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Swiss Chard

Tags: plant seed sqft

I sowed in the poly-tunnel about 150 Beta vulgaris seeds, a month or more ago, and they were almost all all eaten by slugs. So I sowed another 150 more recently, (if I'd kept up with the blog a little more, I could be certain about the timings, but there you go), taking more slug-defence measures. Unfortunately, mice (I assume) seem to love the seeds, and dig them out of the Seed tray, obviously to the detriment of growing seedlings, which is very unhelpful. So this morning, I pricked out the remaining 24 (exactly) seedling survivors from various seed trays and collated them in one module tray, and elevated that so they're hopefully safe now from slugs AND mice.

This is the second time I've tried to grow this plant. First time was a direct sowing and only one plant grew. I saved and subsequently lost the seed I harvested from that. So if I get, say, enough for a couple of rows, (about 20) from this batch, that will be a 2000% improvement on last time, even though it's a pitiful successful germination rate, 20 from 300.

I'm hoping that these plants are big enough to go out by the end of October. So far the only success this year are the sorrel, which has reached lift-off in a patch of 30 plants, about 6ftx6ft. I've also got a patch with blackcurrant and apple plants, ready to join the hedgerow in Winter 20/21, taking up 3ftx6ft. Which is all nice, but it means I've got 54sq.ft. in a plot which should have a cultivable area (allowing for pond, paths and hedges) of about 1200sq.ft. so that's about 5%. Which is not much to show after 4 years.

What I need now is to be able to plant out groups of 20-40 plants next Spring, 2020, sown from seed in the polytunnel. A heater with a thermostat and bubble-wrap insulation might give me a head start, stop the temperature in the polytunnel getting below 5c in early Spring. If each clump of 20-40 plants measures about 36sq.ft, then the approx 500sq.ft which will not be under membrane or tarpaulin, will need 15 different kinds of plant. I could then start to lift the membranes, and plant out those areas in 2021 and 2022.

That's all in addition to work on the hedge, and some ambitious plans for the southern half of the central path, and the 'old greenhouse area", currently a hole in the ground containing spoil from riddling the old shed area. 2022, whole plot under cultivation.

This post first appeared on Pig Sty Avenue, please read the originial post: here

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Swiss Chard


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