Sowing this week

With April just around the corner, it was time to sow some of the tender crops, to be planted outdoors in early to mid May or in the polytunnel or glasshouses as soon as large enough. First were the French beans, Meraviglia di Venezia, a yellow climbing bean, and Beurre de Rocquencourt, also yellow, but a dwarf sort. It is a little early to sow beans for outdoors, but these are destined for the polytunnel, where they should be fine planted out in a few weeks’ time. The dwarf beans should crop first, with the climbing beans to follow.

Sowing this week - tender crops (except the dill)

Sowing this week – mostly tender crops

Next we sowed cucurbits in good sized pots to give them plenty of room to develop a good root ball. Most of these will only be sown once per year, although we may have a second sowing of courgette Striato di Napoli in the summer to crop through autumn. Our cucumbers this year are Telegraph for the glasshouse and Marketmore for outdoors, although I sometimes let one or two of these ramble around the polytunnel. Our selection of winter squash includes old favourites Waltham Butternut, Sweet Dumpling, Marina di Chioggia, and Buttercup. A friend has also secured some seed of Whangaparaoa Crown from Australia which we should get hold of soon. This is a variety of squash from New Zealand and from which the F1 hybrid Crown Prince appears to have been developed. Crown Prince is quite a good squash, but as I try to avoid hybrids it will be interesting to see how the open pollinated Whangaparaoa Crown compares. We also sowed two melons, both orange fleshed sorts, the classic Charantais and Petit Gris de Rennes. The latter is a new one for us this year, but one I have wanted to grow for some years.

Finally, we sowed, in modules, some onion Paris Silverskin, which we will take for the salad when quite young, and herbs dill and basil.

Another of our heated propagators filled with seed

Another of our heated propagators filled with seed

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