Parsnip seed tapes laid out ready to cover with soil
Seed Tapes: Suttons Seeds sent me two large packs of seed tapes absolutely free, and I had already also bought some seed tapes from Kings Seeds - parsnips and carrots. I have never used these tapes before, but for root vegetables
in particular I always seem to sow too thickly and thin insufficiently, so the though of the spacing being predetermined had its attractions.
I measured the tapes out carefully and laid them in grooves in the soil, already watered as per instructions.
What wasn't clear however was how much the wet paper would stretch, so my careful alignment ended up a bit off. I don't suppose it really matters. The parsnips from Kings Seeds are Palace, which I have grown before, but Suttons had substituted a variety
called Lisbonnais, which is new to me. It'll be interesting to compare the two, being grown alongside each other, for flavour and size. I usually sow a few radish seeds along the drill to act as a place marker, as parsnips seem to germinate
relatively slowly, but I didn't think to do this until after I had covered over the tapes. Rather than rather mess about, I sowed a row of radishes crosswise in the bed to mark the far end of the row, as past this I am planning to plant out some sunflowers.
At the closer end are Calendula seeds already.
The carrots are a variety called Sweet Candle from Kings Seeds, and Nantes 2 from Sutton. I hope these last will give some early little carrots, The Autumn Kings can go in to follow the lettuce plants. The
carrot bed is covered with enviromesh supported by blue water pipe hoops, as without this protection, carrot fly grubs infest the developing roots and then they are inedible. After years of attempting to repel this pest by planting onions etc alongside
the carrots to confuse the flies with their smell, the only way I can grow decent, edible carrots is under the cover of this extra fine netting. It might not be pretty but it is effective. I might have to resort to using it over the leeks later in the year
too, after last year's leek moth attack.
It has been a bit of a week for carrot sowing: this morning I helped Rowan aged three sow one of her Christmas presents - some Paris Marketmore carrots, in a large pot in her garden. It was part of a Peter
Rabbit themed present from her auntie, and she has been bursting to sow these seeds for weeks.
As I had the tapes, I have also put in some Kohl Rabi, which I have never successfully grown so far, and some Purple Top Milan Turnips, both in the brassica
bed. The remainder of that space will be filled with summer cabbages, which will be planted out once they are large enough. They are currently at home waiting to be pricked out into individual pots. Must keep them safe from the attentions of the white
butterflies which are beginning to appear.