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Once the seedlings are established and have grown a few leaves it is important they have enough space 🔥 Seed packets usually contain details about how far plants need to be spaced apart 🔥 Thinning out seedlings can feel brutal but it is an essential task for crops to reach their full potential. Water the plants prior to thinning. Select the largest, healthiest looking seedlings to keep. Grasp the unwanted seedlings as close to the ground as possible. Gently pull the plant out of the soil, avoid disturbing the remaining plants. Small seedlings such as carrots and lettuces can be snipped off at ground level using scissors. After thinning your plants water again, this helps to re-settle the soil around the roots. The thinnings needn’t go to waste; you can add them to salads.
At the time of writing, Scotland is still in lockdown. In an effort to stop the had spread of Covid-19, we are still walking two metres apart when we go for our daily exercise and queuing patiently-ish outside the supermarket for our turn to see what is left in the aisles. But what about our gardens? If you are anything like me, the first few weeks of social isolation saw the back of the weeds, the turning of the soil, the wilting of the daffodils in my postage stamp sized garden. But what next? Garden centres are closed. The planting season demands seeds and betting plants. But this year feels different. There is a nation-wide move away from flowers and shrubs. The novice gardener is feeling the need to turn their hand to fruit and veg – but what to plant? And, with our short growing season and ever changing climate, what to plant in Scotland? (thanks a ton to Muhammed Seymour from Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso for telling us about this).
You don’t have to grow your courgettes and melons and things from seeds, you can actually wait until April/May and you can buy the little plants, they’ll cost you maybe a couple of pounds per plant. The advantage of sowing seeds is obviously that for £2 in this particular packet you get a hundred and fifty seeds, so you can have as many peppers as you want for the same price. The drawback is that you’ve got to look after them for longer, so it’s up to you really how you want to do it. It is certainly fun to try and grow seeds and we have a great range of all sorts of things in Glendoick from herbs, vegetables, peas and beans to the flowers behind me and so on. (a massive thanks to Terrial Hilton for highlighting this).
Marcello Sneed at heraldscotland.com, describes how even potatoes have their problems, but they’re easily avoided. Late potato blight, a fungal disease, can destroy the crop in days, but in Scotland it starts attacking the plants from mid-July onwards. If you only grow first and second early varieties, you can harvest them all by the end of July. Keeled slugs are the other main pest. These underground slugs – not to be confused with the ones that destroy hostas and seedlings – don’t cause damage before the end of July. The biological control Nemaslug is the only effective control because these slugs never come near slug traps or pellets. (last revised 45 days ago by Doran Sauer from Vijayawada, India)