Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Living a sheltered life

No, not me, my Parsley! Following my success with this technique last year, I have got some Parsley growing in one of the raised beds, but covered with long cloches. I wouldn't be able to justify using the raised bed space "just" for Parsley during the main growing season, but the space here was vacant after the removal of my Runner Beans and wasn't due to be planted-up again till the Spring, so it seemed appropriate to fill it.

In the past I always used to try to keep some Parsley available throughout the Winter by having it in pots inside one of my mini-greenhouses (actually, I have done some like that this year too). However, it never did brilliantly. I think the roots get too cold in a pot. Certainly the results I have achieved with growing the Parsley in a raised bed have been much better so far.

The only thing is, if it's covered you have to remember to water it. Since my four cloches neatly cover one entire bed, the bed itself gets little or no benefit from any rain that falls. Furthermore, the soil in the beds is quite sandy and free-draining (which is a wonder, considering how much organic matter I have incorporated into these last 15 or so years!), so every couple of weeks I take the cloches off and give the Parsley a good soak.

I did this task most recently last Friday, with the sun shining brightly. The Parsley looks in very good condition. I should say that I put a few slug-pellets under each cloche, just in case...

As it happens, I reckon that cats are a more likely danger than slugs in this instance. Those long tunnel-like cloches will appeal to cats for two reasons: shelter and amusement. We don't have cats any more, but one of those that we had until a few years ago would definitely have used the cloches for both those purposes! (I'm talking about Charlie here).

Incidentally, it is only two of the cloches that are protecting Parsley. The other two have lettuces under them. Said lettuces are only tiny, and growing very, very slowly. I'll be pleased if any of them make it to maturity, because they were only ever spares left over at the end of the season which I couldn't bear to throw away.

However, two cloches-worth of Parsley equates to about 50 plants (in little multiple clumps), which will be plenty for our needs. And of course there is also this:

And even these...

Can you tell that I'm determined we should not be short of Parsley? :)

On a similar "sheltered" theme:- A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what may have been either slug or bird damage to my Perpetual Spinach plants, which I then went on to surround with clematis-netting to deter pigeons etc. Well, the story has moved on again, because I belatedly remembered I had some big plastic dome cloches in the garage, which I have now deployed to protect the Spinach:

With these to protect them, and a bit of sunshine, the spinach plants ought to do well. With a bit of luck there will be enough for me to pick some leaves by about the end of January. By then the garden will be well and truly into the Hungry Gap stage, and a few greens will be most welcome.

That Radicchio seems to be saying "Is there room in there for me too?"!


  1. Our tub of parsley is still outside, It was sue to be moved into the greenhouse but never managed the move.

  2. Oh how I wish I had fresh parsley right now. Yum.

  3. My few little parsley plants seem to have escaped the notice of the birds so far this winter - beneath their notice I suppose. But they have taken notice of my radicchio, which they haven't taken a liking to before - fickle critters. I've taken to draping a length of tulle over many of the greens in the garden, it's light enough to not require support, tighly woven enough to keep the birds from pecking through it, but open enough to allow the rain through.

  4. I don't use a lot of parsley but I am determined to eat more green stuff this year so may just have to pop one or two into a sheltered spot... Happy New Year to you both xx

  5. Your parsley certainly seems to like being under a cloche, it's doing very well.

  6. Pots seem to be my only way of getting parsley - in open ground it either runs to seed very quickly (despite being looked after) or gets attacked at the roots (? root fly). Clay pots definitely give better root protection than plastic pots for over-wintering plants.
    I've always been meaning to try Hamburg Parsley which makes edible parsnip-like roots as well as leaves.

    1. I tried growing Hamburg Parsley once too - you can read about how I got on in a blogpost somewhere (use the "Search this blog" facility in the sidebar...). I often have problems with growing parsley, whichever way I do it. It often gets attacked by Carrot Root Fly.

  7. You certainly won't be short of parsley. The plants look very healthy.
    Just wanted to tell you that I was so inspired by your corn cake/cornbread recipes/posts that I made the cakes in ramekins. They turned out wonderful!

  8. It certainly looks like it is enjoying itself under the cloches. A plentiful supply for you.

  9. I was able to pick a bit of parsley during a brief thaw for our Christmas dinner...heaven! I'm hoping to get some cold frames in at some point in the future. Even if I can't harvest throughout the winter, I'm hoping that they will give me extra late & extra early pickings!


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