Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Saturday, 26 February 2011

Growing tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.


(This is a revised version of a post I first published in 2009 on how I plant seeds and things)

As I said in my last post I have been planting seeds in the porch recently. Raising plants to transplant outdoors (or under cloches or in a greenhouse/ tunnel) gives you a head start on the season. It is simple to provide extra warmth for a few pots and trays of seeds - in a warm room, or on a heated bench for example.

But remember - the seedlings that appear will also need some warmth and good light levels, until they can be moved to a frost free final position, so allow for where you are going to keep them. This is especially the case with pepper, tomato and aubergine plants as they will need a warm place to live!

I have had a lot of success with putting moderate sized tomato plants inside a cold frame inside an unheated polytunnel during March/April and this would work just as well inside a conservatory or a plastic small greenhouse I think.

I have recently been sowing tomatoes, sweet peppers and aubergine (egg plant for US friends) seeds in modules which have been germinating in my heated propagators in the porch. The porch is double glazed but unheated so can get cold at night! It is west facing though so gets the sun in the afternoon and makes a good place to set up "mission control" seed growing central!




I now have 3 electric heated propagators, each of which will hold 4 of the 6 celled seed modules. I have slowly gathered these over the last 20 years, they ARE expensive and I had two as gifts and the third was a sale bargain as it had a slightly damaged lid (!) BUT they are invaluable to me to help raise early plants, as I do not (YET) have a greenhouse to do this in. ( I have a greenhouse in BITS, and have had it for 8 years but it is not yet put together in a usable condition..maybe next year?)

I sow the sweet peppers and aubergine seeds first as they take longer to germinate than tomatoes (the peppers especially) I usually can move the seedlings out of the heated propagators and into unheated mini greenhouse trays after 15 days or so, and then I can sow more seeds in modules and put them in the empty space in the propagator...

I also sow herbs and salad seeds in unheated mini greenhouse windowsill trays and they give me an early start to the summer salads!

I do have salads over winter in the polytunnel BUT we don't tend to want to eat much salad in the winter in our household!


Sweet Pepper seeds






Sow on surface of growing medium them cover with about as much growing medium as the length of the seed.



Label



Water




and place in heated propagator,




seed germinated in 9 days...if in unheated propagator ( tray with some sort of cover) it will take longer...)




I have been sowing recently inside in my heated propagator in the same way as the pepper seeds, tomato, hot pepper and aubergine (egg plant)seeds.


Tomatoes/Peppers/Aubergines - for growing on in a cold greenhouse or tunnel (NOT OUTSIDE!!)
sown during the Feb waxing moon.

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