As many of us in the U.K. wait for the government's comprehensive spending review's axe to fall over their heads, their homes and their lives - our allotments and gardens (if we are lucky enough to have one) - bring some comfort - and as food prices and the cost of holidays and days out for the family rise - fruit and veg growing offers some practical help too.
The unlikely parsnips in the picture are momentous. Really. It's taken me four years to get parsnips like that. Our allotment was derelict when I took it on four years ago. The soil was very heavy clay and riddled with bits of broken glass and brambles as thick as your thigh - so heavy for such a long time - it was well nigh impossible to sow seeds directly into the ground. The plot is quite a way from our house, so I had to rely on natural predators to keep the slug population down.
The parsnips in the picture were sown (last March) directly. Most of them are beautifully straight and blemish-free. Compare them to the parsnips I harvested two years ago - when I first started out which forked and got orange parsnip canker - a fungal disease.
See this previous post: Problems with parsnips
Also in this picture, leeks, parsnips, winter hardy lettuce and lots of Newton Wonder apples.
Last but by no means least - if you're having problems with the present government cuts (as well as problems with parsnips) - you might like to check out the the links on the right to the Coalition of Resistance...