Growing method for peas and parsnips

So this year due to the warm weather I have decided to give sowing peas and parsnips a go a few weeks earlier than normal.

I did a test pot in the back garden in December in which I sew some ‘Kelvedon Wonder’ pea seeds in a spare pot to see what would happen due to the freakishly warm weather.


A great Success I would say!

Method is as follows:

Seeds are placed on the surface of the soil in the place where you want them to be grown. Wood-chip mulch is then placed over the top as a barrier to around an inch thick to protect the seeds and act as a weed suppressant. Wood-chip is defined as brash that has been put through the chipper at a ratio of around 80 – 90% green to carbon ratio.



The seeds are placed on top of the soil and covered with the wood-chip ‘mulch’ as it helps to prevent rotting. As the temperatures rise the wood-chip acts as a heat sink allowing the soil underneath to warm up quicker than surround exposed soil. Alternatively as the temperature falls it also acts as an insulator. First trials prove to work as predicted.

I am also applying this method to the parsnips to see if better germination can be gained from it.

Update 07/02/2016

So I discovered that i had a bit of scatter damage today.

We have had some shocking weather lately, 50mph winds and heavy rain. The damage seems to be the wind has thrown the seeds around the bed so i pressed down firmly the seeds what were still there and netted them up.


I dont have anything to lose as its so early in the season there is plenty of time to sow some more 🙂

Lessons learned. Always net up after sowing 🙂



The birds and the Bees

Lets be honest we all have an area of the Allotment we don’t use or like…


After some major re-shuffling on the plot since may i’m now in a fortunate position to think about the aesthetics of the plot.


I’m lucky to have a fairly good layout with a path through the plot and various borders along the back perfectly suited for small fruit tress, beans, peas etc. I have found a spot by my cherry tree that i think would be perfect for a wildlife station. The rain barrel and pallet have now been moved. The area is roughly 1m wide and 6m long.



Benefiting the surrounding wildlife and supporting the pollinators can only lead to great things. My theory is pat their back and they will do the same in return (Hypothetically of course ;))I must admit the appeal of sitting on the Allotment after work on a summers evening with the soft sound of buzzing is a great one.

With that in mind i have now started to think about the kind of flowers i want to not only look at but trust to be left to their own devices.

There are a few flowers which i want on my list of course. So to get the ball rolling today i purchased some of the perennials which i would be very happy to get established.

Echinacea Purpurea & Astilbe

2 cracking perennials with stunning flowers and foliage and the ability to be left to their own devices with as little input as possible. Perfect.

I have an idea of how it might look, here’s a few teasers which i grew last year 😉


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So all things going well Sunday 24th January 2016 will be the day in which the new perennial roots will be planted. Of course there will be many others to accompany them but its a start, and a very good one at that.

To follow my progress with live updates follow me on @homegrownwxm on Twitter.

Happy Gardening 🙂


Great Garlic Challenge


October 2015 saw me get my first challenge on the allotment.



One of my arch enemies in the growing world. Every time I tried I would fail and fail hard!

Rust, Rotting and not bulbing up, you name it I’ve had it.

I almost gave up trying until I got given a challenge by Marshalls Seeds.

The challenge was to try 3 varieties of Garlic which I have never heard of.

Mikulov, Bohemian rose and red duke. Challenge accepted!


I chose the best sunny site I could find at the top of the allotment.

During summer this gets 12 hours a day and during winter around 6 – 8 hours and is well drained.

So far the results are as predicted.


Bohemian rose is renowned to grow leaves as tall as 1.5m and is already way ahead on the trial.


All look like its going well so far as it should. When the weather starts warming up we should really start to see things moving.

Update 07/02/2016

Today saw another plot visit to check on a few things and progress is still flying along. We’ve had a LOT of rain the past few months and i was worried that they may rot.

I’m happy to say they’re thriving.

Growth is a little slow but I think this is due to the fluctuation of wet & cold then mild.

So far so good as you can see below.

This time of year it is nice to see some green 🙂

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These will get a generous lashing of compost in march and left to their own devices until harvest.

I will only water when absolute necessary to help keep down any pests/ diseases.


Update 28/02/16

So another visit after a few weeks and still growing really strong. All garlic is around 2-3 inches high now and looking lush!

We have had a BIG delivery of good organic compost on the plot so i treated them to a good serving.

I’ve read a few articles and almost all of them have advised a good feed in the spring and only watering during long periods of dry hot weather so this is what i will do.


So a quick visit to the plot today and what a difference!

Everything is growing really strong and healthy, look like the compost feed in March did them good.

The garlic is now 7 inches high and dark green.

Cant wait to see how much they take off now 🙂

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I have been quite hard on these so far only a feed of compost in march and left to the elements all the time. I will also not water until absolute necessary and so far seem to be holding up.

Update 21/04/16


So what can i say except wow! I havent been don for the past week and a half and what a suprise i got when i saw the garlic today.

We’ve had a strange few weeks weather wise and i was starting to get that dismal feeling again where the garlic would go wrong. In fact it has done the opposite.

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As you can see the garlic has shot up!

All i looking very healthy all be a few weeds which were swiftly removed.

To say i’m happy is an understatement. I’ve never had to do as little maintenance as i have to these.

A fantastic variety that’s doing well in our welsh climate.

Hopefully the growth keeps up and a nice harvest will follow…

Watch this space

Update 03/05/16

Still doing very well. We’ve had a mixed few weeks weather wise and event some snow late April so I was interested to see how well they have coped.

I’m glad to report that they are still romping away fully unaided and have put on around another 2 inches of growth. They are now currently just under 3ft high to the tip of the largest leaf.

I never thought I would be able to ever get them to this stage so to say I’m happy is an understatement. I’m over the moon and think I have grown a soft spot for garlic growing.

So big question: Would I recommend them?

Without a doubt! Out of all the garlic varieties I have ever tried these have been by far the best and most vigorous. Resilient to all the crazy weather that has been thrown at them and no sign of bolting or disease.

If you are also doing a trial please tweet me you’re progress I would love to see how were all doing 🙂

A BIG thanks to Marshalls Seeds for the chance to grow these, without them I wouldn’t have discovered my new found passion.

Here’s a few pictures.

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Well a long time since an update but I promise you its been worth it. We’ve had a real mix of weather the past few weeks from baking sun to torrential rain and I started to fear the worst.

The garlic had been developing rust the past few weeks so in a bid to control it I removed the lower leaves and it seemed to do the trick.

Tonight I decided to go and have a look as we’ve seen a full week of rain.

I’m happy to present my fist ever garlic and I couldn’t be happier.

I will now leave the remaining bulbs grow on for the next few weeks and will harvest the lot around 4th July.

My Thoughts:

As a very amateur grower I found the growing of the garlic a daunting one at first. Various websites advising different ways to grow all with their own methods got me really confused.

With help from Marshalls Seeds I decided to give it a shot but also say stuff other methods id seen and do what we do best, Just grow it!

I didn’t till the soil and the only preparation was to add about 3 inches of compost of which the bulbs were pushed into. After that another layer in spring. I never watered them and let nature do its thing. Seems to have done the job.

I will defiantly recommend these to growers of any skill due to the very little input needed.

Happy Growing Steve

Losing the Plot

A big HI and welcome to my new blog 🙂

Organic, Traceable & Fresh. 3 main goals that lead to my idea of HomeGrownWxm being created.

I first discovered my passion for gardening and vegetable growing at the strange age of 16. My grandad was a keen grower and various uncles have an allotment in our family. So it was in my blood sort to speak..

It wasn’t until i had my first daughter and house that the passion really kicked into gear. Every week i would go to the supermarket to find the best veg and it would always be the same. Tasteless brocolli, woody carrots.. Something had to change.

I started my first allotment in the back garden of my current house where i set myself a mundane task of learning the best techniques and varieties that would work both with my soil and the climate in which they were growing. At first it was simple, grow some food and experience what real freshness was.

First year was all about the brocolli and peas 🙂


The year was 2013 and I was hooked!

Next ambition was an allotment and in May 2015 that’s what i finally got.


As you can see a fairly typical plot.

I had the usual suspects – clover, brambles, docks and out of control raspberries.

I did however fall lucky in the fact that the previous owner had left plastic down on the paths so it was an easy way to remove and clear the pathways. A quick pull and they were done as the majority of the weeds grew on top. All weeds were pulled without spading or cultivating which initially took a long time, however the results speak for themselves.

Over the next few months I concentrated on doing one bed at a time and planted something once they were clear. This way i saw results much quicker than clearing the full plot first.

In July I started the major layout change which has ultimately led to the layout you see before you today.

I’m 100% No-Dig method with no use of weedkillers or anything artificial. All feeds are made using natural products such as nettles and comferey along with manure/ compost tea.

Here is a brief collection of images to show the transition.

Hope you enjoy.

Update 28/02/16

I will start off by saying what a fantastic day!

Weather wise we hit a good 7c with good strong sunshine. In a nutshell perfect allotment weather.

My main intention was to have my usual check up to make sure all is well. I’m glad to report it is.

I had good hopes for the peas i sown using my usual method a few weeks back but it look as if the mice have had a field day. Shelled peas everywhere!

It is a shame however as it’s so early in the season not all is lost. I will start them off in modules at home and plant out in the next few weeks 🙂

Jobs for today was to put as much compost as i could on the flower area to give everything a good feed and give good foundation for the beans that will be planted in the same area.

I  had a very good helper today so work got done quick 🙂

As I’m sure you will agree it looks much better.

Another job was to sow the first lot of salad potatoes under cloche as over the next few weeks I will probably not get the chance due to being an accountant and our year end period.

These were chitted for 6 weeks before and covered with 3 barrows of compost. Yes 3!

That should help protect the tubers in harsh frost and give a good feed to set them up right.

Finally and most important was our main job when we go down there. Fun and boy we had a good laugh.


So overall good fun, jobs done and some refreshing sunshine and air.

What more could you want.

Update 05/03/16


Today’s visit saw me fill up the half drums ready for the carrots & parsnips which will be sown direct in a couple of weeks.

These were filled with organic compost without any addition of sand etc as i want to see how they fair.

Each half drum took 2 barrows to fill.


Whilst there i also wanted to make a start on the wildflowers so sowed some shake and rake around the areas i wanted.

Apart from that all looking good for the time of year. This NoDig method now seems to be paying back in time.

No weeding needed since Oct last year and only minimal input need to get it where it is now.

Here’s a few snaps from today.

I have also included a snap of my peas sown using my method at home. Just wish i would have worked the same way down the lotty 🙂



Quick plot view today 🙂

Garlic, Onions, Parsnips & calabrese currently growing 🙂

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