Home brewing antics can now be found at my other blog; http://gettinggrist.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Outdoor Sowing Begins

Having managed to nick a couple of hours away from work, I got on with a few jobs. Since my last post, the weather has taken a turn for the better with sunshine and blue skies very much the order of the day today.

First up were parnsips. I sowed only two rows this time as we always overdo them. I manged to pick up a different variety in the supermarket, so instead of being stuck with the same type as last year as I intimated in a previous post, we'll have something new to look forward to - Hollow Crown. The last lot were just way too long. The downside to long parsnips is that they take a hell of a lot of digging up.

I have never, (famous last words), had a problem with parsnips germinating, so I marvel at people who try to chit their seed beforehand. Sounds like a lot of hard work to me. I simply sow three seed every six inches or so, directly in the bed. If you just sow a continuous drill, you'll have loads of thinning out to do, so don't make life any harder than it already is.

Sowing my way gives you have three chances of success at each point you want a parsnip to grow. You can also identify the seedlings from weeds very quickly, as there's normally a cluster of two or three, and there's much less thinning out to do. Simples.

Carrots were next. I sow these in tyre stacks, three high. This stops attacks from rabbits and they're just about high enough to avoid the carrot fly. I sowed Chamare at one station and Early Scarlet Horn at another. I'll do another couple of lots next month sometime.

Then on to potatoes. I planted three rows of first earlies. I trialled just one row of this variety (Accord) last year and they were excellent. The rest of the potato bed will be devoted to 'Kestrel'. I've earmarked the first week in April to plant those.

The final job was to net the gooseberries. I'm not a fan of bamboo canes for netting as I find they tend to snap and break too easily. So over the winter I got some proper timber and cut twenty-four posts, over which the netting will be laid. I banged in all the posts and now just need to get some new netting to complete the job. It will be a while before the goosegogs flower and fruit, so there's plenty of time.

Two and a half productive hours in the sunshine. The only thing missing was the camera. Sorry.


  1. your parsnips, do you sow in a drill or like me dib a whole, back fill with compost and sow into that? I've stoney ground and do this to prevent forking.

  2. 'dib a hole' that should be.

  3. Hi arn, I sow in a drill. I'm on heavy clay with very few stones and rarely get a problem with forking. I'm dead lazy though. I use an old rake handle and just stand on it to make the drill :)

  4. lol mark you sound like my kinda gardener! we do things the simple way over here too! I had a good nosey around your blog - your potato post made me giggle :) thanks for adding my blog to your list, i look forward to reading about your plot.