New Year in the offing and the sowing sap is rising! I got out all of my seeds and culled anything out of date or anything which I had bought with the intentions of 'trying' and didn't.The recession is biting everyone this year so feeding the family for as long a season as possible is the aim for this year.Successional sowing will be the buzz words for the allotment.Keeping records will also be on the agenda as I usually cannot remember from year to year what was sown and performed well or failed.I plant seeds at home which is about 5 miles from the allotment, moving the seedlings to their growing position has often meant tags become lost on the way!
This mornings labours were brought about by taking a look at the garden at home. I had been raking up leaves and discovered daffodils peeping through the soil!Some of you may remember our monster parsnip which weighed in at over 4 lbs!I found a half empty seed packet which is probably the one I used.Tender & True, exhibition quality with long roots will definitely not be going in this year, White Gem parsnip for shallow soils will be our parsnip of choice. Parsnip seeds are recommended to be bought fresh each year as they do not last from year to year.
I have various carrot seeds but after poring over them I have decided on the following to begin sowing as early as possible and have carrots right into next winter.
Amsterdam 3 Sprint: sow outdoors from Jan to July
Sow every 2-3 weeks for a continuous supply of young carrots.These are specially selected to grow in containers or small spaces.
Chantenay red Cored 2;Sow march to June, again sow every 2-3 weeks for continuous cropping. Sow thinly and when harvesting select young roots alternately, no other thinning should be required.
Autumn King2, sow march to July.these last right up to Dec.
Sowing -cropping 22-26 weeks
Carrots are a really versatile veg and used all year round from salads to winter stews so as long a crop as possible is needed.
I pulled all of ours back in Oct and cut and blanched them, they froze very well.
Buds already forming on the Kilmarnock Willow.We only planted a few beetroot last year but will definitely plant a lot more this year as it is a veg we have now developed a taste for other than pickling!
Boltardy as its name suggests is resistant to bolting and going to seed.
Sowing - cropping 12 weeks, I think this should be on all seed packets as it is a great pointer for anyone growing for the first time,wondering when a crop is ready to harvest.
I planted Sweetcorn Sundance last year, (found the half empty seed packet)!We had a great crop and this will be going in again this year.
Grape Hyacinths under the willow tree.
I found a half empty packet of cauliflower 'All Year Round', this was one of our disasters last year, golf ball sized heads!It may not have been the fault of the seed but a different variety is in order for this year.
Oregon Sugar Pod peas did very well, they are a Mangetout pea and will be another one going back in with plenty of netting to keep the birds off!
Broad beans 'Meteor'can be sown indoors from Feb,grown on and hardened off to plant outside in April which give an early crop without winter sowing.
I have Evesham Special Brussels Sprouts, they are supposed to give a heavy early crop over several months with large old fashioned flavour sprouts.
Cabbage, probably greyhound which can be started indoors in Jan.
Tomatoes, I have the ever reliable Moneymaker but we had such a glut of tomatoes last year it is the one we will be trying for different tastes and flavours in a few varieties this year.
I came across a envelope marked 'Matron'.When matron visited me here in Cork last year she brought me some of her own saved seeds and I am looking forward to having Dog beans (dwarf Broad beans)
Crimson Flowered beans
Lazy Housewife beans
Queensland Blue Pumpkins.
I will be following her very informative blog for growing and harvesting tips on all of the above and much more!
I have not mentioned potatoes or onions which will be bought as seed /sets in the coming weeks.
We are looking forward to another season with old and new friends on the Hydro Allotments in 2011.