THE TRIBUTE GUIDE TO WHAT TO PLANT NOW
Blog by the Two Thirsty Gardeners.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been spending our (government endorsed) exercise time down on the allotment, tending to our perennial veg and plants. Our hop plants have been growing like the clappers so have required constant attention to keep them in check, whilst the vast heritage rhubarb collection has been churning out a never ending supply of stalks which we’ve attempted to chomp through via the medium of crumbles and pies.
Our raised beds have been weeded, hoed and are ready to go but isolation restrictions have meant we’ve not been able to get our grubby hands on any seeds to plant. With news that garden centres are finally allowed to fling open their doors, we’ve set our sights on some tasty veg to plunge in our plot.
Here’s three fine vegetables to sow right now.
Our favourite variety: Boltardy
You can sow beetroot seeds directly into the ground from late March – you can also start them off in seed trays and plant them out when established. Beetroot prefers to grow in well drained soil and will thrive in fertile condition, so if possible, dig in some well-rotted manure prior to planting. Sow 2 to 3 seeds at 15 cm intervals in 3 cm deep rows. Harvest beetroot when they reach golf ball size – this is when they are at their most flavoursome.
Our favourite variety: Chantenay
Carrots love light soil with good drainage. Sow the seeds in shallow rows, 5 cm apart, and cover with a fine layer of soil. Keep the soil moist, and be wary of the dreaded carrot fly. This winged nuisance will lay eggs in the soil near your plants and the emerging larvae will then head towards your carrot crop and chomp through the roots. Fortunately, female carrot flies are low level fliers, so by planting carrots in tall pots, you can keep them out of reach. Covering your crops with a fine mesh fleece will also help, and planting chives amongst your carrots will put them off the scent.
Our favourite variety: Perfection
There’s nothing finer than a home grown pea plucked straight from the pod, and growing them is easy peasy. Sow seeds evenly in flat-bottomed trenches, around 5 cm deep and 15 cm wide, cover with soil and firm down. Pea plants need support, so push twiggy sticks into the soil for them to clamber up. Pigeons love pecking at newly emerging pea plants, so you’ll be wise to create a bird scarer to keep them off your crop. Old CDs dangling on garden twine work quite well and, as a bonus, they will cast groovy rainbow disco lights over your plot when the sun catches them.
We are also experimenting with rows of dangling beer bottle caps which jangle when the wind blows. We can’t yet vouch for their effectiveness as a bird scarer, but it’s been great fun emptying the bottles all the same.