Doris, who helped herself to several fence panels, and the felt off my shed roof, but did leave me with someone’s tent, 2 parts of a plastic Christmas Tree and an empty shoebox.
Disclaimer: I have not been asked to review this product, I just chose to do so, I have had no contact with the company and I am not associated with them in any way.
I recently saw these new items in a local supermarket and thought I’d give them a try out. These are Biodegradable pods pre-sown with a seed into a Coir growing medium, with pelleted fertiliser already added.
The information on the website states “The new and innovative Miracle-Gro® Gro-ables® Seed Pods™ are unique and exclusive pods with all you need to grow your own veg at home containing vegetable seeds, coir compost, and Miracle-Gro continuous release plant food.
All you are required to do is peel off the lid, pop your pod in to your garden soil or compost, water and watch your pod grow! The seeds are planted at the correct depth for optimum germination while the coir compost helps retain moisture and protect the seed. This is then enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food which helps feed the seedling for up to six months of life to promote a healthy development. The shell is 100% biodegradable and will break down in to the soil allowing the roots to grow freely and deeply.
Miracle-Gro Gro-ables Seed Pods™ are guaranteed to grow* indoors or out, in pots and containers, hanging baskets, gro-bags or directly into the ground”.
They are made by the same people who make Miracle-Grow Fertilisers.
I purchased 1 pod of a Salad tomato which was called Maestria F1, 1 pod of a Cucumber called Tanja and 1 pod of a sweet pepper called Lamuyo F1.
The instructions are under the peel off lid, and they have all the information on sowing, growing in and how long from germination to harvesting.
The instructions state that each pod contains fertiliser, growing medium, (that’ll be the coir), 2 seeds and a anti-fungal agent. Although so far, I’ve not been able to find out any more information on which Anti-fungal agent is being used.
So following the instructions I peeled off the lid and popped the pod into a pot of Multi purpose compost, and watered well.
Because the Coir was so dry I had a bit of a floaty moment.
I took the opportunity to see what was under the Coir….
I discovered the fertiliser was not mixed into the coir, just in the bottom of the pod.
After a bit of exploring on the manufacturer’s website, I discovered that’s how the pod was designed.
The instructions state that the pod should be placed in a sunny position and watered every day, also if more than one seedling appears then the weakest seedling should be removed to allow the remaining one the grow on.
So the three pots were labelled up, watered well, placed on my bathroom windowsill and the waiting began.
About 10 days later.
So far 3 Tomatoes have germinated, 1 Cucumber and no Sweet Peppers.
The manufacturer states on the label that the pods are guaranteed to grow, so I will wait a while longer for the pepper to appear before testing that guarantee.
These pods were really easy to use, the instructions are clearly set out and easy to follow, it will be interesting to see how the seedlings develop and grow.
This system is aimed at the beginner or amateur grower who wants a quick and less fuss way of starting some veg seeds, or perhaps people who have mobility issues with their hands and struggle with small seeds.
To be continued as the plants grow on……
The Cucumber seedling suddenly collapsed and failed. That was the end of any cucumbers for this year.
However to Tomato plant grew on very strongly and had to have the 2 weaker seedlings removed to enable the strongest to grow in.
After a couple of weeks I potted up the Tomato into a bigger pot, and got a good look at the root ball forming through the grow-pot.
Nice and well developed.
So here is my tomato plant in a big final pot, already with a fruit forming and flowers indicating more to follow.
Here is my chosen Sweet Pepper Plant growing away nicely.
Over all its been an interesting trial, the pods cost me £1.11 each, if I had separated all the seedling that emerged across all the pods I would have ended up with more plants.
However when the seedlings had grown and the pods needed potting up I still had to purchase some pots and compost to fill in around the pods, and its really not that hard to pick up a few packets of seeds at the same time.
I feel this is an expensive way to grow some Tomato, Cucumber and Pepper Plants.
However as I’ve previously mentions with in this blog, these could make a nice gift for someone who wants to try this product and could be useful for some one with mobility issues with their hands.
If you have any questions about this trial I did, then please use the comments box below.
Following on from my last post where I discovered an outbreak of Vine Weevil in my Strawberry tubs I set about dumping infected plants, and dumping the compost away from my garden, some new Strawberry Plants ordered and a recommended chemical purchased and applied.
I’ve also started to receive parcels of plants that I ordered earlier in the year.
12 new Fuchsia plants, a mixture of Bush and Uprights. I’m hoping to go potastic this year and make up a few nice containers of mixed plants. (Vine Weevil Permitting.!)
The Fuchsia plants came from a mail order company that I have used in the past called Potash Nursery they also attend many of the major flower shows throughout the year.
I was hoping for some settled weather over Easter so I could potter in the garden and faff with a bit of seed sowing in the greenhouse, however storm Katie blew through last night dumping almost an inch of rain on the garden leaving everything soggy and a bit meh.
So I just thought I’d show you some of the best things I spotted during my recent, and first visit to the Edible Garden Show which was held recently at Stoneleigh park in Warwickshire.
The first item that caught my eye was this…
A seat on wheels that you can move about sidewards on. (I just thought it had big eyes).
This stand in-particular stood out to me as it was nicely set up with lots of little offers on.
I also went to a couple of talks, and the one below stood out to me quite positively.
The talk was called Growing in small spaces by Mark Abbot-Compton.
Mark runs a website called Learn How to Garden, Gardening Courses.com it is pioneering teaching using internet courses that give step by step tuition to beginner gardeners right through to the more technical aspects of horticulture and an online monthly interactive publication.
His talk was very interesting, and interesting in which an ‘old hand’ like myself a learned few new bits of info, such as the reason why seed packets state why Cabbage crops should be 2ft apart*.
Each of these packets of seed looked like little works of art to me.
So that was the 5 best things I saw, to be honest there were lots of interesting things, and many of them were quite pricey for what they were.
The only purchase I made however was a subscription to a magazine which gave out extra seeds if you subscribed at the show. Also it appeared to me that every other stall sold Chilli pepper seedlings, as I’ve already got an increasing population of chilli seedlings in my greenhouse I did without.
*Cabbages are stated to be 2ft apart because the wheelbase of Massey Ferguson tractors are 4ft apart, and it was so the tractors could move about the fields for harvesting & spraying etc….
I was on the verge of relaying new slabs to support the new Greenhouse I purchased last Autumn, however the persistent heavy rain, high winds and a visit by storm Imogenhas put paid to me being able to do much garden work for a few weeks….
I had to snatch random gaps in the stormy weather to get slabs relaid and the new Greenhouse base fitted.
And this is how it stayed for at least another week, the mud became intolerable, and my fingers froze. Then last weekend a break in the weather meant I got the frame together, fixed up and all bolted.
I took a half day from work last friday as the forecast was favourable, I got the two roof vents fitted, the door made up and fitted and started glazing. Now it’s considered best practice to glaze in one day so as not to leave the structure with gaps overnight in case of high storms, however I had to finish my glazing at 5.15pm on Friday as it was just too dark to continue. And even worse… I was coming down with a streaming cold.
Yesterday morning I dragged myself from my sick-bed to finish glazing each end and the door, there was one worrying moment when the last pane of glass just wouldn’t fit. I made an ‘adjustment’ to a plastic fitting and the pane slotted in perfectly.
So.. here it is…
It’s a 6×8 foot extra high Greenhouse, I need to sort out the ground around it, fit the downpipes to the gutter, and sort some water butts. I’m aiming to use the Greenhouse primarily for tall crops in tubs, such as Tomatoes and Cucumbers…….
But that could all change yet.
It should complement my existing 6×8 very nicely.
But all in good time, it was back to my sick-bed for the rest of the weekend to try to shake off this bug.
Another new recent purchase for me is helping start of some seeds that I’ve sown, a zip up tunnel type propagator with heat mat.
It’s a bit of an extravagance, but I’ve always wanted one, and a recent sale meant I was able to get one for under £100. It should prove useful with the extra height when I start cuttings later in the year.
It currently contains my Chilli seeds, which are coming along nicely.
I’ve also just sown a wide variety of Tomato seeds, some from the USA, some from Northern Europe, and some ultra modern uk F1 hybrids. these should do well in my new taller greenhouse.
In other areas around the garden, there are signs of Spring Flowers which are a welcome sight….
I just need more time to get into the garden to do all the outstanding jobs, I also need the water table to reduce a bit.
I’m really looking forward to giving the lawn its first cut of the year, and at least there will be Tulips…