The Potting Bench Diaries – 8th February 2023

Its been a mixed bag of all sorts this week as I feel like its been busy – mainly indoors, with some action with the seeds and a few other notes of worth! Weather wise, I’m not sure how its been by you but we’ve had some glorious sun over the weekend and then some bitter cold temperatures at the start of this week so make sure you’re keeping that horticultural fleece to hand!

This week, although I said I wasn’t going to – I started off chitting my first early potatoes. Potatoes are generally grouped into earlies or maincrop – earlies (either first or second earlies) are ready between June and August, depending on variety and maincrop should be lifted from August until around October.

Chitting is essentially the action of sitting them out in the light (traditionally in empty egg cartons) to allow them to sprout before planting out. I’m growing a very reliable, and tasty, variety of first earlies called Arran Pilot. Its a great time to buy yours and you can even get them from Wilko!

Still indoors, the first batch of the cobaea seeds have had a real mixed germination success this year so I’ll definitely need to do a second batch soon. I usually have a decent time with these but for some reason these weren’t having it so I’ve ordered some more.

The good thing about these is that they are fantastically prolific plants and they’ll spread very far, so you only need a couple of plants to cover a fence or wall. Ideally though, I’d like a good handful of plants as somewhat of a backup plan on the off-chance that I lose any. Fingers crossed for the next batch going in this weekend!

Moving slightly further away from the house now as I take you up to the potting shed! I’ve had an Aloe Vera on a makeshift windowsill in the shed for a few years now but it really did need dividing so I got myself in gear and got it done. It was just a case of taking it out the pot and pulling apart the two plants that had formed and potting them into their own space.

Both of them now have more space to grow on and do their thing. These really have to be one of the ultimate plants for the lazy houseplant lover – which I’d definitely say I am!

Although I’m a lazy houseplant lover at heart, I managed to tick off a few jobs this week that I’d been putting off for a while. After I’d done the Aloe then I potted up a few cuttings that I’d rooted in water recently, including a few begonias (one of which is a cutting from a plant I grew, FROM a cutting that Jane Perrone gave me) and some Tradescantia too.

All of these root so easily and are worth trying for yourself at home. Just chop a healthy bit off, above a leaf node and pop it in water. Within a few weeks you’ll see new roots forming and they’ll be ready to pot on.

And in podcast news, I hope you’re as thrilled as me to hear that the main podcast is back with a new look, new sound and brand new guests.

In the first episode I had the huge pleasure of speaking with Andy Perry from the herb specialists, Urban Herbs. Andy has to be the single most enthusiastic and passionate grower I know and this enthusiasm is infectious. If you haven’t listened yet then do get it in your ears soon by clicking here.

Recording for this season is well under way but I really would love to hear who you’d like to hear me in conversation with, so make sure you pop a comment below and let me know.

Have a fantastic week and see you soon

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