Rapid development in plant raising gives more options

Carrots sold in handy packs. Picture by Tom Pattinson.Carrots sold in handy packs. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Carrots sold in handy packs. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Raising vegetable crops directly from seed sown into drills outdoors has a grand tradition.

It’s the stuff we observed and learned from elderly family members in days of yore.

But a combination of unpredictable, seasonal weather patterns and rapid developments in plant raising has given us more options.

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You can even buy packs of seedlings or plugs of tap-rooted plants, such as carrot and parsnip, and grow them under fleece until maturity to avoid carrot fly attack.

It’s now possible to start the morning off with no vegetable plants of any kind on site and a bare, albeit prepared, piece of land.

Then the van arrives with all the young plants you’ve ordered and transformation begins.

Most seed firms have plug plants of fruit and vegetables in their main catalogues or separate publications.

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For example, T&M (www.thompson-morgan.com) are offering the new tomato Black Opal in seed or plug form. It’s a cross between Black Cherry, with its dark skin, and Sweet Aperitif, which has a high content of sugar, health protecting anthocyanins and lycopene.

The choice is either ten seeds for £1.99, or five postiplugs at £9.99.