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!


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!!


7 responses to “Soaked!

  1. I would have thought the weather would have managed the soaking for you Damo.

    • I know Sue every time I step foot outside at the moment it starts raining! We have been very fortunate here though, it helps living on the side of a hill nowhere near a river thankfully!

  2. Dedication 🙂

  3. If anyone ever doubted that gardening can be scientific, surely this is evidence enough! I wonder what your neighbours think those pipes are…?
    Do you leave all six parsnips to grow in each pipe, or do you thin them out?

    • Fortunately I have a good 6 foot fence all round so the neighbours don’t see the pipes. I will thin down to the strongest, most central seedling which will hopefully grow into a good specimen. I’m now onto the long carrot box which is even more scientific!

  4. Pingback: Long Carrots Sown | Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

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