Monday, 31 May 2010

Rabbit proofing and Parsnips

The rabbits are increasingly becoming a problem on the allotment; after munching their way through most of my winter veg they have seriously stunted the growth of the onions and the shallots. Since neither of my allotment neighbours seem to be putting in much work this year, both have far more weeds than veg and it turns out that rabbits like veg far more than weeds. So before the planting really kicked off I decided to invest in some chicken wire and build a protective fence around some of my allotment. Version 1 is now complete and features 40 meters of wire fencing with a slight ground cover to stop them digging under. Over the next few months I'll try to increase the supports and cut some gates into the sides but hopefully it'll be enough to protect the young plants that need to start moving outside.

The coldframe has become a logistical nightmare because although the days have been hot, the nights are still dropping down just low enough to make me nervous. Today I planted out the first of the cucumber plants, 2 more are spending the night outside in the garden and 1 gets to spend all day outside before returning to the coldframe overnight. Hopefully all 4 will survive the next few weeks but if not then at least 1 should pull through. Now I need to start moving the aubergines outside too.

A trip to London with friends as well as the fence building has put me behind with seed sowing. I have managed to get some beans into the ground as well as some more peas to fill the gaps on the row that germinated a few weeks ago. I sowed a tray of sweetcorn at the beginning of May and have followed it up with another tray today, hopefully this will extend the cropping season for me. The second sowing of brassicas unfortunately had to replace the first lot which cooked inside the propagator on a particularly hot day. I'm hoping this batch has a longer an happier life.

Finally the parsnips, 1 seed out of the 4 rows has germinated on the allotment, 1 more than last year anyway. Today I also planted out a full row of seedlings which were chitted seeds sown into compost filled rolls of newspaper. If they survive the next week they should have an excellent chance of turning into tasty parsnips. I think I'll chit some more just in case.


Soilman said...

Are you sure your problem is only rabbits Amy? I've never heard of rabbits eating onions. Nothing eats onions, as far as I can see. They're the only crop on my allotment that never gets munched by anything.....

Paul and Melanie said...

The chitting + growing on in compost filled loo rolls method of parsnip growing worked for me last year. Almost too well to be honest, some giant roots, 5 gallons of parsnip wine and a freezer full of what was left... :)

Amy said...

I hope so, Paul! I'm really in need of some home grown parsnip soup this year.

Soilman, I know I was amazed too. It was during all the snow, the only things that managed to grow through it were the PSB (which got eaten), the cabbage (which got eaten) and then finally they nibbled off all the leaves on my onions. Now that they have my strawberries to eat the onions are being left alone!