Sowing plans (147 days to go…)

by Max Akroyd

With the greenshed now showing signs of readiness, and my head full of hope for luminous summer things like aubergines and chillies, it’s time to buckle down and review the preparedness of the open field.

And open is just how it feels at the moment, along with a good measure of rank and sour. Any wild excess in the scene has been depleted – to an unprecedented degree – by all that snow and ice. If it wasn’t for the sound beatings Mother Nature had been handing out to me in recent years, I’d feel sorry for her wretched state as presently manifested in our garden. Instead, in a display of callous opportunism, I’ve been thrashing the yellow and surly-looking margins with the strimmer to conquer previously uncharted territory.

Back in the supposedly productive centre things are looking uninspiring without her animating presence. Which means, of course, another opportunity to tidy the house while she sleeps. My resolution for the coming season is to have a place in the field for everything I sow, at least a month in advance. No more lingering things losing their vitality standing around in pots. This means anticipating precisely what’s going to take off under cover and land in the field between here and the vernal equinox. In no particular order:

  1. Early peas (My Autumn sowing fell victim to the November frosts/my sheer laziness in not getting them sown in October)
  2. Parsnips (chitted, like last year)
  3. Beetroot
  4. Jerusalem Artichokes
  5. First Brassicas  (kales, collards & other green barely edibles)
  6. Onions from sets & seed
  7. First carrots
  8. Broad beans
  9. Spinach
  10. Parsley
  11. Radishes
  12. Turnips
  13. Potatoes
  14. Chards
  15. Rhubarb
  16. Oddities (Bulbous chervil, Burdock, Salsify, Scorzonera, Hamburg Parsley, Seakale)

Eek. That doesn’t even include all the salad things which will need a place in the polytunnel. I’ve stumped around the field this morning allocating spaces in my head, whilst wrestling the urge to panic and just get digging. I did those things this afternoon instead.

Really focuses the mind knowing these efforts might make what we’ll be eating come June…