Saturday 19 March 2016

A sowing frenzy!

Late March and Early April is prime sowing time in my garden. This week I have got lots of seeds into soil - Parsnips, Carrots, Beetroot, Radishes and a few more Potatoes. Unfortunately there is not much to see though, unless you like looking at pictures of bare soil!

The place where I write my blog is behind the glass doors - with a fine view of my plot!

My three big raised beds are now fully "seeded". Notice that the beds are all protected against animal damage by nets or cloches. I find that unprotected seeds are far too vulnerable to damage.

No.1 bed has four rows of Carrots - one each of Kelly, Norwich, Autumn King and Darina (the latter being a Czech variety kindly sent to me by my friend Dominika). Kelly did really well for me last year, and Norwich is one of those kindly supplied FOC for me by Marshalls.

No.2 has the Broad Beans planted out on Thursday along with three rows of Radishes - French Breakfast and Cherry Belle, both of them old favourites.

No.3 has three rows of Parsnips - one of Tender and True and two of Duchess. My Parsnips this last year were pathetically bad, so I have to restore my reputation!

Of course I also have the Woodblocx bed, containing two rows of peas - Early Onward and Terrain - and now three rows of Beetroot, two of Boltardy and one of Crimson Globe.

The three older raised beds will soon be prepared for the new growing season too. One will host the beans (Runners and Climbing French Beans); one will host Cabbages (I have six different types on the go); and the third one will be filled with Lettuces and other salad crops.

I am gradually planting my seed Potatoes too. This year I am going to grow fewer than I have done the last couple of years. I plan to have only 12 containers this time, although they are mostly bigger ones than I have used before. So far I have planted 4 First Earlies and 4 Second Earlies. 8 more Second Earlies and 4 Maincrops (Pink Fir Apple) will follow in due course.

In due course the garden will also be filled-out with lots of pots of chillis and tomatoes, though the chillis are only just germinating and the tomatoes have yet to be sown!

Our weather is (as always) a big challenge: it has recently turned from cold and wet to cold and dry. Seeds need moisture to germinate, so I shall be keeping a careful eye on things. I made sure to water the drills before sowing the seeds, and if we don't have rain in the next few days I will have to hand-water the beds.

The Carrot bed

Yesterday was a good day for sowing seeds. It was cloudy but still. A still day is definitely best for sowing Parsnip seeds, which actually have "wings" to help them to disperse in windy conditions.

This morning I have sown seeds for 5 different types of Lettuce - Devin, Cervanek, Little Gem, Redin and Dubacek. Notice that four out of the five are Czech varieties. This is because I have found them to be really very good - better than most of the locally-available ones!  I put them all into one seed-tray because I will only need a few of each. This seed-tray is now sitting on an indoors windowsill. I'll move it outside into one of the mini-greenhouses when the seeds begin to germinate and then when the plants are big enough to handle, I will thin them out and transplant the best specimens into separate pots, or maybe straight into their growing-positions if these are free at the right time.

All gardeners have their own favourite methods of raising plants from seed, but this routine seems to work well for me: germinate seeds indoors in the warmth; after germination transfer them to the mini-greenhouses to maximise light while being protected from frost and wind; finally, transplant into raised beds when strong enough.


  1. Your garden beds look lovely and full of hope. I have started planting as well. You have inspired me to try broad beans, so I have them in the bed right now. My potatoes were planted out a month ago, so they look lovely and promising right now. I have only one variety though, Red Pontiac. We don't have any potato days near here that I am aware of, but I'm going to look into it.

    1. My policy is (where possible) to grow several varieties of the same crop, working on the principle that each year at least one of them will do well!

  2. Dry isn;t a word in our gardening vocabulary yet so the frenzy is on hold.

  3. How exciting! You are a few weeks ahead of us - the first seeds to be sown outdoors will be the turnips in the first week of April, weather permitting. It's -4C right now, so no outdoor gardening tasks for me today!


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