Failing to plan is planning to fail

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson
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Former farmer Mark Thompson gives advice on growing your own food.

Having had a cloche in place a week, or two, spring planting started with another row of broad beans, the first row having been planted back in November, are now growing nicely protected from our garden pheasants under nets.

The leaves of these were starting to look a little yellow so I gave then a little bit of fertiliser and worked it in by hoeing the few weeds which had grown.

A second row was planted now in the spring so give a steady harvest of beans in the summer.

Rather than make a drill, I find it easiest to plant broad beans simply by pushing the seed into the ground about 4-5 cm deep, one seed every 25cm or so.

Next to the beans I planted a row of peas this time I made a drill about 2cm deep and placed the peas along it at 5cm intervals before carefully raking soil back over them. The cloche then went back on to keep warming the ground.

Next came a row of parsnips - these are best planted at 25cm intervals in groups of three to four seeds for later thinning.

Parsnips can be slow to germinate and also slow to grow once emerged, but you can make use of this by planting a catch crop in the gaps in the rows, this will be harvested long before the parsnips are near ready, it will also serve to ‘mark’ the row. So in between the seed stations I planted some early salad, with spring onions, radish and lettuce.

Carrots were next in drills 2cm deep sown relatively thinly. Next to the carrots, in order to try and deter carrot fly, were sown some garlic bulbs and onion seeds.

Visit to see video of how to plant the seeds I have mentioned this week - next time I will be planting potatoes.