Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring has sprung ...

April is living up to it's reputation as being a wet month, one minute we have a beautiful clear blue sky then 5 minutes later it's bloody pouring down!!

I've just had the allotment mower serviced and last weekend we managed to take it to the plot on Sunday afternoon, as we left the house the sky became darker and darker, as I started the mower it proceeded to snow like mad, I carried on mowing looking like a walking snowman, 10 minutes later we had blazing sunshine again ... British weather!

On Monday I went up to the plot in the afternoon and ended up spending approx. 4 hours there. It was so peaceful and apart from one other person arriving for about an hour I had the entire site to myself.I have been trying out chitting parsnip seeds prior to sowing them, this process is very simple and hopefully eliminates the renowned poor germination rate of parsnips. An empty tupperware type container is used with a wet paper towel in the bottom, the seed are sprinkled onto the paper and the lid put on, this is then left in a warm place (airing cupboard, on top of radiator etc.) for the seeds to sprout, it takes about 5 days to a week. Once this has happened you sow the seed into a seed drill using a pair of tweezers to gently transfer them. I station sowed 3 seeds every 6-9", when they show on the surface they can be thinned out to leave the best one.It sounds quite fiddly but it really isn't and hopefully it means that you are guaranteed a perfect row of parsnips. I also put in a row of unchitted parsnip seed so it will be interesting to see if there is much difference between them. (Varieties, Tender and true and white gem)

Chitting Parsnip seed ... 'White Gem'

One of the things I love about allotments is the make do and mend mentality, my shed is a prime example of that, it looks as if it has had another layer added every 10 years for the last 40 years and it leans slightly to one side, it's so ramshackle looking that when D's Mum and Dad were with us his Mum thought it was just a pile of old wood and metal waiting to be used for something, she didn't realise that it was a shed!! For ages I've been wanting to make the inside look a little better and I decided to staple all the old seed packets to the wall to almost wallpaper it, there are some lovely designs on the packets and it also becomes a visual reminder of what you have planted in previous seasons and years.

Seed packet wallpaper (and brewing tea!)

The last couple of jobs were to sow some carrots 1 row each of Early Nantes 2, Fly away and Amsterdam forcing and then dig over one of the beds on the new plot to put onions in.


Jo said...

I don't know about the British weather holding you back, your plot looks beautiful. I wouldn't know it was a photo of your plot in April if you hadn't mentioned it.

I chitted my parsnip seeds last year. I'm growing in containers, but doing it this way was still worthwhile. I had a good germination rate using this method. I kept my tupperware container on top of the combination boiler, and most of the seeds germinated.

Great idea about the seed packet wallpaper. I'm going to pinch that one for when I get my own plot.


glosterwomble said...

Thanks Jo that's really nice of you! Glad you like the idea of the wallpaper!!

Paul and Melanie said...

Wow, it's all looking great Mr Womble! :) It all looks fantasticly neat and tidy for this time of year, feel free to come and help with ours if you run of of jobs... lol ;)

glosterwomble said...

Ta very much Mr. Cuke, it's not bad, even if I say so myself! I'd love to help but mine is seriously eating time at the moment, I spent 7 hours there yesterday!! SEVEN HOURS! How can someone spend so much time at the allotment!