Funny that Soilman should choose to leave a comment on my blog about the folly of early planting and specifically mention that parsnips don’t need to be planted yet. Before receiving the comment I’d been building myself into a crescendo of dithery panic.
We were on the plot this weekend getting in an urgent planting of spuds and a sowing of summer cabbages before the sociable Easter flurry comes upon us. I set up a mobile hotline with my Dad who was also on his plot and expected him to keep me informed of what he was planting. He mentioned ridiculous things like runner beans (he’ll be lucky!) but failed to inform me about parsnips which very clearly need planting now.
He slipped the surreptitious sowing, subtely into the conversation a few days later.
Soilman’s comment didn’t come through in time to calm me down, and anyway, Lynn had already been out on an emergency parsnip sourcing exercise and successfully provided me with some fresh tender and true seed.
So straight out of work yesterday I took a bit of a detour and managed to plant two rows of parsnips in the twilight. I’m looking forward to the clock change so I can sow my way along a semi-straight drill in daylight.
Also managed to pick another bucket of purple sprouting broccoli so the journey turned out to be quite worthwhile.
I woke at the crack of dawn, dreaming of crunchy roast potatoes. Fortunately I didn’t have a stash of Kerr’s Pink in the flat or I think I would have been chomping away long before 5am.
Not one to delay gratification for too long, I waited for daylight and then headed down to the plot to source a roast dinner of monster proportions.
It was a bit too wet and claggy for doing anything awfully productive but I gathered up the wilting courgette plants and stuffed them into the compost bins with a load of decaying comfrey and then turned my attentions to the joyful task of harvesting.
I’m good at picking and may have got a little carried away considering I only have myself to feed – I suspect I may explode after tonights meal.
Not content with the bucket of winter roots, I thought I ought to try out the peculiar purple sprouts, I don’t want any nasty surprises at Christmas.
When I came to bag everything up, it became clear that I had at least a months worth of roasts in my sacks and so I split the bounty 3 ways to share with my neighbours.
Turned out to be a very profitable move as I ended up swapping one fine parsnip for a bottle of wine – a perfect kind of alchemy. I’ll be growing more of those next year!
I gave myself a day off the running so I could enjoy another leisurely session on the plot. I carried on where I left off yesterday and weeded most of the remaining beds. The peas are getting a bit lanky as well so I stuck some titchy sticks in to keep them on the straight and narrow til the weather becomes more stable and I can remove the mesh cover. There were quite a few empty stations where the peas either didn’t germinate or were swiped by meeces so I popped in a few spare seeds, hopefully they’ll come along soon enough and pad out the row.
Before I came down to the allotment this morning, I passed by Shakti’s for breakfast. She posed the question “If we ran out of money tomorrow, what would we live off from your plot?” About 3 months ago she sowed the pea seeds that I supported above and can’t quite believe that we aren’t eating fresh garden peas yet. I don’t thinks she’s altogether too impressed with the DIY food malarkey, life is just a little more instantaneous down at Tescos.
On arrival I surveyed the crops with a hungry mind but was somewhat disillusioned. I think the only currently edible produce is cabbage and some other critter already seems to have eaten way more than I will ever get to enjoy. Don’t these look like a pitiful bunch?
So in answer to the question, I think we would survive for about a week on limp cabbage leaf. Life would then get tough unless I could find an inspiring recipe for roasted bind weed and couch grass roots. I’ve got enough of those to keep us cooking on gas til the peas start cropping!
More seeds went in today as well, I’ve sown half a row of carrots – early nantes that came free with “Grow It” magazine and a full row of parsnips. Both have gone in the space I cleared yesterday by removing the salad leaves.
I’ve also started a batch of aubergine and tomato seeds in individual modules. My flat is no go zone for anything green, within 24 hrs every living form of plant life collapses in an irradiated heap. Quite concerning but I seem to cope unscathed. Anyway, the seeds need to live somewhere warmer and brighter than the shed, but safer than my flat so I’ve sent them to germinate at Shakti’s house. She accepted them willingly so I’ll see what other delicate little seedlings I can pass into her care. She’ll soon discover the joys of DIY food growing.