This week in Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden we will be sowing parsnip seeds in our allotment raised beds.  It’s a little early in the season to sow them but with the mild conditions it is worth doing.  We will make a successional sowing at the end of February.  We always have great success with growing parsnips in a raised bed.  Year after year they reward us with big fat parsnips for our Christmas dinner.  We will also be sowing broad beans, peas, chard, sweet peas and spinach under cover in the greenhouse.

As I write this, I have just taken delivery of our shallot sets. Each year when I draw up the plan of Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden for the year ahead, I always miss one crop off only to be caught out later.  This year it was the shallots.  This week, after I have sown them in modules to start off in the greenhouse , I will be sitting down in the shed with our garden plan to see where they can go.  We’ll shoe-horn them in somewhere....!

The most important job on the list this week is to order our nemaslug for the growing season ahead.   The first dose normally arrives in March when the soil temperatures rise above 6 degrees.  This winter the soil thermometer is currently reading 8 degrees as we go into February.  In combination with the amount of rainfall we have had, I am anticipating a bad year for slugs and getting all my defences in early.  We are already well stocked with copper tape and slug pellets and will be doing our very best to win the battle for hole-free veg!