Tuesday 6 October 2015

The tortoise and the hare

I sowed a row of "Guernsey" parsnips in the potager on 30th April this year. After a prolonged sulk they germinated. On 4th September I had six little parsnip seedlings in a row. That was four months while they decided whether to die or to live after all.

A little row of parsnips - 6th September 2015

Parsnip seedlings, 17th September 2015
By contrast, on 7th August, Alvaro (workawayer) and I sowed two rows of Avola peas. The first of these came into flower on 4th September, and there are now fat pods forming with plenty of flowers to come. Avola went from dry seed to a healthy set of plants with flowers on in four weeks precisely. We picked enough peas for a meal on 30th September and the plants are going strong at two months old.

Avola peas, 6th September 2015
Avola peas, 26th September 2015
My original seeds came from the Kew collection and the current lot  from Plants of Distinction. Both, like many other UK seeds merchants, send seeds to France with no problems. But Avola will now be Alvaro peas to us.

Interesting that the slowest and the fastest germination should both turn up on the same day.

Also coming up: self-seeded parsley and coriander. Parsley is reputed to go to the devil and back before it germinates, but if you sow fresh seed in August, it comes up ready for action immediately

On the other hand, we have discovered the existence of N-space, where the nuts come from. No matter how thoroughly we check the filbert bushes, there is still another nut to be found. Somebody in N-space is moving nuts into space-time continuum version 1.0, hanging them up on the branches and giggling.

This filbert was not here a few minutes ago.
The occupants of N-space have not gifted our walnut tree with much by the way  of fruit this year. Tim and Betsy cleared the bank under the tree and we concluded that it was not worth the effort to fit the tree with a nappy* as we did last year. The discovery of a second - wild - walnut on the riverbank just below the weir put the tin hat on it. The second tree is invisible among the ash trees and produces smaller nuts than the old tree, which was a selected variety rather than a chance seedling. They are neck and neck in weight of nuts, at a couple of kilos apiece - that will be plenty!

Tim and Betsy under the walnut tree heading straight for the millstream
*walnut nappy - catches the nuts that would otherwise fall into the millstream.


Dawn said...

I gave up with Parsnip here bad year for germination, next year I trying them in a special raised bed just for them, second sowing of peas are in flower I do like peas, It will be few more years before our walnut tree produces anything I like the sound of a tree nappy :-)

Vera said...

We don't grow parsnips because our ground is too stoney, but I would like to have a go in a raised bed system, carrots too. I didn't know that parsley could be planted in August, but I do know that in previous years sometimes it grows and sometimes it doesn't. Basil does the same. Ah well, that's the fun of growing one's own food...sometimes things you plant come up, sometimes them don't, and sometimes things grow which you didn't plant (apart from weeds) which is a lovely bonus!

Cro Magnon said...

I usually plant and sow everything in Spring, but this year I've done a bit of late planting. About 6 weeks ago I bought some Curly Kale plants at Gamme Vert, and they're already providing us with leaves. I'm amazed how quickly they've grown.