The current issue of Gardening Which has a report on a selection of seed composts. It is noticeable that all their recommended buys contain a minimum of 55% peat and in one instance is pure peat. We all know that peat is a perfect growing medium, but we also know that (whatever the compost companies may say) peat is a finite resource that is being extracted from unique habitats and in the process is releasing carbon that has been locked into the soil for thousands of years. Which also listed their ‘Don’t Buys’ which included Carbon Gold’s GroChar Seed Compost which I trialled in its early days and have been using successfully for some time now. It is 100% peat free and – like other peat free formulations – it is essential that you follow the instructions to ensure good results. It is particularly important that you water a lot less than is normal with peat composts. The accompanying photo shows my current crop of GroChar grown seedlings – they look pretty good to me.
I’ve ordered some of Royal Mails new Spring Bloom stamps to put on birthday cards and other cheery missives. Now that most communicating is done by text and email I like my rare personal postings (of the old-fashioned type) to look as pretty as possible. The stamps are available from ‘Post & Go’ terminals in some post offices and online from www.royalmail.com/postandgo
Regular readers of the blog will know that I post an annual peon of praise to this delightful crocus. Despite its delicate looks, it is tough as old boots, self seeds everywhere – including amongst cracks in the paving – and is much loved by the bees. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the sunshine as I worked in the garden yesterday – the crocus, snowdrops, hellebores and daphne were all being visited by honey bees and their humming was a joy to hear. And a butterfly ventured out too. Early spring flowers are a vital food source for beneficial insects as well as a delight to the eye.
I have a nasty feeling than many of the tulips that I planted last autumn are going to succumb to various viruses because of the endless wet weather. Tulips like to grow in free-draining soil, but even some of those in containers are showing signs of stress. I’m not sure whether containers with no sign of growth as yet have just rotted in the soil or are holding back for improved conditions. Fingers crossed it’s the latter.
Although I am holding off sowing seeds that need more nurturing than I can provide if the weather turns cold, I am getting on with sowing plants that only need heat for germination and can then be moved to the unheated greenhouse. So I’ve sown several herbs and lettuces and the first batch of broad beans and will make another sowing this week. I do have a heated propagator indoors and seedlings are then moved to my invaluable Garland Grow Light Garden which provides optimum light until they move to the greenhouse. I long to sow tomatoes but will delay another couple of weeks rather than risk their growth being checked later on.