Monday, 4 August 2008

Rained all night ! 04.03.08

Welcome back to another quick update at Reads Retreat, where a quick break in the weather enabled an outstanding sowing job to be completed:
I had a vacant raised bed, just 3' x 3', and this was my choice planting. 2 Varieties that I've wanted to try for a couple of years now.
The Swiss Chard (v. Zilver) is a renowned cropper that with a bit of TLC should get through the autumn and well into the winter, whilst the Turnip (v. Golden Ball) should grow tennis ball sized roots, whilst at the same time providing some turnip tops for use as a nourishing "winter green". What's more, buying good seed from reputable sources can only help with this latest venture. I'm hoping the mild weather continues to aid the germination.
Initially, the Swiss chard was planted around the perimeter of the bed, approx 2" from the boards, and about 2" apart. If all these seeds germinate they can be thinned out later on, the thinnings then being either cooked as baby leaves, or replanted elsewhere on the plot. Next, I marked out 5 rows (about 6" apart ) by pressing a cane into the surface of the bed. This provides drills deep enough to accommodate the Turnip seed, without causing disruption to the soil immediately adjacent. The seed was then sown fairly generously ( 3 seeds/inch) along each drill, then covered with loose topsoil which was then firmed into place. This all followed by a gentle watering to settle the bed.

After watering in the seed, the boards were then marked each end of the drills. This way emerging seedlings can be distinguished from emerging weeds, and the latter easily removed. From what I've read, 1 sq yd should be sufficient for about 30 turnips to grow on, so the drills can be thinned out accordingly as time permits.

The final job of the day was to erect a temporary barrier to the newly planted bed. This was simply achieved by 2 buckets of spuds, which so far seem to be doing the trick! As soon as the bed becomes established, then the buckets can be moved back to their home on the patio.
All in, the whole task took about half an hour, as the bed had been prepared earlier. Time to sit back now and let nature take it's course.

Hope you have found this update both interesting and useful, and I look forward to welcoming you back soon. Keep me posted on how you are getting on. Till then,


1 comment:

Matron said...

I just love Swiss chard. It keeps right the way through the Winter and in my opinion tastes better than spinach.