This whole allotment stuff has been bit of a seed(y) business recently; romanesco cauliflower, carrots, peas, spinach, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, cucamelons, and, of course, my darling pumpkins have all been sown within the last couple of weeks.
This year we are trying a different approach with the parsnips. Last year most of ours failed, which may (or may not) have been due to the variety: Albions which we had less of did brilliantly, but Countesses failed miserably. Last year, I also got enough of the somewhat annoying 'are you a weed or are you a parsnip seedling' game. Maybe this is the reason for the failed parsnips- I weeded them all, hehe, but I'm not admitting to anything... So this year, we decided to start the parsnips off in peat pots in a propagator. The seeds have germinated well and the little seedlings have now been planted outside. So far they have all survived in the cold and rainy environment. We cut the bottoms of the peat pots off so that the tap roots don't get stuck. We didn't want to put all our eggs in to one basket, or seeds in a pot in this case, and have sown some directly into the ground too, so I will get to play my weed or seed game again, hehe. I'll keep you posted.
Then to my favourite subject; pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins. I'm sure it's come across that I love growing, cooking and eating pumpkins. And just looking at them. Last year I wrote a little more about my obsession with pumpkins which can be found here.
We are growing 5 different varieties this year; traditional Charmants, tasty Crown Princes, little Hooligans and fascinating Turk's Turbans. The fifth one? Atlantic Giant. I know, crazy. From time to time I've played with the idea of growing a giant pumpkin, but often thought it doesn't really make sense. The pumpkin with it's vine will take a lot of growing space, it will require a substantial amount of feeding, I can't really bring it home (although it would make an interesting feature in the living room..) and will a pumpkin of 100 to 200 pounds even taste good? Aided by a conversation at work, I thought why not and got a packet of Atlantic Giant seeds so the experiment has started!
This year we have trialled with a small plastic greenhouse and so far our experience has been good- our seedlings seem to have enjoyed their time in it and the seedlings are reaching quite heights- have a look at the seedlings our Instagram account here (we finally managed to create an account and I'm now seriously addicted, of course). Well, I guess this means only one thing: ladies and gentlemen, this is the official start of the 2014 Pumpkin Watch!
How do you start your parsnips off? Are you growing any pumpkins this year? Have you ever grown a giant pumpkin? Any tips on how to make them grow giant?
Mr and Mrs V x