RAISED BED AND CONTAINER WEEKLY DIARY
WEEKS 1 TO 4 FEBRUARY
Article by David Marks.
Mid way through this month is a good time to think about ordering your seed potatoes for this year's crop. We suggest you use one of the specialist seed potato companies rather than your normal seed supplier. They have a larger selection and indeed, they may well supply the seed suppliers so you are cutting out the middle man.
Our preferred supplier of seed potatoes is JBA Seed Potatoes. However, after testing out a new variety last year, our top performing variety is now Vitabella. The potatoes taste delicious and produce a large crop in raised beds and containers. See our review of Vitabella here.
Our full article on when and what seed potatoes can be found by clicking here.
Gladiator F1 is by far the best parsnip seed to choose for raised beds and containers. They are vigorous growers but don't take up too much room.
As for the best soil for parsnips, raised beds or containers filled with multi-purpose are ideal. The soil is relatively light and crumbly but at the same time holds moisture and nutrients without becoming water logged. Also, the absence of stones will produce well-shaped parsnips with very little forking (growing into misshapen roots).
Just before sowing the seed scatter a good handful of blood, fish and bone over every square metre of soil. Gently work it in with a trowel. Don't apply any other fertiliser at this time and especially no manure. Over fertilising the soil causes the foliage to grow at the expense of root growth and also can cause misshaped roots.
Parsnip seeds take three to four weeks to germinate and this has the disadvantage that it's easy to forget where they are sown. So mark them out clearly when sowing the seed. Sow the seed about 2cm / just under an inch deep and about 5cm / 2in apart. if you are sowing more than one row then the rows should be 30cm / 1ft apart. Cover the seeds with soil and lightly firm down. Water if the soil is dry.
Parsnip seed should be sown over a month or so rather than all together. The next action for growing parsnips in raised beds and containers can be found here.
COVER RAISED GARDEN BEDS
If you want to start of your crops a couple of weeks early then now is the time to cover your raised beds with with horticultural fleece or similar to trap in the warmth and raise the temperature of the soil.
TOP UP RAISED BEDS WITH FRESH COMPOST
Winter rain will tend to wash out some of the compost in your raised beds / containers so now is the time to take a look at them and work out if you need to top up with more compost. We normally add just plain multi-purpose compost so that it is almost up to the top of the raised beds. If you have any well rotted compost then this is a good time to add it. Work it into the surface as you add more compost.
APPLY LONG LASTING FERTILISER TO YOUR RAISED BEDS
Bonemeal or fish, blood and bone are our favourites because they release nutrients to the soil slowly and evenly over a long period of time. Short term fertilisers such as Growmore are no good at this time of year because they will have released all their nutrients within a few weeks.
As far dosage goes, a couple of handfuls evenly scattered over a square metre will do just right. Take a trowel and work it into the surface of the soil.
PLANT NEW RASPBERRY CANES IN CONTAINERS
Any time from January to mid March is the time to plant bare-rooted raspberry canes in containers. It's a very simple task, simply fill a container with general potting compost and plant your raspberry canes. There are one or two points to bear in mind though and these can be found on our main raspberry page.
PREVIOUS AND FUTURE WEEKS DIARIES
January Weeks 1-4
February Weeks 1-4
November Weeks 1-4
December Weeks 1-4