Waiting Game

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robinahood

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Waiting Game
« on: February 27, 2018, 05:30 »
It looks like it will be a late Spring for many of us,  forecast suggests most of March will continue with this wintery weather.  What do you do when the year shapes up like this, e.g. starting plants at home ( I only have windowsills or coldframes) ,  covering the soil,  changing what you grow to avoid the things which need a long season, or do you wait it out? What works best do you reckon?

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New shoot

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 08:20 »
I've got some long growing season crops going inside on windowsills - onions, peppers, aubergines.  I've also got an unheated greenhouse so there a few others like cabbage and mangetout peas on the go, growing with extra weather protection inside there. 

Personally, I find waiting is usually best.  Most stuff catches up and if I need to, I just adapt my sowings a little.  Prioritise the long season stuff you really want and keep them growing well.  Add the rest in, if and when space and weather allows.  If I think I am too late, I sometimes ditch stuff and leave the seeds for next year, filling up with stuff I know will produce  :)

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mumofstig

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2018, 08:28 »
I've just been looking at my diary for the last year we had a late spring, in 2013 ... and yes pretty much as NS says. The early sowings peppers and chillis went ahead as usual, but tomatoes for the greenhouse were sown a couple of weeks later than normal.
Things like peas were also a couple of weeks late and sown in the greenhouse, rather than in the ground, so a much smaller crop that year  :( By the time the potatoes could go in, they were a whole month later than usual, but caught up in the end  ::)
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jambop

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2018, 08:49 »
To be honest I find that with most gardeners, myself included, there is a tendency to try to start things too early when neither the temp or the available light conditions are right. I have already found out by sowing my onions ten days back on a lovely day thinking here we go... I had to take them out of the poly tunnel into the house last night as over night temps were expected to be -8C . Now if I had been less impulsive I would have waited another two weeks and be guaranteed to have really good conditions for germinating the seeds in the poly tunnel without the worry of these cold temps checking and upsetting the growth of the seedlings... and still plenty of time to grow a decent onion.
When it comes to peppers and aubergines I buy my plants at the local supermarket as small plants and bring them on... the hard part is done for not to much expense.

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victoria park

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2018, 08:50 »
It's not a problem just yet, although the toms and peppers are a little bit of a logictical effort. The overwinter onions and beans are looking fine.
Barring cataclysmic rains, my potatoes will go ahead as usual in 3rd week of March regardless, as I have found most early problems are easier to deal with than blight at the other end of the season, so I try to get even the maincrops to some sort of size before blight comes calling.
Everything will be sown on normal dates, but then I do have a cold greenhouse that is an absolute must any year in my opinion. If no greenhouse, then cloches can be erected to do mostly the same job. I do so for the overflow at peak times. I can't speak for the hardening off yet obviously going into April, but will meet that when I come to it. However, susceptible cusp plants will be sown in larger pots rather than modules, with a bit more food, just in case there are planting out issues later. The one thing I try to avoid is seedlings getting off to a bad start.
Tomatoes and peppers will go back to the greenhouse, double insulated, by the weekend, as soon as the worst of the cold has gone. My biggest problem, looking at the forecast is having the soil dry enough to pepare the beds properly. I can see me having a hard couple of days when a window finally arrives.
It's not all bad news hopefully, as this nasty winter will have killed off a few more pests than normal. Maybe even the slugs will have taken a hit.  :)

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sunshineband

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2018, 09:30 »
I sowed lots later than usual last year, through home circumstances, and things like tomatoes cropped a week or two later than in other years but still gave us a good crop. I ended up buying in a few brassica plants as I had not sown any seeds and they were excellent. Beans just grow quickly anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much

Worse by far is trying to keep too many plants for the space/light in a heathy state.

Like Victoria Plum,I am hoping the cold kills a lot of the bad bugs off,   :D
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Nobbie

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 13:25 »
A cold march doesn't worry me too much as there's not usually much to be gained from sowing then anyway. As long as it warms up in April, I'll be quite happy. There's been a few seasons recently where March/April have been unusually warm, only for it to be followed by a cold spell. Hopefully a cold March will herald a warm spring/summer😎

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al78

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 13:35 »
We had this in 2013, I just waited and started sowing towards the end of the month and into April. The problem with starting now is that there is a risk seedlings will get big enough that they need transplanting, but it is still too cold to put them in the ground. Just wait it out, it will warm up at some point.

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robinahood

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 18:31 »
I started some seeds indoors at the weekend. Snow is forecast here tomorrow, so they are better off on my dining room table!

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afcb

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 22:49 »
I was hoping to get started this weekend. We are also expecting more snow overnight and tomorrow, no doubt itll still be on the ground for the weekend.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 22:51 by afcb »

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Plot 1 Problems

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 23:03 »
Looks like we're dodging any bad weather now, so it's full steam ahead sowing. Got my first lot of broad beans in card pots done today, early brassicas in plugs on Friday and toms, sweet peppers, etc at home on the weekend.

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victoria park

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2018, 18:29 »
Well, the predicted downpour down here for 12 hours, with hours more yet to follow. The plot is under water and it's on a hill ! Looking like the forecast was right and March being a total wash out. Two dry days forecast before April and both are going to be too cold.
Looks like a lot of my beds aren't going to get the prep they usually get. Awful awful weather, worst Autumn, Winter and early Spring I can remember. The only bright spot is I have had a large bed under a thick waterproof cover for a few months, so I might just be able to plant my potatoes at the weekend, and cover it up again for 2 or 3 weeks to give them the dryish start they need. More by luck than judgement as the bed was covered to help rot down last year's green manure. Will check the state of it tomorrow in between the never ending weather fronts.  :(

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rowlandwells

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 10:03 »
when i read these replies I feel I'm not the only one getting itchy feet chomping at the bit to get started I've decided to take things as they come wait till the sun shines and the ground starts to dry up

and its a pleasure to work in the greenhouse rather than feeling  cold and not wanting to be there hopefully after the predicted cold weekend thing mite just start to pick up he says with a big grin  ::)

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JayG

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 12:35 »
I've usually got the shallots and garlic planted by now, with the early spuds to follow in a week or so.

This year my plans revolve around clearing an area currently occupied by the extremely tough roots of a very overgrown Fargesia bamboo to grow more veg in, but the weather's been so bad I've not had the opportunity (or inclination) to tackle it with my mattock yet, so everything is on hold at the moment.
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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Nobbie

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Re: Waiting Game
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2018, 15:57 »
I've started covering my raised beds in black plastic to keep the rain off and give them a chance to warm up. May just plant the early potatoes through holes and see how they get on. I manured them some months ago, so this will also encourage the worms to get to work.



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