With the days lengthening and sunshine warming the ground I felt it was time this weekend to get some root crops started. I checked the soil temperature of the ground I had prepared in late January and covered in cloches a few weeks ago. The surface was 20 degrees and an inch below ground 9 degrees, so ideal for starting carrots and parsnip. I sowed two early varieties of carrot; from Thompson and Morgan an F1 hybrid, Adelaide and a Dobies F1 variety called Rocket. I grow a parsnip called Gladiator which is resistant to canker and provides often very long roots indeed. I also sowed a short row of radish, Scarlet Globe and beetrot, Red Ace, an early variety that does well started under a cloche.
The broad bean called Bowland Beauty that I had started in the greenhouse in January needed planting out. Because they were getting a bit leggy and I hadn’t hardened them off in a cold frame I transplanted them into a bed manured this winter and covered them in a cloche. I also sowed a row of a very reliable early pea called Feltham First, again, covered with a cloche.
My tomatoes have been growing well in the propagator so today I have transplanted three varieties into 3 inch pots and put them back on the propagator to get established over the next week or so, at which time they will need to be transfered to the greenhouse bench.
Yesterday a neighbour called with her pockets filled with packets of chilli seeds. Sussy is Danish and is landlady to a Danish chilli collector who I have sent seeds to called Henrik. Now I have about thrity new varietes to add to my collection. Although I have six varieties growing in the propagator already I couldn’t resist trying some of his so I sowed a Habanero called Condor’s Beak,and three others; Brazilian Pumpkin, African Naga and Berbere. All very exciting.
At this time of year preparation is everything, so that when the conditions are right one can sow and transplant. To that end I will be repairing raised beds, manuring, liming and covering ground in the certain knowledge that March is a demanding time for us vegaholics, both outside and in teh greenhouse.