Speedy Rocket and lettuce seedlings

Success with Spring seedlings and cuttings

As part of my plan for continuous salad leaves across the Spring and Summer, I sowed another batch of mixed leaves (lettuces and Rocket) last weekend. The “Speedy” Rocket seeds are certainly living up to their name as they’ve germinated within just three days. My tray of salad leaves seed is on a sunny window ledge alongside two trays of potted-up Parsley seedlings and a large pot of newly sown Sage. The Parsley seedlings are now beginning to grow their first proper leaves.

Potted-up Parsley seedlings growing their first leaves
Potted-up Parsley seedlings growing their first leaves

Out in the back yard my ‘wild’ leaves are growing on well too. The Garlic Mustard seedlings that self-sow in the large daffodil pot are also growing their first proper leaves now. There are definitely quite a few more of these plants this year which is good because Garlic Mustard is such a tasty salad leaf. The leaves are best picked when they’re still quite soft as the older leaves become slightly bitter and rather more ‘cabbagey’ in texture.

Garlic Mustard seedlings under the Daffodils
Garlic Mustard seedlings under the Daffodils

My other back yard ‘wild’ salad leaf is the Bitter Cress which is now growing steadily – we’ve had a few tasty leaves off some of these plants already. This plant is happy to grow just about anywhere, including this one sprouting out of my doorstep!

Bitter Cress growing in the doorstep
Bitter Cress growing in my back doorstep! This plant really will grow anywhere.

I was delighted to see a few more of my Soapwort seeds are now growing into healthy seedlings. These seeds were sown last Autumn as they need to overwinter outside before they will germinate. I’ve had one seedling (the larger one) for several weeks now but I was glad to see last weekend that it has been joined by a few others. My plan is to establish a supply of Soapwort to harvest for use as a natural soap. I will have to see how this works out … and I shall let you know!

Soapwort seedlings
Soapwort seedlings

Other successes I’ve noticed this week are some of the cuttings I took what seems a long time ago, back in early February. While I was giving my Lavender plants their late Winter prune I saved some of the green leafy shoots. Although it wasn’t the normal time for Lavender cuttings, I thought I’d try some in gritty compost in a (recycled!) poly bag cover on my ‘warm’ kitchen window ledge, just to see if they would root.

February Lavender cuttings have rooted
Lavender cuttings looking slightly ‘leggy’ at the moment

I was pleased to discover this week that at least a couple of them had indeed rooted. One plant was already forming a mini flower spike! I’ve now removed the Lavenders from their protective poly bag environment so they can begin to acclimatise to normal conditions before they go out into the back yard in the early Summer. I’ve also pinched out the growing tips to encourage more lateral buds to develop.

One green leaf on the Common Mallow so far. That is Mint (also grown from a cutting) underneath the Mallow.
One green leaf on the Common Mallow so far. That is Mint (also grown from a cutting) underneath the Mallow.

One of my ‘rescued’ plants, a Common Mallow cutting, is also showing signs of new growth, so I am hopeful that this rather sad-looking specimen will gradually develop into a green-leaved plant from its present brown stick-like appearance!

J Peggy Taylor

5 thoughts on “Success with Spring seedlings and cuttings

  1. Your cuttings are doing so well! What’s your secret? I’ve tried growing a few things from cuttings but they have never taken, even when I used a fancy rooting gel…

    Your seedlings look fantastic too; we have peas, beans, rocket, radish, lettuce and sunflowers here ready to be put out, but it keeps feeling like the first frost isn’t quite over, and I’d hate to kill everything off when they’re so vulnerable!

    1. I was quite surprised myself that the lavender cuttings worked so early in the year, to be truthful! I wouldn’t normally try taking green cuttings until Summer. I think it helped keeping the cuttings warm and in humid conditions under a poly bag for about 6 weeks. I don’t really add anything apart from water when I plant them, but I do add some sharp sand to the compost to make sure it’s free draining.

      I’ve read that Willow bark makes good rooting compound though I’ve not tried it … I know Willow cuttings themselves root very easily – I just stand the cuttings in a jam jar of water and then we watch for the roots and shoots bursting forth 🙂

      Yes, it’s probably a bit early yet for beans to go outside … I’d probably wait until around the end of May – but all of the others can be sown outside quite early in Spring so should be fine, especially if the small plants are gradually acclimatised (“hardened off” as gardening folk say 😉 ) before planting out. I find it’s the slugs and snails that are a bit of a problem around tasty young plants 🙂

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