Monthly Archives: February 2014

Long Carrots Sown

In the previous post I mentioned I’d soaked the carrot box a few times to try and ensure the sand was as compact as possible. At the weekend I had time to core out and fill the holes. This was the first time I’d used this method and fortunately had Darren on hand to give me some pointers and he also did a fair amount of the work as well which meant I was just about finished in time at 6 p.m. on Sunday when darkness fell. Without his help I would have needed another weekend to get the job done! For anyone who has not done this before there’s definitely a knack to it and quite a bit of hard work involved!

Carrot box

I had marked out a grid to get 25 holes in but on reflection this was too many to fit in so I ended up with 20 holes leaving a reasonable amount of space in the centre. Hopefully this will allow enough air circulation around the carrots and allow each one to grow successfully to full size.

Each hole is 3 inches in diameter and 4 foot deep. Gradually the sand is removed using 3 different pipe diameters with the final one being the 3 inch pipe. Then each hole is filled with a mix of Levington’s F2S and calcified seaweed. The filling takes the longest to complete – using a funnel the mix is slowly added ensuring that no sand is knocked into the hole. The mix is “tamped down” after every funnel full using a broom handle that is carefully lowered down the centre, again making sure no sand is knocked down the hole. Finally the mix reaches the top and is tamped down again until it is slightly raised above the level of sand. Once all the holes are filled 4 carrots seeds are sown into each one and then a layer of fleece on top and polythene to keep the rain off. Then it’s over to nature to take its’ course over the next couple of weeks.

There’s a lot of work that goes into this when you consider the F2S is shredded and bagged up initially then mixed with the calcified seaweed added. Then it’s a days work to core out and fill the holes – I just hope it works after all that!!

Soaked!

February is a busy time of year if you’re planning to show root veg in one of the summer/autumn shows as long parsnips and carrots have a long growing season and there’s lots of preparation needed before you sow. Parsnips are the earliest sowings I do outside and I grow a few long parsnips in 6″ pipes. The mix is part peat, soil, silver sand with added bonemeal, dolomite lime, superphosphate, sulphate of potash and calcified seaweed. I then filled 10 pipes and sowed six seeds of Gladiator in each one.

parsnip seeds

I like to sow the seeds in a star shape around the centre of the pipe with the seeds side on to prevent rotting in the damp compost. I’m hoping to enter a set of 3 in the NVS South West DA show that I entered at the end of August last year.

all tucked up

I then covered them with fleece and polythene. Parsnips take quite a while to germinate so these’ll be all tucked up until, hopefully, I see plenty of healthy seedlings coming through.

The next job was to soak the box I made for the long carrots. It’s important to make sure the sand is well compacted so it can be cored out cleanly and the level of the sand does not sink after you’ve sowed the carrots. I’ll soak the box three or four times before the weekend when I’m hoping to core out and fill each hole with a mix of Levington’s F2S and calcified seaweed. Hopefully I will fit 25 carrots in; that’s the plan anyway!

soaking

So another busy weekend to come following which I’ll be preparing a small box for the stump carrots to go in by which time it’ll be mid-March and the general sowing gets going with a vengeance. Then it won’t be long until the potatoes go in and the season really takes off!!