Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A tip too good not to share !

I don't know if you watched the BBC Gardeners World last Friday ? and for those of you abroad who can't get it anyway you might like this very handy tip. Ms Alys Fowler, one of the gardeners on the programme and author of "The Thrifty Gardener" (great book by the way) gave a great tip for growing seedlings on windowsills. I'm sure it's happened to your seedlings when they start to grow they stretch to the light from the window and they have to be turned every so often. Apparently according to Alys this weakens the growing plant and makes it spindly.
She made a light reflector by cutting a cardboard box so that it had a low side,( the front) and on the high side (the back) and base she stuck on some silver kitchen foil. This cleverly reflects the light and makes the growing plant straighten up as it's getting light now from front and behind it.

I personally didn't have a box or the time, so I covered a piece of cardboard with foil, I just tucked it around and didn't stick it down. Then I put the pots into a windowsill propagator base and stood the foil reflector behind the plants and the base held it in position. The plants as you can see below are now lovely and straight and no need to turn them.
It worked for me !

My big shed is up and we have given it a coat of Ronseal rich red cedar ( the previous owner had done 3 sides in this colour) I probably would have chosen a rich brown,but it looks good anyway. I have painted the door a bright blue and also the fascias over the eves front and back, it looks great,and is so spacious. We have put up shelves and tool hooks, I love it. I will post a photo soon.

The wallflower border is now in full bloom and smells so lovely and looks amazing, not bad for £2.99 for a big pot last autumn, then split up and grown on in individual pots before planting outside. Bargain !!

Without the foil reflector, plants stretching to the source of light.

With the foil reflector, plants nice and straight, not bending over.

The Wallflowers outside the lottie greenhouse in full bloom.


Prospero said...

Perhaps we could use a foil reflector to get politicians to straighten up, too. I think I'll try it. Your wallflowers are super.

Ali said...

That's a great tip to share Mo. i did watch GW but obviously didn't take it in!! i will remember that next year when I have a few seedlings starting off at home before going to my, what will by then be a heated GH as that is the intention for the winter months.
Any pics of Rosie? x

Carrie said...

Great tip, i do like GW but was at a wedding last week. Your wallflowers look fabulous, very impressed!

Maureen said...

PROSPERO, that is a very funny comment, not sure even a foil reflector would work on politicians though.
ALI, lucky you going to have a heated greenhouse. I would have to take all the glass out of my greenhouse and erect it again to be able to heat it. Let me explain that. My greenhouse must be slightly squiffy as the window doesn't close properly and some of the glass is slightly out, but we really can't be arsed to start all over again, and it does the job. (it was second-hand) but to heat it would be a waste of time if there are gaps in the window and a few panes of glass. I will post a photo of Rosie soon,she has a new hat !

Maureen said...

CARRIE, thanks for the comment. It really is a good tip and it works too. I hope you enjoyed the wedding. I will definitely be buying more wallflowers again this year, not worth growing from seed when you can buy a pot full to split up for £2.99.

Daphne said...

I use reflector if I put my seedlings in windows too. Sadly I don't have a southern facing window, just a SE and a SW window, so I put them in the SE in the morning then bring them to the SW in the afternoon. I don't do it often because it really is too much work.

Love your wallflowers they are beautiful.

Joanne said...

Thanks for the tip Maureen I still haven't watched Gardeners World yet it is on video so i will one day.

I forgot to buy Wallflower last year so am missing the lovely flowers and perfume this year.

Just found a very old packet of seed so i might put them in later.

Anna said...

I have not watched last Friday's GW yet Maureen but have it on video. A good tip. I like your wallflower display - their scent is one of my all time favourites :)

City Diggity said...

I didn't know the turning weakened the seedling! I'm going to make a foil shield immediately for my heirloom tomato seedlings. Thanx for the tip. Cheers!

BT said...

I love wallflowers, they are gorgeous. Gardening doesn't have to be expensive. What a great tip for windowsill sowing. I shall have to try it. Thanks for that.