After a very cold and dull start to March, at last this weekend there was a whiff of Spring in the air, a little sunshine, a hint of warmth, and I finally felt that the gardening year was about to properly start.
I’ve been raising my aubergine and sweet pepper seeds on my kitchen windowsill since early February, and I’ve finally potted these up into individual cells, and moved them to the heated bench in the greenhouse. They’re joined there by my first few tomato plants, sown in the kitchen in late February. You don’t need to sow tomatoes as early as that, but I like to get a few off to an early start, to be followed by the main sowings between now and mid-April.
Once the seedlings are potted up into individual cells, there’s just not enough room for them in the kitchen, and I have to start the daily ritual of uncovering them in the greenhouse every morning, and covering them up again with plastic lids and layers of fleece or bubble wrap every evening. They get more light in the greenhouse than they would on a windowsill, so they should start to grow faster now, aided by the lengthening hours of daylight as we pass the equinox.
While they were on the kitchen windowsill, I avoided the seedlings bending towards the light, or getting ‘leggy’, by putting aluminium foil behind them as a reflector, so that they were getting light from both sides.
I find that this works very well. It’s a trick that I thought up myself, but I’m sure other people must have independently had similar ideas before, so I’d be very surprised if I was the first person to think of it. Perhaps it’s still not a very well-known idea, though, because a couple of years ago, Amateur Gardening magazine contacted me to ask permission to use a previous photo of seedlings on a windowsill with reflective aluminium foil behind them, that I’d posted on this website years ago when originally recommending this tip!