Allotment herbs and fruits in February

This is the time of year when we sow parsley. At home we put the seeds in those long biodegradable tubes and grow them in a bottom-heated propagator, but on the allotment, we put them in the greenhouse. They hate being transplanted, so they also go in biodegradable tubes up there, but instead of having bottom heat, the parsley gets sown with boiling water, which encourages it to germinate. Parsley’s said to go to the devil nine times before it comes up, which gives you some idea how slow it is to get going! There are strange compounds called furanocoumarins on the surface of parsley seeds, which actually get into the soil and stop the seeds of other plants germinating – this is a sensible evolutionary approach on the part of the parsley because it means it has a more than usually good chance of outdoing the competition, but these compounds, once they disperse in the soil, actually have an odd habit of affecting the parsley itself – which is why soaking the seeds or watering them with really hot water that destroys the effect of the compounds, can speed the process up.

It’s also the time of year to divide mint. We don’t grow mint at home, but keep it in a trough at the allotment because it’s such an invasive plant. Even a small piece of root is very likely to grow, and once it grows, it will take over a vegetable plot or border, smothering and strangling everything in its path, even bindweed. The allotment trough is lined with zinc, and there’s not much chance even of mint punching its way through that!

Chives can be split and replanted too, at this time in the year, as long as the soil isn’t actually frozen when you lift them.

One of the gardens that backs onto our site has big bud mite on its redcurrants. It’s one of those things that you can’t really describe but recognise as soon as you see it. It simply shows up as weirdly large buds which then don’t produce any fruit in summer. There’s no treatment, either preventative or curative, for the infestation, so we can only hope that it doesn’t spread and that somebody on the allotments knows the people in that house and can suggest they pick off the infested buds.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Blogger Sasha said...

Herbal plants used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine are facing extinction.
Definite cause of concern, as Ayurveda is increasingly being used around the world to treat various disorders such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, ulcers and many others.

Some herbs that have been identified are - Ulteria salicfolia, Hydnocarpus pentandra, Gymnocladus assamicus, and Begonia tessaricarpa.

Conservation of traditional herbs and plants should become a high priority for all. Challenge
becomes more severe as many of these herbs grow in the wild and are not cultivated.

Planet Green (a venture) reported on this earlier this month.

More details on the Ayurveda Group blog (

Direct link to the blog post

Link to planet green site

May 21, 2010 at 12:30 AM  

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