At the end of January we got help to mend the broken panes in the main greenhouse and took the plunge by buying our first ever thermostatically controlled seed propagator. Our aim was to get a head start growing chillies and tomatoes.
At first we didn't set it up properly and wondered why it was struggling to reach much above 15C even on sunny days, but when we realised the mistake we quickly found it could boost the daytime temperature to 26-28C, easily enough to germinate even tricky seeds like chillies.
Sure enough, barely a week later we now have the first tiny seedlings appearing - Black Opal and Gardeners' Delight tomatoes, and a range of chillies including Thai Hot Red and Poblano. The Chilli seeds come from the South Devon Chilli Farm, who offer a great variety of locally-reared seeds and plants. The basil seeds also seem to be germinating,
Ensuring that they stay moist in the propagator will be the challenge now - but if we are on the case these tiny seedlings should establish themselves quite swiftly over the next few weeks and be ready to pot on by March. Then we can enjoy spicy late summer BBQs, and chilli jam all through next year - that's the hope anyway.