Thursday, 10 February 2011

Growing Methods

Well I have finally got started on emptying my barrels (36)this week - This really is a back breaking job which involves emptying every barrel and refilling them. I empty the end one of a row and then empty the next barrel into the empty one - until you come to the last one which you need to fill with the sand from the first one emptied!!. I also give them a good soaking with Armillatox. Although it is hard work you really need to do this every year - It puts air back into the sand in the barrels and also makes the job of boring the barrels easier. I am also trying a couple of other methods this year - one is pipes mounted on to a framework which will be filled with the growing mix. The pipes are 5ft 6in in length with another 1ft of sand underneath. - and another is sleeves made out of damp course. This alleviates the need for having to have barrels with sand and the work that goes with it. I tried some parsnips in sleeves last year and had reasonable results - the 2 in the Mini Collection picture were not bad!. So at the end of all this I will have 96 Long Carrots in barrels and 24 in pipes/sleeves, 48 Parsnips in barrels plus 30 in pipes/sleeves. I still have to empty my Stump Carrot beds plus I have built a new bed so in total I will have around 300 under cover. The new structure that is in the picture will have one side with stumps and the other side has staging the full length - useful to put plants etc on but it`s main use is for French Beans in pots for the NVS National in August. The parsnips will be sown in the first week of March with the Long Carrots sown in the first week of April.


  1. I'm going to be growing a few in pipes as well. I see you use drain pipes, do you think these are better than straight pipes and are they cheaper? I've been given a few 4" straight pipes, but I've noticed on the NVS forum that most use 6". Do you think it matters?

    Sorry for the twenty questions!

  2. Wmff I think Ian will tell you that he uses the drain pipe in as it has holes to let the air in and out of rather that a solid pipe. The other question I have no idea about.

    I think the drain pipes are a great idea. Much cheaper for people to grow show veg in.

  3. WMFF - There is no scientific secret behind using them plus they are the cheapest you can get - swapped some shallots for a van load of them!!. They do let the long root breathe but I am not convinced that is necessary so I wouldn`t be adverse to using any type of pipe. The pipes in the picture are 8" diameter - I saw the best 3 long carrots I have seen in a couple of years shown by Joe Proudlock at Ayr in early August and they were grown in the same pipes. Will post a picture of them

  4. You got a good deal on the pipes. I'm having a dabble with some 4" pipes but I'll be keeping an eye out for some of these as well.

  5. Hi

    Ian I am trying for the first time at growing for show, can you tell me what mix you use for your parsnips and beets