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Sowing seeds for home-made ratatouille


by Pippa Greenwood

The sky is grey, my toes are turning rigid in my boots and the rain is hammering down, but my thoughts are turning to the Mediterranean, and summer holidays.


Bowl of ratatouilleDoesn't this winter seem longer than usual? Conditions are unpleasantly cold and it's so wet that I can hardly stand upright on any sloping surface in the garden. The sky is grey, my toes are turning rigid in my boots and the rain is hammering down, but my thoughts are turning to the Mediterranean, and summer holidays. I like to imagine what I'll be growing and eating in the summer: masses of zingy tomatoes, sweet and crisp peppers, juicy cucumbers and buttery salad leaves. Oh, and warm ratatouille on a bed of brown rice.

All of these thoughts prompt me to engage in some therapeutic seed sowing. Sowing seeds is almost as comforting as eating the final result. After a few hours in the greenhouse sowing yet more peppers and chillies, including some of those gorgeous, elongate 'Romano' types, a pot or two of basil and some mixed salad leaves, I start to feel better.

For a completely home-grown ratatouille I'll also sow aubergines and courgettes. I like to start the courgettes off early under cloches.

Until the weather improves this activity raises my spirits. I even wonder if I should start growing that brown rice myself...



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Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2010 at 10:28

Too cold to even contemplate seeds! Monty's video on planting courgettes is all well and good but Lancashire is still in deepest winter - roll on some sunshine.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2010 at 11:54

Can anyone help - I have just planted onion seeds in a heated propogater and can find no guidance on when to take the plastic top off. Do you take the top off as soon as the seed has germinated and starts to show signs of growth or do you leave the top on until the seeds have grown 2-3 inches or so. I have never done this before and confess to being completely befuddled.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2010 at 12:53

That's very funny and so so true. I've gone one better, it's the window ledge for me, I like to watch my seeds grow from the warmth of the kitchen. Enjoy!

Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2010 at 15:16

Can anyone please help and tell me how to prune blueberry bushes. I haven't found any info anywhere. Thanks.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2010 at 16:57

Like Pippa I am cheering myself up by sowing seeds in the greenhouse, warmest place to be. I've sown onion seeds, aubergines, bacopa, tomatoes and dahlias all in propagator. Dahlias already sprouting but I usually leave onions until they are aroung 3/4 inches. Don't know if that is correct but it works for me Lesley, then put out into the greenhouse. 2 degrees here today in freezing Scotland.

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