No room for false economy in the garden
SOME gardeners are always on the lookout for ways to increase the productivity of their vegetable plots – so in 2013 they should make a few new year’s resolutions, such as to sow seeds at the most appropriate time, not six weeks after everyone else, and to throw away all the packets of opened seed and buy fresh.
Then they can add to that list avoiding farm-gate manures and sticking to bagged soil conditioners, and spending more money on seeds that promise improved vigour rather than save pennies on the cheapest.
It really isn’t worth cutting corners on gardening. When you spend hours every week on the garden, why waste all that effort on using second-rate materials?
So here are some of the highlights to consider for the 2013 hopping list.
Maincrop pea ‘Alexandra’ (T&M) produces broad, dark green, slightly curved pods, each containing plenty of tasty peas.
As the name suggests, Carrot ‘Eskimo’ is one of the most cold-tolerant varieties available. The late crop, cylindrical roots of this RHS AGM variety promise to resist splitting and retain their flavour throughout the autumn and winter.
For Rocket salad, consider ‘Pegasus’, from Suttons, because it promises not to bolt and you can pick the outer leaves regularly. You can even grow it in a six-inch pot and just cut off the leaves as and when you want them.
Musselburgh leeks can either be a stunning success or an abject failure – mainly because of the weather. They can also disappoint if the seeds aren’t sown until late May, rather than March or April, when seed companies recommend they should be germinated. So give them a much better chance of success by sowing before the end of April and using an F1 Hybrid seed that has extra vigour.
Consider the merits of ‘Oarsman’, from T&M, and ‘Carlton’, from Suttons, although DT Brown have a new F1 leek seed, called ‘Crusader’, which is British-bred, totally winter hardy and promises to yield long, white stems with dark green ‘flags’. It has resistance to rust and white tip, while hybrid vigour ensures strong, healthy plants ready for lifting all through winter.
But unless you have a fair-sized veg plot, and a bottomless purse, you’ll do best just to pick any one from the three.
Half the fun of gardening is in the not knowing.Will it germinate? Will it thrive? Wwill it produce a bountiful harvest? Only time will tell.
COLD COMFORT: ‘Eskimo’ carrots can handle the winter weather.