Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easy like Tuesday morning

While you were in bed this morning, listening to the rain on the roof and wishing it was the weekend, I was outside doing things anyone else would be doing on the weekend. Of course that meant I was also getting wet, but for those thirty minutes I felt like a free man... before Tuesday well and truly set in. But before you feel the need to launch into a debate about who was the winner and the looser in this situation, rest assured that in a month's time when it is also cold and dark in the morning, I'll also be in bed wishing it was the weekend.

Let me start today by confirming your suspicions that spreading moo poo in the rain is far from pleasant. True, the moisture in the air does a lot to prevent a noxious dust of bovine excrement stirring up a way into your lungs - but when wet it sticks to everything, which despite any amount of scrubbing later will probably at some point draw the ire of my colleagues sometime later in the day.

However unfortunate, it was the first step to my actual goal this morning - sowing a bed of carrot and parsnip. The moo poo was to improve the sandy soil in the bed they will share with the plum trees. I'm slightly breaking convention here by planting carrots in the same place as I did last time - however its the only soil I have that isn't littered with stones that will fork the roots and render the resulting vegetables completely useless.

Seeds should be sown at roughly as deep as they are large, which is kind of cool when you think about it - because they are built with their own measuring device. Carrot seeds are small and tough, and are really easy to spread by nipping a number between your thumb and your forefinger and gently sprinkling them along a shallow drill in the bed. A light dusting of soil back over the top and they're done. I spread them quite thickly so I'm more likely to get an efficient use of the space if some don't germinate - and I can always thin them out later.

Since this was the first time I've planted parsnip, I thought their relative similarity to the carrot would make it much the same story. But parsnip seeds are flat, round, feather-weights that are difficult to handle unless you happen to have some gardening tweezers and a lot of patience. I had none of the former and only had a little of the latter, so instead I had to make do with my large, clumsy adult-sized fingers and a lot of swearing - which generally saw the seeds going most places other than the spot I was aiming for.

But it really isn't as traumatic as it sounds, because I probably won't pay any attention to this bed until I start pulling the finished product out right in time for some winter soups.

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