Tomatos That I Grow

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Gardeners Delght seedlngs sown on the 23-02-18 seed bought from Wilkos

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Image of the aluminium greenhouse where I grow my tomato’s the greenhouse is very old and I have been using it for about fifteen years

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I was preparing the tomato’s for the coming season and you can see I have got about half of the greenhouse planted out the seedling are in the background amongst the chaos I have created

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The tomato’s in this image have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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Notice the grape vine growing on the right hand side

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Close up of the tomato’s which have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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The tomato variety shown in this image are my favourite Gardeners Delight which to grow very well and are not suspetable to many growing problems or diseases

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The tomatos look happy enough and seem to be growing well in their grow pots I always use grow bags as the base component for gowing them in

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Notice the grape vine which is a strawbery tasting type in the back ground its looking really healthy and the main thing it tastes great and there are no pips

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It normally takes about a week to get all the tomato plants into their grow pots and the other containers I use

The Blue Bell Hendon

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Notice the new houses on the right of the Blue Bell these where built in the 1970s and are privately owned

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The roof of The Blue Bell was once a beautiful tiled structure but over many years of neglect sadly it is now nothing like it was in its hey day notice the attic window and the chimney pots and the TV mast

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The Blue Bell was situated in Zion Street Hendon Sunderland which was a street in the Jewish quarter of Hendon

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The Blue Bell looks very sad in its derelict condition and was pulled down shortly after I took these images

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My white Berlingo van can be seen on the left of the image

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Holy Trinity church can be seen in the background the church was opened in 1719 for the growing population of Sunderland as the ship building industry grew

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The attic window of The Blue Bell I wonder what history it can tell us about the pub

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Close up of the Blue Bells attic window now sadly looking very delapitdated after the pub closed shortly after the Blue Bell was pulled down and made into a car park

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Notice the broken windows the drain pipes and the Sky antenna on the wall

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Close up of the broken windows and the drain pipes and the size of the bricks these were the old style a lot smaller than the ones used for building these days

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This was the main door of The Blue Bell the windows are now sadly boarded up with chip board

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Grass and weeds are now growing freely around The Blue Bells main door and on the pavement

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The licence sign of The Blue Bell sadly now looking rather tired and old

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The front of The Blue Bell you can see Holy Trinity Church clock tower on the right of the image

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Notice the broken windows and the curtains hanging out they look vey old

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There is even an original Sky mast next to the drain pipe

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Me and my father Billy Bell often had a drink in The Blue Bell on an afternoon

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The windows of the attic and the first floor are all broken now and the pub now looks a shadow of its former self

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The Zion Street sign looks tattered and weary now is as if to say I have had enough

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In this image you can see nearly all of the boarded up front of The Blue Bell

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The chimney and the attic window can be seen clearly in this image and notice the seagull perched on the attic window

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This image shows The Blue Bells rear extension in Moor Street not quite sure what the function of the extension was but it has been suggested that it could have been the pubs kitchen

Asparagus That I Grow

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This image is of an asparagus plantlet called Sweet Purple I purchased about a dozen of these plantlets of a guy called Keith Wheeler in May 2018
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The roots of the asparagus plantlets can be seen just before I repotted them into larger plant pots

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I use different size pots when transplanting the asparagus seedlings and always mix perlite with the compost I use for transplanting the asparagus

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These images of are of asparagus UC 157 F2 the one of the most popular varieties grown in the world and was developed in the early eighties

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A view of the asparagus plantlets ferns they are looking very healthy and green all these plantlets were grown from seed in my unheated conservatory

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More images of the asparagus plantlets after they had been repotted by me in the conservatory on the allotment

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Image of the ferns of asparagus Sweet Purple planlets which are about seven months old I grew the plantlets from seed in my unheated conservatory

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Wednesday, 24 April 2019
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Gray Road Hendon

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This a bit of a blured image of the front room of 33 Gray Road in the image you can see a photograph of my late mam and dad celebrating their wedding anniversary also an image of my oldest daughter Lisa

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The fire side in the front room of 33 Gray Road when we were children this was a coal fire but in my mam and dads later life was replaced by an electric fire

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The famous green phone which all of my family hated but my dad loved

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The bay window was a typical type used in the mid seventies on property in Hendon and Sunderland

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Billy Bell my father better known as Hendons historian because of his slide shows and his knowledge of Hendon and Sunderlands history

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David Bell outside 33 Gray Road visiting his father Billy Bell at 33 Gray Road this was just after my Mam had died

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Notice my Berlingo van parked on Gray Road the new buildings on the left was once an old vicarage

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These houses were buitl in the late eighties and were typical of the houses built in Hendon and Sunderland at that time they where well built and looked good

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Image show the repairing of the gable end of the house after wind damage on a house in Gray Road Hendon

The Sportsmans Arms

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The Sportsman’s Arms now Known as the Scullery

The Sportsman’s Arms closed on the 05-02-2010 when it closed it was left empty for a few years until a plumbing business opened up a showroom and office in the premises the company owners decided as they were not using all of the building so decided to rent out the old lounge at the rear of the pub

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The Sportsmans Arms Silksworth was once one of the most important buildings in Silksworth

Images taken by Dave Bell

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I took these images from the bottom of High Newport Allotments in May 2010 when the Sportsman’s Arms sadly closed and ended one of the last places that was used and built for the miners and their families of Silksworth very little remains of the miners heritage in Silksworth nowadays

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The once proud sign of the Sportsman’s Arms now looks tired and weary

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Notice the boarded up windows and The Sportsmans Arms sign still swinging as if everything was ok image taken on a wet and windy very cold day

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Close up of the sign on the rear wall of The Sportsmans Arms which closed in May 2010 because of lost revenue caused by very few local people using the public house

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The Sportsmans Arms puplic house built for the miners of Silksworth in 1871 as Silksworth Colliery grew new houses were built for the miners and their families and not forgetting why The Sportsmans Arms built for the miners when they had finished their shifts and to socialise when not working

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Silksworth Colliery shaft was sunk in 1869 In 1871, according to the Census there were approx 800 people living in the Silksworth and Tunstall areas, the local area was mainly farmland and where most people worked on the land.

Emerald

This a new variety I have just introduced from the Ukraine I purchased the seed in July 2018 on a bit of a whim I thought I have had asparagus seed from all over Europe so why not the Ukraine in Russia I was quite impressed when the seeds arrived they took about ten days to come and the postage was free if you bought a certain amount they were well packaged and labelled with basic instuctions

The seed packets were well packed in small plastic bags with growing instructions on the packets
The seed packets as they arrived from the Ukraine Very impressed with these seeds
Asparagus Emerald seed packets 
Asparagus Emerald plantlets 
Asparagus Emerald  Asparagus Emerald 
Healthy seedlings in their peat pots 
Healthy seedlings in their peat pots 
 
 

 I have just set more seeds away from the same supplier including giant onion seeds and a sweet tasting onion and more asparagus seeds which I have just noticed the seedlings are just coming through it takes about three weeks for the asparagus seeds to germinate using heat unheated seeds can take up to six weeks to germinate

 
   
   

How I Grow My Asparagus

Now is the time of year when one gets a little bit excited about what seed one is going to grow and especially the new varieties that have been developed although a lot of the new varieties are just older varieties rehashed under another name what I normally do in the Winter months is browse the web to see what new vegatables are available and there are many now with the internet one can buy seeds from all over the world one of my favourite vegtatables to grow is Asparagas I have three beds on my allotment of purchased crowns from various suppliers I am starting to be impressed with the purple varieties as you can eat these varieties raw and they are stringless unlike the green varietys but saying that I have the green varietys growing on my allotment as well they were all planted in different months the oldest bed was planted in May 2017 I have just sown the seed of Asparagus for this years growing program I have just sown Mary Washington a very old variety that many of the new strains are based on the main one is Asparagus Uc 72 F1 and the most popular variety grown in the world another very old purple variety is Asparagus Precoce d'Argenteuil this variety was grown in a village just outside of Paris and is a purple variety which most of the varietys of purple Asparagus are bred from

I grow a wide range of garden produce fruit trees,exotics,vegatables,flowers,cacti,root crops,grape vines and not forgetting my favourite ASPARAGUS which I have been growing for decades but with not very good results I would have loved one of those asparagus beds that lasts for years in Season 2017 I decided to give growing asparagus one last chance I decided to buy crowns from a few online garden websites I planted the asparagus crowns not as the experts recomend in trenches with a raised area in the middle of the trench draping the crowns roots downwards instead I decided to just dig a hole I made sure the crowns roots were not all tangled up I then added sharp sand and compost into the hole I then placed the crown into the hole and covered it with soil


The way I planted the asparagus crowns went against all the advice the gardening experts had given but I thought lets try another way to grow asparagus crowns I did not have much hope of my way planting the crowns to be very successful I forgot about the asparagus and just got on with the normal maintaince and growing on the allotment In March as I was weeding the cabbage plot I just happened to look at the oldest asparagus bed and I could not believe what I saw tiny asparagus shoots coming out of  the soil I checked and very gently started to prope the crowns and yes there was tiny shoots appearing I was excited so I went and searched the web for hints on growing asparagus and the general advice was as the asparagus shoots apeared was to apply a good fertilizer which I did 

Images of asparagus seedlings that are about five months old and where all grown from seed in my unheated conservatory on the allotment various varieties are pictured here
The asparagus seedlings The asparagus seedlings are about five months old
Asparagus seedlings 
Healthy looking seedlings 
All grown from seed Image of Mondeo asparagus a F1 hybrid
Image of Mondeo asparagus a F1 hybrid 20190123 103944
   
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This image is of an asparagus plantlet called Sweet Purple I purchased about a dozen of these plantlets of a guy called Keith Wheeler in May 2018
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The roots of the asparagus plantlets can be seen just before I repotted them into larger plant pots

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I use different size pots when transplanting the asparagus seedlings and always mix perlite with the compost I use for transplanting the asparagus

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These images of are of asparagus UC 157 F2 the one of the most popular varieties grown in the world and was developed in the early eighties

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A view of the asparagus plantlets ferns they are looking very healthy and green all these plantlets were grown from seed in my unheated conservatory

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More images of the asparagus plantlets after they had been repotted by me in the conservatory on the allotment

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Image of the ferns of asparagus Sweet Purple planlets which are about seven months old I grew the plantlets from seed in my unheated conservatory

Sweet Purple

Asparagus Sweet Purple is another variety I am growing from seed to grow on my allotment

Images of Asparagus seedlings Sweet Purple as they had just arrived 
Asparagus Sweet Puple  Asparagus sweet purple 
   
Sweet Purple asparagus one of the best early varieties   A strong healthy seedling
   
Healthy looking ferns on this asparagus   I love this purple asparagus
   
 All grown from seed A fairly new variety of Asparagus with purple spears 
   
Looking good  Potted off into these black pots 

 600 days (approximately 2 years) to reach maturity.
Don't let the long growth time of this perennial vegetable discourage you; Sweet Purple Asparagus will produce heavily and dependably for up to 15 seasons! This is a vegetable for your permanent garden, asking only well-drained fertile soil receiving sunshine and water. Begin this gourmet (and exceptionally healthful) crop today, and enjoy the results for more than a decade to come!
Purple asparagus has actually been around a long, long time; records exist of it being grown in France more than 150 years ago, and it was not new then. But it has only recently arrived on American tables, and we are proud to make the seed available to Park gardeners this season. Its benefits go well beyond its striking color and beauty!
Sweet Purple spears are about 6 to 9 inches long, much larger than traditional green types and also thicker. Best of all, they are stringless and tender, with less fiber than their green cousins, so they can be eaten from tip to base -- no need to snap off the tough end! Boasting 20% more sugar than green asparagus, they are mild, nutty, and sweet.
But concealed within each yummy bite is a good serving of anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight cancer. This asparagus is a superfood, absolutely central to a nutritious disease-prevention diet.
Sweet Purple loses much of its beautiful deep burgundy-violet coloration when cooked, but you can minimize this by sprinkling the spears with lemon juice just before cooking, or by lightly steaming. Because this variety is less fibrous, it cooks more quickly than green varieties.
Sweet Purple is a large plant with fern-like foliage reaching 4 to 5 feet high and 12 to 30 inches wide. Let the foliage die down naturally; it feeds the plant as it matures, so you don't want to cut it back until it falls over. That's about all there is to maintaining this vigorous perennial!
Start the seeds indoors in your Bio Dome or in peat pots or other individual containers. The seed germinates well but slowly; sow it 12 to 14 weeks before last scheduled spring frost in your area, and expect 3 weeks to pass before you see the shoots. When it's time to transplant the seedlings, let them harden off in a shaded, protected garden spot for at least 5 days before being set out in the soil.
Enrich the planting site with a balanced fertilizer, and make sure the drainage is good. Raised beds work well for this perennial, but traditional rows are also fine. Bear in mind that this is a tall plant that will shade neighboring plants during the growing season. During the first two years, as the plants reach maturity, make sure they never dry out completely. Cut back the dead foliage in late autumn and keep the bed weeded to prevent insects from sheltering near the plants.
Once your purple asparagus bed is established, you will wonder how you ever got by without fresh, delicious, healthy stalks straight from the garden to your plate! 

Asparagus Plantlets

I first started to become interested in growing asparagus about 1979 myself and my family really enjoyed eating this very healthy vegetable  I bought my first crowns from Marshalls a well known seed and plant supplier I think I purchased twelve crowns at this time I was racing pigeons on the banks of the River Wear beside the Sheepfolds Industrial Estate I decided to plant the crowns on the pigeon allotment site they never grew and they all died off 


These images were taken when I checked the development of these plantlets I recieved a nice surprise when I saw tiny asparagus shoots starting to show the plantlets have been kept in my unheated conservatory all winter 
Plantlets  These baby asparagus crowns are now starting to sprout new shoots 
These asparagus plantlets where all housed the unheated conservatory    These baby asparagus crowns are now starting to sprout new shoots very pleased with this
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When I was repotting some very neglected cati I noticed some asparagus growing amongst the plants I took the cacti out of their pots and low and behold there were some lovely although small asparagus crowns in amongst the discarded compost I cleaned them off and was totally amazed the seeds must have been in the compost when I repotted the cacti


I was that impressed with thesse crowns which had grown from seed with the cacti plants I went on an ego trip and called them Daves Delight
Asparagus Daves Delight These asparagus were found amongst the cacti I had just repotted
I havent any idea what variety these asparagus are but I know they were all grown from seeds   It takes about two years before the seedlings are large enoughto be planted in their beds for the future 
   

UC-157 F2

Asparagus UC 157 F2

The unusual variety name of this Asparagus is actually the reference number name used by the University of California Davis researchers during the development of this outstanding hybrid. ‘UC 157 F2’ is one of the most popular varieties in the world. Plants display excellent disease resistance, produce an abundance of very uniform spears (more than many other varieties available) and the spears offer terrific flavor and texture. Asparagus plants are perennial. Their ferny texture adds a soft, airy feel to the garden and the plants provide a reliable spring harvest for years to come

Delicious when lightly steamed and covered with cheese sauce or melted butter. An excellent source of vitamins and minerals. May be canned or frozen for later use. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating

Images of  Asparagus UC 157 F2 that I have grown from seed in my conservatory
Asparagus UC-157 F2   The unusual variety name of this Asparagus is actually the reference number name used by the University of California Davis researchers during the development of this outstanding hybrid. ‘UC 157 F2’ is one of the most popular varieties in the world. Plants display excellent disease resistance, produce an abundance of very uniform spears (more than many other varieties available) and the spears offer terrific flavor and texture. Asparagus plants are perennial. Their ferny texture adds a soft, airy feel to the garden and the plants provide a reliable spring harvest for years to come Delicious when lightly steamed and covered with cheese sauce or melted butter. An excellent source of vitamins and minerals. May be canned or frozen for later use. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating    Re potting  
Asparagus UC 157 F2  Asparagus UC 157 F2  Asparagus UC 157 F2 one of the most grown asparagus in the world 
Asparagus UC 157 F2  UC 157 F2  Look at the healthy ferns of the UC 172 seedlings 
20180710 104417  Look at the healthy ferns of the UC 172 seedlings  Send order by email, fax, or snail mail. Download Order Form UC 157 F2 is a tried and true clonal HYBRID that has set the standard for yield and all of the spear qualilty characteristics of fresh green asparagus. Out yields open pollinated varieties.  It is the most widely planted fresh market variety in the world. It produces early all-green spears with tight tapering heads and can be harvested longer in high temperatures than other varieties. Tolerant to Rust and Fusarium and free of Asparagus Latent Virus  
This is an extremely easy perennial plant to raise cheaply from seed if you have a little patience which will reward you with prolific crops for many years with little effort. UC-157 F2 produces heavy yields of dark green asparagus spears. First introduced in 1978 It is still the most widely planted fresh market asparagus in the world. A good tolerance to Fusarium Wilt and Rust.  I love growing asparagus from seed  
A very popular variety of asparagus 
     

 

The origins of asparagus - Asparagus Officinalis

A distant cousin of the onion, the distinguished asparagus is also a member of the lilaceae family. Its history goes back as far as that of the leek and has been consumed for over 2000 years. This garden plant originated in the eastern Mediterranean countries and traces of wild varieties have been discovered in Africa. Archaeologists believe that it was also cultivated in Egypt.

In ancient Greece, asparagus was considered to be a plant with sacred and aphrodisiac virtues and the Greeks were interested in its biological and pharmaceutical qualities.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek doctor, used asparagus to treat diarrhoea and pains of the urethra. This plant, in fact, contains asparagines which is known for it diuretic properties. The Romans, for their part, appreciated the plants gastronomic qualities. They ate it as an entrée or as a vegetable accompanying fish. Asparagus was largely forgotten during the Middle Ages but continued to be cultivated by the Arabs. Caesar’s legions returning from the Orient brought the asparagus back to Europe.

Starting in the 16th   century, asparagus was served in the royal courts of Europe and in the 17th century it was cultivated in France for Louis XIV who was, apparently, very fond of it. At that time, according to the records, it was the size of a swan’s feather and was grown solely for the requirements of the nobility. Only in the 18th century did the asparagus make its appearance on the local marketplace and in numerous culinary works.

Today, green asparagus is found in America and China. The white variety is cultivated mainly in Europe

Cultivation Advice VEGETABLE ASPARAGUS – UC 157 F2
Type: Perennial
Days To Germination: 14-15
Planting Depth: 1-1/2 inches
Spacing, Row: 36inches
Spacing, Plant: 12-18 inches
Plant Height: 30 inches
Light: Sunny or Partially Shaded
Sow as early as possible in the spring after soaking seeds overnight, 2-3 seeds per pot.
Optimum soil temperature for germination is 60-86 degrees.
When large enough to handle thin to the strongest plant, or transplant additional seedlings
Select a well-drained site with a sunny or partially shaded location.
When 3-4 inches plant out in raised rows 3ft apart, 12-18 inches between plants.
Plants should not be harvested until the second year and only lightly. Heavy cuttings are possible the third year.
Mulch the rows in autumn to protect the plants and provide nutrients as these are heavy feeder