rusty duck’s First Law of Plastic Pots

The number you have is inversely proportional to the number you actually need.


I’ve always stashed plastic pots. While we were living in a rented house with no garden I had boxes full of the things, brought with us from the previous abode. Mike was forever either falling over them or having to move them from one place to another. In his mind their only rightful resting place would have been at the dump. These days they find a safer refuge in my greenhouse. In winter the mice get their daily exercise by using the staging as a climbing frame. The serried ranks of pots are inevitably knocked over, leaving me with the job of picking them all up.

But now? In April the greenhouse is a hive of activity. Sowing, potting up and potting on. Endless watering. The production line, mostly of vegetables, is in full swing. And here I am staring into the abyss of yet another pot crisis. However many I have, even with all the plants (or more to the point their pots) that I have purchased over the years, I never seem to have enough. Especially the three and a half inch ones. The ones that are the perfect size for a single bean. Those are the ones which always run out first.


Veg Production Line 002 Wm[1]


With greenhouse space at a premium, the larger plants get shifted out to the cold frames and I can begin the process of hardening them off. Lids raised by day and closed at night. The trouble is, as it stands today, the cold frames are also now full. Mostly with peas using each other for twining support.


Veg Production Line 003 Wm[1]


On milder nights some get to stay out in the open air. With the appropriate protection.

The ‘nursery’ is in a sunken area, bordered by retaining walls and one side of the house. It is a proper little sun trap and holds on to that heat well into the night. Needless to say, it’s one of Ptolemy’s favourite places too. He has discovered that when the cold frame lids are closed he can leap on top of them and, almost, peer in at us through the kitchen window.


Veg Production Line 004 Wm[1]


At the end of the production line comes the prize for getting this far. For the plants, and for me. Automatic irrigation.

Perhaps I have taken a risk, putting the peas out quite so early. But it is relatively mild in the south west and I have fleece. And besides, I need the pots. So the whole bloomin’ cycle can begin again.


Linking up with Helen’s Greenhouse Year at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are growing this month.