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Swede Marian is a purple topped, yellow fleshed variety that is hardy and a reliable cropper. It gives a high yield of large, uniform roots that have resistance to clubroot and mildew.
It is ideal for pre-Christmas harvesting.
It’s best to sow swede seeds directly outdoors from mid-May and anytime throughout June, when the soil has sufficiently warmed up and the danger of severe frosts have passed. Seeds started in a greenhouse and then transplanted outdoors have a very low success rate. Sow the seeds thinly in furrows about 2cm deep and lightly cover with finely raked soil. If sowing more than one row then allow 30cm between the rows. Lightly tamp the soil and water with a watering can and fine rose attachment. Germination usually takes around 10 days.
Growing in beds
Swede prefer a well-drained soil and do not grow well on heavy clay type soils. Prepare the growing area at least 2 months in advance incorporating plenty of organic matter. Firm the soil and then rake to a fine tilth. When the seedlings are about 2cm-3cm high, thin out to 25cm apart. It’s best to nip the seedlings at the base of the stem rather than pull them out of the soil. This will ensure the soil is not disturbed too much for those seedlings which will remain.
Young plants need to be watered regularly to ensure they do not dry out but over watering or irregular watering can cause the roots to crack so best to ensure the soil is kept evenly moist at all times. Remove weeds as they appear. Care should be taken if using a how to control weeds as the roots can be easily damaged. The application of a weekly liquid feed during August will be beneficial in helping the roots swell prior to harvesting.
Pests and diseases
As with all brassicas the cabbage root fly can be a problem, especially with seedlings and young plants. If this is a known problem then as a preventative measure grow plants under horticultural fleece or insect proof mesh. Club root is another well-known problem for brassicas and there is no cure. If club root s known to be present in the soil then do not grow swede.
Harvesting and storage
Swede, when fully grown will happily stay in the ground for a few months so there’s no need to harvest them all at the same time. However, from September and through to December the plants will be ready for harvesting when required. Swede will store quite well if lifted before the onset of extremely cold weather and placed in a dry shed. Swede can also be frozen if peeled, prepared and then blanched for 3 minutes. Allow to cool then put into in airtight bags and place in a freezer for later use.
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