various seedlings in pots in unheated (cold) greenhouse

Doing the hokey cokey

In out in out shake it all about - do the Hokey Cokey and turn around…. A rhyme for our times - whether in lockdown or as a gardener. Now is the time of burgeoning growth of seedlings, weeds and watering. 

Having started peppers, tomatoes and aubergines early on in the year in the warmth of the house, many plants are in need of a change. The tomatoes have already been put into larger pots and are now somewhat leggy and have tried to make a bid for freedom. Unfortunately for them despite the glorious sunny days that are enticing us all outside for our exercise hour as our bid for freedom, they are somewhat more tender and the cold, sometimes frosty nights of the UK, are likely to stunt them significantly. . So I am overflowing with tomato plants - let's hope some of the neighbours will take the extras. I counted 7 different varieties I’d sown. I decided to risk some in my unheated greenhouse. Lacking fleece, I covered them lightly with newspaper until last night when I was late home and forgot. Not dared to go and look yet but hoping last night's cloud cover was on my side.

The other greenhouse saga is the pots. 

Lots of pots.

My later sown seeds - brassicas and some early flowers have got to the point of overcrowding. So to give room for growth I have either pricked out the little ones into trays of compost or with some of the larger ones put them in a pot 1-2 sizes up. Some will stay in these until they are planted directly into the garden. Others will be potted on again. All the time gaining root and foliage growth and allowing me to protect them until after the last frost has passed. 

So to the Hokey Cokey - what do you do with all the plants you need to protect at night and bring out to harden off during the day? For me it's out onto my cardboard mulch during the day and back in at night - everyday! For many young plants, such as the brassicas the greenhouse is far too hot during the day and they need to get a taste of the great outdoors.


Meanwhile the next seeds need to be sown - dwarf french beans, sweetcorn, courgettes and some squash. Recycling my toilet rolls and mushroom tubs I have now sown several varieties. These really are tender plants so they need the warmth and constant temperature of the house. The spare bedroom is north facing and somewhat cool so I had treated myself to a propagating tray as we only have one sunny window ledge which is already covered with chilli peppers,cucumbers and aubergines!        


So in out in out - try not to shake it all about, do the Hokey Cokey and turn around, then start it all over again.


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