The Pipes are Calling

I’ve finally started getting my pipes in. What’s this got to do with growing veg you ask? Well over the past few months I’ve been planning to have a go at growing some prize winning veg on a very small scale concentrating on a few carrots and parsnips (the long carrot experiment part II, some of you will remember my pathetic effort last year!).

I could only find 4″ black drainpipes in the local DIY store, in 7 foot lengths. 6″ diameter is ideal for parnsips but to be honest if I get a parsnip big enough to get stuck in a 4″ pipe I’ll be chuffed! Cut in half I buried them in a section of raised bed. The pipes will be filled with the growing medium and should I manage to grow something longer than 3 and a half foot the tap root can keep going into the soil below which I can carefully dig out at show time in August (haha who am I kidding!). By part burying them in the raised bed I hope to avoid the hassle and expense of constructing some sort of frame to support the pipes. And I avoid the need for drums and tonnes of sand – don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out Darren’s method. 8 pipes are now in and I’ll buy enough for another 8 towards the end of the month. I’ll sieve the topsoil in the rest of the bed and core out a number of stations to fill with mix and sow stump carrots directly. I’ll also grow some stump carrots in sand in half barrels – with a variety of methods I’m hoping to get a decent result from one of them!

The seeds, from Medwyns, have arrived. I’ve gone for Gladiator for the long parsnip and Sweet Candle for stump carrots. I have some long carrot seeds left over from last year. The remainder of the parsnip seeds will go direct in the bed as they don’t last more than one season.

I also got round to planting my shallots. Traditionally they go straight in the plot on the shortest day but with the weather we’ve had I’m starting them off in 3″ pots with compost and some Vitax Q4 to get them going. There’s 5 Hative de Niort and the rest are Golden Gourmet that I grew last year.

The rest of the morning I spent digging over the plot which has now all been dug apart from the patch of parsnips and PSB left. I’ll dig in some well rotted chicken manure and I should then be ready for the new season.

Tomorrow I’ll plant the raspberry canes I bought a few weeks ago and put these bulbs in containers – Rach picked them up for 50p each from B&Q. I’m hoping that I can get the Tulips to grow and flower in April and early May.

There’s been some good discussions recently on the UK Veg Gardener’s forum. If you’re not a member yet why not join and benefit from the expertise on the site?

Off the plot I’ve joined Hugh FW’s Fish Fight campaign – what a crazy policy we have were good fish get thrown back into the sea dead because the fishermen are not allowed to land them. Surely there’s a more common sense approach?

And don’t forget the Save Our Forest petition against the proposed goverment sell-off of some of our most precious woodlands. Over 135,000 of us have signed the petition so far, join us here. For more info click here.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.


40 responses to “The Pipes are Calling

  1. Good luck with the parsnips! Were the bulbs shooting as ours in the garden have shoots now.

    • Thanks Sue, yes there’s a few tiny shoots in the pack. I’m hoping, by planting them in containers that they get a boost and come good for spring.

  2. LOL Notes sure about the pipes are calling, more like the pipes of peace
    Nice one mate, I really hope they do the job but I can see no reason why.
    Does the soil support them enough? If not, knock 4 posts in the corners and put something round them to hold them in.
    I’m getting excited now. You’ll have to invite me over now
    Don’t forget to fill your pipes with 100% of the mix

    • Thanks Darren I think they’ll be OK when I top the soil up around them. Just need to buy some more which is OK as I’d earmarked some money for sand that I don’t need. You’ll have to pop round one weekend.

      • Sand would obviously be better but if you have the depth from the pipes anyway, I see no point as it is only the medium you are using to support the pipes

  3. Hey mate, you might want to edit your link to my set up to my latest post as the set up if finally complete after moving the final of 9 tonne bags of sand

  4. Now that is what I call dedication to the veg growing cause! I’ll be happy just to get some edible carrots and parsnips. Good luck!

  5. Crikey; serious parsnip endeavours there, matey. Respect.

  6. Wow, Damo, you’re really serious about this aren’t you? I wish you the best of luck. Showing is not my thing, but with Medwyn’s seeds and advice behind you, I’m expecting you to do well!

    • Thanks Mark, it’s on a very small scale and 90% of my space will still be dedicated to the main objective, growing some nice veg to feed my family.

  7. Where’s he getting his advise? because if it’s from me, then we are both up sh1t creek

  8. Good luck with the experiment. I look forward to seeing the results as well as what happens along the way.

  9. It’s not something that I’d do but I shall be following how you get on with great interest.
    Well done on mentioning two important campaigns, both of which I support wholeheartedly.

    • Thanks Flighty, it’s good to spread the word on these issues, both of which call for a Ministry of Common Sense really which sadly I can never see happening.

  10. Hope your ‘snips reward you for all your efforts! 🙂

  11. Go Damo, go Damo, Go Damo – hope you have a spectular sucess – I shall watch with interest 😉

  12. Clearly the Dynamo is already motoring this year!!!

  13. I’ve just blogged about Hugh’s Fish Fight Campaign too – craziness! Looking forward to seeing how your new carrot and parsnip method works out…

  14. Wow, serious endeavours at your plot! Hats off to you. Our parsnips were disappointingly small this year (suspect that the caterpillars eating the leaves didn’t help much). A very low germination rate didn’t help either. I have since read that parsnips are one vegetable that rarely grow from old seed, and I suspect that we were using the remains of last year’s packet. Fresh seed every year in future then, if we want parsnips…

    • Thanks very much I hope it’ll be worthwhile. Shame about your parsnips I’ve never had any pest trouble with them. You’re right, always fresh seed with parsnips which is no hardship for me as I love them!

  15. I’ve left you an award on my blog. Don’t feel under any pressure to accept it if you don’t wish to do so, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog.

  16. Wow! I can’t wait to get my garden started for next year, but I’ve never seen so much thought and effort go into gardening! Kuddo’s to you! Question for you from a very novice gardener…how do you keep carrots from splitting? I didn’t know there was any way to control that!

    • Thanks very much Lucy. I’ve struggled with carrots myself, they’re not the easiest veg to get right. Splitting is caused by irregular watering, so a dry spell followed by heavy rain could cause it. You need to keep the soil damp as much as you can. Not easy in our erratic British summers!

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