No room for false econ­omy in the garden

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Gardens -

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.

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