Bridport Times March 2019

Page 32

Wild Dorset

THE SEEDS WE SOW Rosie Gilchrist, Tamarisk Farm


ithout seeds a vegetable garden has few plants and without plants there are no vegetables to eat, and that would be a very sad thing. Choosing seeds, sowing and nurturing them feels like the foundation of a vegetable garden. There are some vegetables such as tubers and cuttings that we propagate by other means but certainly most vegetables are annuals, grown from seed every year. With equal certainty, seed propagation is one of my favourite jobs around the market garden. Spring is the time of year that I have the pleasure of doing the vast majority of the season’s sowing and March is the crucial month. By now I’ve already sown the very earliest crops: peas and sweet peas, and the first of sequential crops of beetroot, lettuces, radishes, 32 | Bridport Times | March 2019

and broad beans to fill the gaps made by hungry mice in the autumn-sown rows. The tomatoes and peppers are already growing in heated propagators. Now most of the other delicious vegetables that make up a market garden can be sown. As commercial market gardens go, we are incredibly low-tech. This extends to our propagation set-up. From the 1960s until recently, Arthur and Josephine used an old heated Victorian conservatory on Manor Cottage. Then, for a couple of years, we worked our seedlinggrowing around the edges of the winter-salad tunnels and waited for the sheep tunnels to empty when the ewes went out to grass. But things are looking up! This time last year we were cladding a polytunnel specifically for propagation with new long-life plastic.