The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
The best laid plans………..of mice and men” involve exciting winter work on the vegetable garden. Only to wake up to grisly rain and a wind that will get in the way.
Gardening is easy but controlling the weather.
The UK has had record breaking bad weather. Here in The Netherlands, two metres below sea level it’s not been as bad so I’m not complaining.
I’ve managed to chit the potatoes.
There’s three varieties:
Raja, a red skinned Dutch variety with red flowers that’s early main crop.
Ballerina is an early that stores well and was potato of the year in Germany 2012.
and bionica an exciting new variety.
They’re all organically reared from a Dutch company called Zaadhandel van der Wal
This site potato database is quite handy for potato information. I like to grow red and purple potatoes and also grow violetta most years. But this time I was particularly keen to have organic seed potatoes.
Chitting is the process which helps the potatoes start to sprout indoors away from frost. We put them in egg boxes with the ‘eye’ end upwards. They need to be in light but not direct sunlight. Ideally they’ll grow a cluster of short sprouts within a few weeks. Then we’ll put them in the ground. Ours are installed in the spare room. It shouldn’t be too warm.
When we started the allotment in our first year the key plan was to grow veg that were harder to find in The Netherlands. One very specific on that list was the humble parsnip.
In the first year as novice Gardeners our parsnips failed to germinate. Such us the way with these things.
The seed is designed by nature to disperse in the wind.
It’s also fragile seed.
Holland is very windy.
We were new. You’ve guessed it. The seed blew away!
Now we are hardened parsnip addicts and we’ve opted to germinate them first at home.
So now we have a system. I put them on damp kitchen roll in the dark on a tray.
When they’ve developed a spindly root I will transfer them into soil. Until now we’ve put them in toilet rolls. But I’ve just read that kitchen rolls help them to keep straight roots and not fork or divide their roots. So that’s the plan.
Thus bright idea came from here
on a blog that I find very useful!
I’ve found a use for a microwave oven steamer.
It’s a good place to grow sprouting seeds for salads. This is the mung beans that I’ve just soaked over night.
I’m not good at sprouting seeds. They often don’t work or go mouldy so any tips are gratefully received!
We did try to grow some pea sprout in January but ended up transferring them to soil as we didn’t like the smell.
I mentioned the other day that planning is important on the allotment. I’m a bit tetchy so I’ve found an app that helps.
It’s the RHS grow your own app. It’s just my own view but I use it to keep a to do list and it reminds me of all the jobs needed on the veg I’ve selected for our garden.
<a href="Planning“>RSS app
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...