Spring sowing


Week 2 – Sunday 7 April to Saturday 13 April 2013


At last I am ready to start planting.  The weather has warmed up considerably over the past few days although the wind is still a bit chilly.  On account of the overnight frosts I had to delay my planting programme by one day but spent the time instead in planning and reading two excellent guides to organic vegetable growing, “The Vegetable and Herb Expert” by Dr D.G. Hessayon and “Organic Gardening” by Geoff Hamilton.


I love fresh new potatoes and think our customers will too.  Accordingly I have decided only to plant “First Earlies”.  We will continue to buy in  maincrop varieties from local growers.  I have planted “Home Guard” seed potatoes on the recommendation of Georgina and “Anya” potatoes because they are a bit different and I like the nobbly texture of them.  I have given over the whole of a 15 m2 bed to the potatoes.  As it is the 2nd bed in from the North I will call it Bed B.


Légumes fix nitrogen into the soil and thus fertilise it ready for the next crop.  They are thus very useful to the organic gardener.  Moreover I love eating peas and mangetouts raw whilst gardening so they are an important crop. As they grow quite tall and need a bit of shelter from the wind, I have allocated them the bed adjacent to the Northern hedge, Bed A.  I have started with a block of “Twinkle” peas as they mature quickly and “Oregon Sugar Pod” mangetouts as this variety is recommended by Dr Hessayon.  I am planting the seeds in batches every 10 daysor so to ensure a succession of mature plants.  Planting in blocks rather than rows means that the shoots will support each other, although I will be adding some canes for support in due course.


Although rhubarb likes the Sun, it will tolerate shady conditions so I have planted it in the furthest corner of Bed D, ie the shadiest part of my plot.  As I love rhubarb I have planted 5 crowns.  I have selected Timperley Early on the advice of Dr Hessayon (and because we happened to have that variety in stock).  I am in trouble because Hilary told me to dig in some well rotted manure first and I forgot.  I did not realise that the bagged manure we sell is already well rotted.  I said I wasn’t a gardener.

Swiss Chard

I will be honest, I don’t know how one cooks or eats chard but I love the colour and feel it must be an attractive vegetable to serve on the plate.  On that basis and because it will grow happily in a shaded spot I have decided to grow it.  I have selected “Bright Lights” because I like the varied colours of the stalks and have planted it next to my rhubarb.


Asparagus thrives in light, sandy soil and thus Formby is one of the centres for its growth commercially.  However, despite having Formby on our doorstep, it is best eaten very fresh.  Indeed it starts to deteriorate 45 minutes after it is picked.  It is thus a must for the allotment.  As my soil is heavy I have built a raised bed at the open end of Bed A where it will get the most sunshine.  I have filled the bed with a mixture of sand and compost.  Hilary bought me 10 1st year crowns of “Guelph Millenium” over the internet from a nursery in Kent.  I will have to wait 2 years before I obtain a full harvest but I am confident the wait will be worthwhile.