According to Thompson & Morgan today is national pumpkin sowing day. Now I must admit that pumpkins are a long way from being one of my favourite vegetables. A very very long way in fact. But I do like squashes. A lot. Butternut being an absolute must have although my success rates are a bit hit and miss as I generally plant far too early and the poor seedlings struggle in the cold soil and air of the UK spring. So maybe whilst everyone is planting their pumpkins today I’ll do the same with my squashes. These are all voraciously hungry plants in terms of food and water. Starved of either for even a short time and you’ll be let down so make sure your plants are sitting on nice rich piles of well rotted manure and compost. I’ll be digging nice deep holes and filling with the good stuff. This will help water retention as well. My seedlings will be started in pots in a warmer location and moved in to place when I can rely on the weather not to let me down.
It’s mid March – time to plant your onion & shallot sets. Get the soil warm, fed and ready. By mid June/July you’ll be pickling and making onion marmalade to your heart’s content
So I’ve started a Youtube channel. It’s called Farmer Brown’s Garden and will offer a weekly clip on what to do in the garden, various tips and other stuff. My first rough and ready foray is available below. Feel free to subscribe and pass on any comments ideas or tips you may have
This dear reader is where some of us should be thinking of heading. If we consider the impact of our lives upon the planet everything we do in should be focussed, oriented towards making our bootprint (footprint is too genteel) smaller, less impactful. Large scale intensive farming is heavily dependent upon petrochemically derived fertilisers. Moreover it is dependent on finite (and dwindling) phosphate reserves that also cost energy to transport onto our land. If we want to address the issues of our energy intensive lives a good place to start is not at the periphery of our mundane lives but at the heart. Or more accurately the stomach. By lowering the carbon impact of the food we put in our mouths we can all make a massive difference to the planets energy usage. Oil based chemicals are vital to our modern lives. Where we dont’t need to be using them we shouldn’t. Where we do they should be used for the most valuable tasks (pharmaceuticals, manufacturing etc.) Local growing and eating, low impact growing, seasonal buying. Really really simple stuff that makes a huge difference.
The weather has turned again and there’s a sprinkling of dewey frost on the ground. It means that my eagerness to plant will only come back to bite me as those seedlings not hardy enough to brave the elements will struggle to flourish in the coming weeks. Timing is everything and one of these days I will learn to wait til May for my more touchy vegetables. The clay soil I have will need a lot of work over the coming months to start to turn it into something that can crop heavily. The pink fir apple potatoes are coming up well as well as the salad leaves. My beetroot went in too soon (as did the parsley). Conversely the coriander in pots are sprouting merrily and should be large enough to crop nicely as soon as the warm weather comes. My take on all of this – wait a week at least before you think you should be sowing something. By then the weather would have changed again to force you into waiting another week.
We all love beetroot in our house. Well at least the adults do. We eat it in salads, roasted with the sunday lunch and grated into Coleslaw. Most of all though we juice it. I would certainly attest that it makes me feel so much better and I drink it before I work out and also in the mornings as part of my breakfast. Such a simple food that we’ve eaten for years in this country. This article from the BBC just goes to show that the next wonder food is not always the one found on the side of a himalayan mountain or in some jungle in South America. Get those seeds in now. Rich soil and plenty of manure will make leaves but it will also help make lovely big juicy roots. PLenty of water as well – they dont like it dry in my experience. But don’t flood them