Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Swallows and (not Amazons) Blackbirds

On the same day that I saw shoots from my early potatoes - guess what? Yes, swallows swooping and chattering over the garden and the farm next door.

Mind you, in the midst of spring fever the blackbirds blotted their copybook by helping themselves to two rows of parsnip seedlings - or some tasty treat in the soil around the seedlings. I was trying an experiment this year; because parsnip seeds are so slow to germinate, I had sown them into toilet rolls and then, after germination planted them out still in the rolls. I wonder if the birds liked the cardboard? (See more information in an earlier post below).

So, I've just sown some more (direct into the soil and under a net), there's always something to catch up with isn't there.

5 comments:

Tea with Willow said...

I know what you mean about pesky blackbirds! We seem to have quite a few around the garden this year and they always seem to be fighting!

I've just put some potatoes into one of the beds we prepared last week and I've also tried growing some in large containers this year too. They seem to be flourishing and I'm having to add compost to cover the shoots at quite an alarming rate!

Good luck with your parsnips!

Willow

Heskie said...

We have a container potato growing competition as part of our Hort. Soc. Summer Show here and give out a single variety of potato in February (this year to about 30 entrants!) It is amazing just how much of a crop can be grown in a container.

Tea with Willow said...

I have a question about onions Heskie - I read your info over on the right - I've only just planted my sets (& in a warm spell too! eeek!) ... will I have a complete disaster of a crop? I've never grown them before & just didn't get the beds prepared in time for earlier planting.

Willow

Heskie said...

I'd hate to think your first venture into onion-growing would turn out a disaster. The traditional thinking is that onions (and even more so garlic) need some cold to promote root development. Having said that, the recommended months for planting are March and April (except for autumn plantings) so there may be enough coldness still in the April nights.

Let's assume we don't have any more chilly nights, what's the worst that could happen. Your onion roots won't be so good as they might have been, so they will be more at risk in dry periods and will take up less nutrients from the soil. This could mean you will have to water them; it would, also help to give them a mulch of compost which will keep moisture in and also give some extra fertility to the soil. If they do get dry they may bolt (at least you'd get some onion seeds), you'd get smaller onions and they may not store so well.
But I did say, what's the worst that can happen - so all being well you won't have all that to worry about.
Fingers crossed!

PS - I don't want to create a scare, but I did hear a warning about Leek Moth (affects all alliums) - As you will have seen, I am a keen user of nets to keep out some pests. Anyway - have a look here: http://www.saundersallotment.co.uk/Tips.New%20Page%20(5).html

Tea with Willow said...

Thanks for that advice! I'll keep my fingers crossed for some cold nights. Maybe all is not lost! I'll go and check out that link and think about some netting.

I'm on a steep learning curve this year, as I'm new to veggie growing (apart from the odd crop of potatoes, tomatoes & salads previously) so it's all 'trial & error', but I guess that's how you learn the most!

Willow