It's that time of the year when all gardeners are itching to start growing things, but experience tells us that it's still far too early to sow without the right conditions.
However, now that we have mains electricity in the big greenhouse, we can use heated propagators to get a headstart with the seed sowing. Historically, we've started most of our seeds off in the house on the kitchen and workshop windowsills, but even in these south-facing locations the overall light levels are not quite enough to stop some seedlings becoming blanched and 'leggy'.
I've two heated propagators that the wife bought me for Christmas many years ago - we had electrical power to the greenhouse in our previous house - but they've just been languishing in the shed here for the last six years.
When the sun's shining, the greenhouse can get quite warm even at this time of year. We've already recorded temperatures approaching 30 degrees C in there, so the propagators are connected via a plug-in thermal switch, which only cuts in when the temperature drops below a preset level - in our case, I've set this to 17 degrees.
|the thermostatic switch...|