With milder weather forecast for the next few days I decided to get started and sow my long and stump carrots. Earlier than I would sow normally as they’re for the New Forest Show at the end of July.
And there’s added interest this year as the long carrots are my own re-selected seed strain from a set of 3 carrots I put to seed two years ago.
The seeds in the photo are just from the central seed head of one the carrots. There’s 100s, enough to keep me going for years.
I followed the same approach as last year coring out 16 holes in the sand box, filling with the compost mix and sowing 5 seeds in each one.
Then covered with fleece and clear polythene to keep them all wrapped up until the seeds germinate. The other box is for parsnips sown 3 weeks ago which should be coming through soon hopefully. They normally germinate in 3-4 weeks taking much longer than the carrots.
The stump carrots were sown in one of the new beds I put together last Autumn. It’s a 6 foot by 2 foot bed filled with grit sand – half way along the bed I’ve run some threaded bar across to stop them bowing with the weight of the sand. In this sized bed I can get 27 stations in. Each one is cored out to 16 inches deep and the variety I’m sowing is Sweet Candle. I’ve struggled to get decent short carrots before and I’m hoping this approach will prove successful. As with the longs the bed is covered with fleece and polythene. I have a small mesh tunnel to put over the bed once the polythene comes off to keep the carrot fly at bay.
So it’s all systems go on the plot and hopefully a few days of milder weather will see the carrots germinate in the next couple of weeks. From now on it starts to get busy with sowing starting with tomatoes / chillies etc. The potatoes are chitting indoors on south facing windowsills and will be started off towards the end of March. Lots to do!!
The New Forest Show is just a week away now and I have a few potential entries coming along nicely.
My favourite show veg are the long carrots and parsnips which look good at the moment. Of course you never know what the quality is like below the surface until they are pulled but judging by the top growth they should be good enough to enter.
The dwarf French beans are going crazy at the moment with loads for the kitchen and the best ones starting to be cut and saved for the show. I have 25 plants in a 6′ square area and any excess beans will go in the freezer for the Autumn.
This year is the first time I’ve grown peas for show and have a lovely crop at the moment. The bottom ones will start to go over now but I will have plenty to select from on the day.
There’s two sides to the vegetable competition at the New Forest Show – the “Open” side which anyone can enter and the National Vegetable Society member’s side which is the NVS Southern Branch Championship. Classes are slightly different on each side. For example the Open side does not have long root classes but does have cherry tomatoes which the NVS side does not.
I’m entering potatoes, stump carrots, beetroot and cherry tomatoes on the Open side and long carrots, parnsips, white potatoes, coloured potatoes, peas, french beans and beetroot on the NVS side.
So this weekend will be a busy one. The potato haulms were cut back a week ago and the bags moved under cover. I wanted to leave them as long as possible to allow them to grow but also needed to give them enough time to dry out and the skins to harden. This allows cleaning without the skins breaking the day before the show. If they are lifted and then cleaned straight away the skins will break. This is the one thing that can give the edge at Village Show level as most entries will not be cleaned to the same extent as the bigger shows.
On Saturday I’ll take a look and see what the potatoes are like, hopefully I will be able to group them into sets and have the three entries I need. On Sunday I will pull and clean the roots and beetroot – keeping them wrapped in wet cloth (or dry cloth for the parsnips) right up to putting them on the show bench. This leaves the potatoes to be cleaned on Monday morning and wrapped in dry cloth with the cherry tomotoes and peas to be picked last thing. Hopefully by then I will have enough French beans cut to choose a set from.
Then on Monday evening its off down to the show to stage which takes place between 6pm and 8am on Tuesday with people travelling a fair distance to enter. Then it’s judging time with the anticipation of a possible card come lunchtime on Tuesday. We’ll see……….there’s a lot of work to do before then!!
Posted in Grow Veg
Tagged beetroot, Carrots, cherry tomatoes, Dwarf French Beans, long carrots, National Vegetable Society, New Forest Show, NVS, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Stump Carrots