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Setting up the greenhouse for the summer season with my self-watering pots

I think April might just be the most exciting and most infuriating month in my gardening calendar. The weather can be scorching sun on day and snow the next, as we’ve seen in Scotland over the last couple of weeks. And those changes are really frustrating when you are an eager little beaver waiting you get your plants out into the garden.

As you guys know, I’ve been gradually hardening off some of my more hardy plants in the hope of getting things started, but we have been getting minus temperatures most nights and hard frost so I’m having to be very patient. But even those plants that are ok out there just now (from the weather) are seeing their own issues. I was so pleased last week to get some peas and beetroot out in the raised bed only to get up the next day to find them all gone and the bed dug up. Given the size of the holes, I assumed a cat or a fox maybe, but it turned out it was actually a female blackbird after my straw for her nest. Cocky little sod too, she did it right in front of me again after I got the bed all sorted.

So that caused much hilarity over on instagram this week, but just to add insult to injury, after preaching all about hardening off in last week’s post and video – guess who went to bed and forgot to put the cloche back in place over the plants? Yup, that would be me. Luckily though I only lost a few things. The tray of mimulus seedlings was killed off and some of the foxglove seedlings, but it could have been worse.

On the flip side though, the greenhouse. Wow. I’m in a bit of a learning curve this year with the greenhouse, as I’ve completely changed up my schedule of things. Changed up,.. read sped up. Normally, I would be nursing tiny tomato plant seedlings and pepper plant seedlings at this time of year. So the greenhouse would be full of seedlings, meaning I only have to focus on that one style of plant care. This year however, I am about a month maybe even 6 weeks ahead and I’ve just set up the quadgrows of proper big tomato plants and pepper plants. Thanks to starting the seedlings off indoors under grow lights I’m already seeing trusses on the tomato plants.

This has made for a really interesting couple of weeks for me as I try to juggle the different plants in different stages of development, it’s meant that I am using the shelves in the greenhouse to maximum effect because I just need the space. I’ll need to be hyper-vigilant though. Those shelves are above my head height, so if I’m not careful plants could die of thirst.

Some fun and silliness has come out of this though. We’ve been talking to a lot of folk about the quadgrow systems I use in the greenhouse, and it seems like heaps of folk have bought them this year after seeing our videos and blog posts. Unfortunately though with all the madness this year, the companies are struggling to meet demand and meet delivery schedules and folk are waiting months on their quadgrows to arrive. So this has started a bit of a DIY self-watering planter craze online. There are heaps of designs and ideas out there and I have to admit, if I could go back 10 years with the knowledge I have now, I might have had a go at making my own rather than spending cash on a pre-made version.

It did however, let Kate and I have a bit of fun with designing how we would make one and we decided to give it a go using only bits and pieces we had already.

So now we have a bright orange self-watering pot in my greenhouse.

It made for a really interesting video for youtube this week though, going through the quadgrow planter and how it works and then having a go at building my own.

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