I have been having a bit of a fight with germination. Left it too late for quite a few of the hardy annuals even with getting twitchy and putting seed trays in the fridge. I failed to ape nature's seasons asking for cold chilly nights. As for parsley, I have swilled seeds around in washing up liquid, rinsed, sieved and dried before sowing and all to wait 3 weeks for a no show. Larkspur is equally stubborn. Any failed seed sowings get tipped out into patches of soil in the garden... just on the off chance. But I know that my new delivery of Franchi seeds - gherkin, custard courgette and artichoke should like July sowing. I have become uber cautious. Just cannot afford to go round another six weeks without another crop of basil sprouting. Yesterday I sowed the new seeds and more basil and salad crops. One lot are on my kitchen window sill in small plastic wannabe Wardian cases. Then I have braved the greenhouse for a second sowing - some in half seed trays under cling film, the larger seeds in 9cm pots. These are now taking respite under the useful black crates that I have acquired over the years from wholesale plant shopping. Newspaper on top. Properly shadey. Well of course the temperature has zooped downwards - the tortoises who get carted in and out of the greenhouse are the measure of this. They are my stone age thermometer. Please may this work because we are woefully short of shade in our garden.