When to sow

I moved back up to Carlisle in the North West 3 yrs. ago having lived in S W wales and the south of England for over 40yrs. I have been struggling with germination of my vegetable seeds since. For example I am used to getting my parsnip seeds in at the end of February and beetroot by the end of  March.

If anyone gardens up here could you please advise how much later than Monty's sowing times should I go for up here?


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 3,987

    I used to live in Northumberland for 22 years, and now live in W Yorks.  I reckon you can add at least a fortnight to Monty's dates; I'd look at what your neighbours are doing, and use their experience.  Look too at when weeds germinate in your seed beds because if nothing is growing that's a good guide that your expensive seeds will just sit there and shiver!

    "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change"    Stephen Hawking
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 1,882

    Do you ever visit back home in Wales? I live up in the Pennines and my parents lived in Sussex. Going 'home' was like travelling in time, you could go forward a whole season one way and go back one on the return journey. I  would say Liri is right, at least 2 weeks and probably nearer 3, though it may vary slightly from year to year depending on the pattern of weather distribution. I always look at the trees on Boat race weekend, or when they  do TV interviews from Westminster just to see how far ahead things are down there!

    You need to employ more tricks to lenghten the growing season: black plastic and cloches to warm the ground , extra fleece for frost and cold protection, maybe windbreak netting if necessary,  to reduce damage and wind chill and to provide a more favourable environment for pollinating insects. One year we had a warm April followed by a cold May and my broad bean plants stood covered in flowers for 3 weeks, with scarcely a bean to show for all their effort!

    Start your plants off under cover to bring them on as far as you can, so that when spring does finally arrive you have stronger plants to get you going and don't have to wait for uncertain germination. Use modules or grow rows of peas in guttering so they can hit the round running, so to speak!

  • Thank you Buttercupdays and  Liriodendron. Actually this is home really as it is where I was brought up, but have spent most of my life down south or abroad.

    I quite understand the up and down Buttercupdays. We go to stay with one of my daughters near Cardiff once a month and I swear the temperature gauge in the car visibly moves down 10'F as we track back up the M6! and the may is out so much earlier both here and in Essex where one of my sons lives.

    Thank you for the advice. No near neighbours seem to grow veg, but the tip about the weeds is a good one and although I don't have a greenhouse have made a cold frame and have cloches and copious amounts of saved black plastic and bubble wrap; so will put to use.

    I will be much more restrained this year and leave it at least 2-3 weeks and see how I get on. I was thinking of sowing things like beetroot in pots to get them going as I am on really thick and heavy clay so have raised beds . It is so bad that the fruit trees I planted when I first moved back actually "drowned"! (saved by putting in pots and also in raised beds till they get going).

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