Tag Archives: Pipes

All Tucked Up!

All tucked up

Despite the sub-zero temperatures the work has started on the Two Chances Plot. The mixes for the long parsnips and carrots have been made, passed through the shredder and the pipes are filled. I was going to sow this weekend but it’s too cold so I spent the time fixing four layers of bubblewrap around the pipes, then a couple of layers of fleece, then two bench covers – hopefully this will help warm the soil ready for next weekend’s sowing. There’ll be 6 pipes for the parnsips and 16 for the carrots so I should get some good ones for the end of August show I’ll hopefully be entering. The varieties will be Palace (parsnips) and New Red Intermediate (carrots) and I also have some bins to sow a stump carrot variety Sweet Candle.

Apart from starting some chillies and aubergines off indoors, planting the garlic out, and a few shallots and broad beans in the greenhouse that’s all I’ve done so far. I think it’s going to be a busy March,hopefully with some milder weather!!

And We’re Off Again!

At last I’ve sown the first seeds of 2012 after being uncharacteristically patient over the last few weeks! I filled half a dozen of the 6″ pipes to try some long parnsips for the New Forest Show at the end of July. They are Medwyns seed, variety Gladiator, and they have about five foot of mix to go at before they hit the soil underneath the pipes.

Sowing parnsips seeds is quite a fiddly job at the best of times but when you’re trying to get a few seeds as close as possible to the centre of the pipe the only way is with a pair of tweezers. As you can see I managed to get six seeds on end in each pipe so fingers crossed I should get at least half of those germinate in each one and then thin to the strongest.

Next job is to fill the pipes for the long carrots. It finally feels like the new season has begun!!

Pipes are In………again!

Another job on the show veg front is almost complete. The pipes are in the raised bed and ready to be filled. Eventually I’ll construct an environmesh cover to keep the dreaded carrot fly out. There’s 12 6″ diameter pipes and 16 4″ diameter (the ones that I started with last year). The first job is to fill up half a dozen of the larger pipes ready for the parsnips. I’ll be sowing in a couple of weeks so will fill the pipes up next weekend and allow them to settle before sowing a few seeds in each one and covering with fleece until they germinate and can be thinned.

Looks like an alien installation at present!

200th post – Six of the Best!

You may remember my Pipes of Peace post from earlier in the year or whatever it was called. I had 8 drain pipes growing long parsnips and 6 with long carrots. I ‘harvested’ the parsnips last week for my local show and I managed to get the six best parsnips I’ve ever grown:

The variety was Gladiator and they were about 3′ 3″ long with a great skin condition. A very successful experiment.

We had them with a roast dinner the day after the show and they tasted lovely, all that nonsense about letting the frost get to them, just stick ’em in the fridge for a couple of days to sweeten them up a bit. But whatever you do don’t get burnt!

This is my 200th post over the last 21 months. And I’ve enjoyed every one but most of all your comments and feedback. Thanks to you all!! Please scroll down to the bottom of the post page for the comments box.

A Bit Thin on Top

Time has come to thin the long carrots and parsnips I sowed in pipes a few weeks ago. Following an in-depth, scientific analysis, and after weighing up a long list of pros and cons I went for the ‘pull’ approach rather than the ‘snip’ approach advocated by Darren. Two reasons, I couldn’t find any scissors, and I thought it would be a lot faster (it was getting a bit nippy outside this evening). And I was right, in a couple of minutes the job was done and I was back indoors with the kettle on!

And here’s the results. Now all they need to do is grow. With one huge variable in the equation……me!! Will I be able to nurture these chaps to the August show bench??

And to top it all off the Two Chances blog received a nice mention from Dobbies. Just waiting for that chap from the Observer Sunday supplement to give me a call now. Not a bad day all in all!

The Circle of Life

The circle of life was completed today on the Two Chances Veg Plot as far as my parnsips were concerned. A few are harvested every Sunday to go with the roast dinner and today was no exception. It was also sowing day for my first ever long parnsip attempt in the pipes now installed in one section of the raised bed.

The mix had been in for three days and had hopefully settled as much as it was going to. After a thorough soaking 5 Gladiator seeds were popped into the centre of each pipe, sideways on, then lightly covered, and the end of the pipe then covered with polythene to keep them a bit warmer and protected until germination. Now it’s just a waiting game as parsnip germination can be very slow. Hopefully all the seeds will come up and I’ll eventually thin down to the strongest one. Over the next few weeks I’ll sow more directly into the beds but using a station sowing method into cores of the same mix spaced every 6 inches or so. This should hopefully give me some nice, large parsnips come Autumn. Then I’ll be preparing my mix for the long and stump carrots that will go in over the next 2-3 weeks.

Elsewhere on the plot the digging is now finished. A top layer of well rotted chicken manure is hopefully drawing up the worms to work their magic and will be lightly forked in ahead of planting. The broad beans sowed in Autumn are about 4″ high and looking strong, as are the onion sets. Two PSB plants have survived, one of which is the largest I’ve ever grown, not in height as it’s only about 4′, but it’s a monster width-wise and I’m hoping it will crop heavily soon.

Inside I’ve pricked out the chilli, pepper and onion seedlings. There’s a tray of Brussel Sprouts (Bedford) germinated and tomatoes have been sown (Marmande, Gardener’s Delight, Moneymaker, Tumbling Tom Red, F1 Incas & Golden Peardrop). I’ll be sowing more brassicas this week, cauliflower, cabbage, calabrese and PSB.

So with March approaching the activity level is starting to warm up like the weather will be hopefully. There’ll be lots to do over the next few weeks with sowing reaching frenetic levels and seed trays on every available windowsill in the house. Hopefully there will be no late cold snap, March will be nice and mild, and we’ll all be off to a flyer!!

As mentioned on UKVG there’s a new on-line publication for children and schools called Grow Time which is packed full of information to get children into growing their own fruit and veg. Well worth checking out.

It’s our local Horticultural Society’s Jumble Sale on Saturday so if you’re in South Wilts why not come along and support us.

And finally there’s a Seedy Sunday event this Sunday in Downton, South Wilts. I’ll be there as I’ve got nowhere near enough seeds ;).

Pipes Are In!

This afternoon I got the rest of my pipes in. Regular readers will know I’m starting to dabble with growing some long carrots and parsnips. I’m going to grow these in pipes, black 4″ soil pipe that I bought in 7′ lengths and cut in half. They are buried in a raised bed and the pipes will be filled with a growing mix which will hopefully produce some lovely, long roots. I’ll also grow them direct in the main bed but rather than just sowing in the soil I’ll core out at regular spaces and fill with a compost mix to see if I can grow a better quality veg. Darren popped up to take a look and on his advice I spaced them out a bit more to allow room for the top growth.

I’ve started chitting my first and second earlies today in the cool conservatory. Lining them up in egg-boxes seems to be everyone’s preferred method and I’ll plant them out in six weeks time as long as the soil feels warm enough.

In my quest to learn more about growing veg I’ve joined the National Vegetable Society (NVS). It’s £17 a year, you get an excellent quarterly magazine, regular talks and visits run through county district associations and access to the on-line forum where members share advice and experience. The first meeting of the Hampshire DA is on Tuesday with a talk from Sherie Plumb on Runner Beans and Cauliflowers. Sherie is renowned as an expert potato grower sweeping all before her at National level, and her runners aren’t bad either. I’ll shall learn a great deal on Tuesday I’m sure.

There’s lots to do in the garden in February, for a list of jobs click here. Please add anything you can think of in the comments.

It’s our Horticultural Society Jumble Sale on Saturday 27th Feb from 2pm at Winterslow Village Hall, Middleton Rd, Winterslow, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 1PQ. All manner of jumble, bric-a-brac, books etc will be on sale to raise money for the Society. Come along if you’re in the area. For more information click here. For a map click here.

If your in the South Wilts/West Hants area look out for the ‘Seedy Sunday’ event on 27th February between 2 and 4pm at Downton Memorial Hall. A seed and plant swap plus advice on growing veg and many other topics, it looks like a good event. Free entry, refreshments and children’s activities. For more information click here.

Downton Memorial Hall
The Borough, Downton

Lastly, if you have young children, don’t forget Mr Bloom’s Nursery starts Monday on Cbeebies, 10.05am and 2.05pm. I first heard of the programme reading Dawn Issac’s Little Green Fingers blog, who was involved with it’s development. We’ll be watching!!

Ok, that’s my cup of tea finished, now back out to get the raspberry canes in. Hope you’re having a good weekend!