Planting in mid-winter!
It’s cold and wet but we are still planting at the Real Food Garden. January and February are a great time for taking stock in the market garden, for repairing and preparing. But amid making our no-dig beds and, preparing the polytunnel and maintaining our woods and hedges we are happily sowing seeds too.
By having both a polytunnel for prop and a heated bench we can get ahead of ourselves with seed sowing. We can use the polytunnel for sowing crops to grow in the main tunnel in early spring for early harvests. We have sown a variety of lettuce and salad brassicas. These will be the first crop in the tunnel, to be followed by our heritage varieties of tomatoes and then autumn and winter crops of carrots, herbs, salad and beetroot. We sow a large variety of lettuces and other salad crops to make a diverse salad bag for our customers.
Lettuce is quite happy germinating and growing in fairly cold conditions, in fact they prefer this and won't germinate if they get too warm. Our organic broad bean seed germinated happily at home and was put in deep modules to allow them develop strong root systems. Likewise we have sown spring/salad onions which will also be transplanted into the tunnel. Several seeds are sown per module and these onions are harvested in spring before producing a bulb, making a lovely fresh addition to salads.
We are using the heated bench for seeds which need higher temperatures to germinate. This allows us to sow tomatoes as early as February for a long cropping season.