It may be winter, but there is plenty going on here at Rocket Gardens especially since we’ve got to get growing fairly swiftly to make sure we’ve got thousands of healthy seedlings ready to send to you in Spring. It’s mostly about preparations at this time of year, getting all the polytunnels ready and cleaned up (we might be needing a couple of extras for 2017 as we’ll be growing more plants than ever) and getting the compost in situ and ready for millions of seeds to be sown.
One of the first and most time consuming jobs on the list is propagation of culinary herbs such as rosemary and sage. Rosemary has something of a low success rate, so we’re experimenting with a new LED light system to improve its chances. LEDs are brilliant way to increase the light levels that plants need for growing in the darker winter months whilst being amazingly energy efficient.
If you’ve got your own rosemary, you can try propagating your own at home. Simply tear a sprig of rosemary off, by pulling it downwards where it shoots out from the stalk. Strip off the lower leaves from the sprig so that you are left with 2-3 inches bare stem. Put this in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill. After sometime you will hopefully see new roots starting to form. Once it has a good amount of roots you can plant it in a pot of compost. Good luck! And don’t worry if it doesn’t work, we’ll have loads here at Rocket Gardens.
Early Spuds for 2017
Out in the the new raised beds that we built earlier in the autumn, we are busy preparing the soil for planting some really early season potatoes. It’s a bit of a risky crop to plant out too soon as a heavy frost or snow can wipe out a crop overnight. To avoid this (hopefully!) we’re going to warm up the soil using horticultural fleece and some mini fleece tunnels. This should give the potatoes underground enough warmth to begin to grow. We won’t actually be ready to plant the seed potatoes for a few weeks yet, but adding the fleece now before it gets too cold will give us a head start when they are ready to plant.
This season we’re going to be growing some new, organic blight-resistant varieties including Carolus and Sarpo Mira which taste delicious when freshly harvested. If you’ve had a problem with blight before it’s well worth giving these two varieties a shot this year, you might find you have a much healthier crop. And it’s well worth warming up your own soil so that you’re ready to go in early spring as well – a layer of horticultural fleece or black plastic/weed mesh laid down now can make a world of difference as it prevents the frost getting to the earth.
New Plants for a New Year
We spent a long time choosing new veg plants and varieties to introduce to our Pick & Mix selection in the autumn and we’re looking forward to getting those seeds sown and seeing them grow. We’ve got some fantastic new things for you to try including melons, celtuce (half celery, half lettuce), okra, parsnip, some very colourful carrots, cucamelon (a cross between cucumber and melon – very cute!) and flower sprouts to name a few. It’s been almost 8 years since we’ve included parsnips in our range and we’re really excited to bring them back again. Like our carrots, they will be grown in individual bio degradable pots which is a brilliant way to protect the roots of these young and delicate plants before they make the journey to their new homes.