What to do with 175 tomato plants?

See. the packet of seed was 2 years old this year – and that’s my rule to avoid non-germination disappointment. 2 years and then chuck them away. So, I thought, may as well sow them all. Then I sat down in my potting shed, to pot them on, put a Gardener’s Question Time podcast on, and got carried away. It wasn’t until I was putting them in the greenhouse that it occurred to me – just how many tomato plants does one family need? I mean I know it’s a big greenhouse, but 175?

Just a few of my tomato seedlings

Just a few of my tomato seedlings

Still, I have been quite restrained with other things. There are only 3 of each kind of squash, for example. Okay, there are 6 varieties, so that’s 18 plants, but that’s quite restrained. I was over-excited watching the new vege plot come together in front of the potting shed – pics and a blog post to follow in a week or so. So I have 2 beds allocated for squash each bed is 2.4m x 1.2m (or 8′ x 4′ on old money). They need to be about 90cm (3′) apart so it looks like they’ll be a little cramped. Oh, and I sowed some courgette plants too that are also supposed to fit in these beds. Looks like something might have to give!

It’s been a few years since we grew any veg, and I think I thought I couldn’t do it anymore – why else did I hedge my bets by sowing 48 kale seeds? There’s only one of the beds for brassicas and that has to accommodate brussel sprouts too. I do like kale, but I think 48 plants is too many!

Kale seedlings

Kale seedlings

I also have lots of flowers – sunflowers, sweet peas (think I’ll try the cordon method as demonstrated on the Big Allotment Challenge the other night), calendula, cosmos and nasturtiums (although they might be heading for the salad or herb department instead).

Nasturtiums and chillis

Nasturtiums and chillis

The greenhouse being full of these lovelies was just too much temptation for free-ranging chickens! They kept sneaking in and eating stuff – so I resorted to using the stair gate to keep them out – the grandkids have never fallen down our stairs anyway.

Greenhouse with anti-chicken stairgate

Greenhouse with anti-chicken stairgate

But today, I started adding compost and leafmould to the new vege beds – and the chooks were scratching it out onto the paths almost as quickly. Looks like they’ll be shut in their run from now on – that’s not especially cruel as it’s a pretty big run of about 8m x 8m in each section.

Anyway, that’s it for now. It’s Easter weekend coming up, so I’m planning on getting these veg beds partly planted – have spuds and onions and shallots ready to go in. We’re planning to get family and frinds round in a few weeks to help put the gravel on the paths – I’ll write about it and post some pics once that’s done. In the meantime, if you could use a tomato plant or two …


About Home on the Hill

Organic gardening, chook keeping, permaculture, knitting, sewing, cooking, in lovely Warwickshire in the English midlands.
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