Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Hard Days Night

I've just read an article in the RHS 'The Garden' mag discussing the relative merits of hardening off against putting seedlings straight out and dealing with the resulting pause in growth while the plants physiology adapts to the shock of a new and hostile environment. It would appear to be a matter of personal choice and I prefer not to harden off (unless there's a risk of frost) and sow outdoors. I've propagated seeds and nursed them vigilantly on my windowsill at home, hardened them off slowly and planted them out lovingly only to watch them sit and sulk for a while before settling down to growing, so I'm a little disillusioned with the whole process. I seem to have much more success with seeds sown direct - they're more robust from day one and take off much faster. This applies to seed I've collected from plants already in the garden as well as a multitude of re-packaged ones. I suppose it all depends how impatient you are and how pro-active you want want to be. Personally I'm a rather lazy gardener (unless you happen to be a weed or growing where I don't want you)and a great believer in following the natural order as in 'if it doesn't survive it wasn't supposed to'. Survival of the fittest. This year it's been particularly hard to wait it out for the good weather but my board beans haven't drowned in my claggy and waterlogged soil down at the allotment and the thousands of poppy seeds I merrily sprayed over one of my flower beds at home are fighting it out amongst themselves, so we're doing alright - maybe not as well as I could have if I'd propagated, but who knows?! LxXx