The drop to level three couldn’t have come sooner. Not only for the health and wellbeing of all the kiwis who have put in the hard yards to get us to this point, but also, I was beginning to get desperate for all the things I needed to carry on gardening as normally as I can.
The moment we dropped to level three I put in a click and collect order at my favourite local garden supply place. It was quite the list, at quite the price. However, if you rationalise the money by dividing over the 5 weeks we’d been in lockdown you can almost say it wasn’t too bad. In normal times I may not have even noticed it! I decided to pick the collect option not the delivery one as the delivery fee was a little on the large side. Before I hit ‘go to checkout’ I double checked with Hubby the Un-Gardener to see if it would all fit in his vehicle. He’ll be the one heading out to get it as he is our designated shopper.
While this news and excitement has brightened my week, the weather hasn’t. It has been cold and miserable. So far, this spring has flip flopped all over the place – one moment it is in the very high teens if not warmer and I’m in a tee-shirt wearing sunscreen, the next I’m in a woolly jumper with a beanie and thick socks. It is making it tricky to maintain a constant temperature in the greenhouse for all my seedlings – but it never gets to the point of frost so the worst that can happen is they could sulk for a day or two until it warms up again.
To celebrate my impending delivery, I broke out my very last bag of potting mix that I was saving for an emergency – and I used the lot! I had a whole afternoon free to garden to my hearts content. I have things on the list I would have liked to have done, like nail the weeding for once and for all so I can slip back into my gentle rhythm of taking care of tiny weeds once a week in each sector. All but a couple of beds are ready to go for the season and it wouldn’t take more than an hour or two on a nice day to get that done. But the weather was nasty, and the greenhouse was the logical choice to while away the afternoon.
I noticed the roots were coming out of the bottom of some of the pots, so it was time to transplant them into bigger pots. I got myself into a nice little groove. First, I would wash the big pots in a bucket of water – I should have done it during the winter, but I ran out of time. I worked in small batches so as I pulled scrubbed pots out of the bucket, I replaced them with the same number so they could get a bit of a soak before I was ready for the next lot.
I took the clean pots and put a layer of potting mix in the bottom. Because the plants are larger and more robust than the last time I transplanted them, I didn’t need to sieve it to get rid of the chunky bits, which saved plenty of time and potting mix. I grabbed some of the small pots and filled them to the top with potting mix and placed them in the big pots sitting on the soil and then firmed in more potting mix around the sides. Then I eased the little pot out, leaving a hole in the middle of the big pot.
The seedlings were eased out of their small pots – with as little disturbance as possible and slotted into the hole in the big pot. It fit like a glove and all I needed to do was tap it down and the wee seedling wouldn’t have even noticed it had been moved. I did notice a few of the leaves had nibble marks in them so I thoroughly checked them over during the process and evicted 3 slugs and a handful of slaters.
Once I had filled all the pots with seedlings, I then took them over to another station in my production line and soaked them in a deep tray with plant food and seaweed tonic in it. The seaweed helps with transplant shock and stress and a fast-food meal will help them settle in – a bit like a housewarming gift. They stayed soaking in there until I’d been through the whole process with another small batch and then it was time for them to come out and drain on a rack. They stayed there, dripping their excess into a tray below until the next small batch needed to come out of the soak.
The next bit is all a bit of a jiggle. It is so easy to go overboard with sowing seeds because they don’t take up that much room. But you transplant them out of the seed trays into small pots and all of a sudden, the greenhouse feels full. But this is nothing compared to plants in bigger pots because not only are the pots larger but so are the plants! So, I needed to rearrange everything so there was a strange kind of logic to it.
I worked away happily, and the sun and the rain fought with each other all afternoon, until I ran out of potting mix. But that’s ok I’ll have more tomorrow. Which is just as well as there are a load more that need their first transplant from seed raising mix into small pots. And I have a load of spare small pots after today efforts. If the weather isn’t nice again tomorrow, I know what I’ll be doing.
Come again soon – I’ll have so many supplies I won’t know where to start.
Sarah the Gardener : o)