sowing seeds into gutterpipes
I sow loads of things, particularly amongst the herbs and salads, into lengths of guttering. They germinate quickly and consistently, all cosy in the warm in my polytunnel and transplant outside happily without a hiccough.
I sow most of my salad, peas and cut-and-come-again herbs like chervil, coriander, parsley and basil into the gutters. Most of these herbs and many of the salads, crop well for two to three months, but they need replacing as soon as they start getting tired. Serial sowing every eight weeks, with a new generation coming along somewhere else in the garden is the ideal, but I often have a chocker-block vegetable plot without a chink of room.
Sowing my salads and herbs into pipes in the wings is a perfect, time efficient way of salad growing to pick all year. The plants from these can be slotted in, ready to pick, as the garden lot come to an end. Autumn-sown seedlings need to get into the garden quickly before the soil becomes too chilly to allow the roots to properly settle in.
- To prevent the whole lot ending up on the floor, planting out the guttering needs two people, one at either end.
- Out in the garden, make a trench to mirror the depth and length of the pipe, scooping out the soil with a trowel or draw hoe.
- Water well to bind the compost and then slide the seedlings from the guttering into the U-trench, pushing lengths of about eighteen inches along at a time.
- Slide one section in and then push the next forward to the mouth. Then slide that one in and so on.