Monday, 10 January 2011

Warmer temperatures today.

With the warmer temperatures, I have eventually been able to move the black currants to their new home.  They have all had inoculated carcoal and mychorrhizal fungi put at the bottom of the planting hole in my attempt to produce Terra preta soil.  Black currents are very hungry plants and need a lot of nutrients.  I hope that this will give them a good start.  I had moved some of the primula yesterday because they were going to be in the way of the black currant row.  I am going to move the others tomorrow.

The retaining slabs alongside the blackberry bushes needed sorting out.  They had begun to lean over and were never right after the land drain was put in by the contractor.  I use upended slabs to keep my raised beds from overflowing onto the trackway.  I took out four of the 2' by 2' slabs and dug out a trench so that I could make sure that they were upright.  I know that I should have used a bubble but I decided I could do it by eye.  I am not so sure now and when I do the others I will use the spirit level.

The sweet pea seedlings are looking decidedly dejected.  Not sure what to do with them but I will leave them alone until the warmer weather.  If they do not seem to be recovering from the very cold weather, then I will sow some more but not until March time.

Only harvested carrots today.  I was going to dig up some parsnips as well but we have two at home now anyway.  Think when you are planting parsnips Tone, you will never eat more than one row.    Make sure that you thin the carrots and use them before the very cold weather (Or store them where the very cold frosts cannot get at them.)

I am going to select some of the vegetable seeds for  this year and record them here so that I know what I was sown this year (2011)

Although a lot of my potatoes have rotted because of the very cold weather, I think that I will continue with Kestrel.  It is a good second early potato and is very resistant to many potato pests and diseases.  My first early will be Epicure.

American land cress
Apple mint (already planted)
Bay (already planted)
Beetroot 'Boltardy'
Brussels Sprout 'Trafalgar'
Broad Bean (already planted)
Broccoli 'Red Arrow'
Blackberry 'Adrienne'
Blackcurrant (various already planted)
Blueberry (already planted)  Fashion accessory but I was given it so I will try it. 
Cabbage 'Stonehead' or 'Golden Acre'
Calabrese 'Green Sprouting'
Cauliflower (winter)  
Carrot Flyaway
Chicory 'Variegata Di Castelfranco'
Comfrey (already planted)
Courgette Parador
Cucumber Burpless Tasty Green.
Fennel Florence
French climbing bean 'Cobra'
Garlic (already planted)
Gooseberry 'Xania'
Grape (already planted)
Jerusalem artichoke (already planted)
Leek 'Musselburgh Improved'
Lemon Balm (already planted)
Lettuce 'Webb's Wonderful'
Okra 'Pure Luck'
Onion 'Ailisa Craig' (planted in seed tray 4/01/11)
Pea Early Onward
Parsnip 'White Gem'
Plum 'Victoria' (already planted)
Pumpkin 'Big Max'
Radish 'Cherry Belle'
Runner Bean 'Aintree'
Runner Bean 'Red Rum'
Rhubarb 'Champagne' (already planted)
Rhubarb Chard
Spinach 'Medania'
Strawberries 'Cambridge' mainly (already planted )
Swede 'Marian'
Sweet  Cicerly (already planted)
Sweetcorn 'Two's Sweeter'
Tomato (not sure which variety yet)
Thyme (already planted)

I would like to try some Oca but 'The Real Seed Catalogue'  has sold out. Might try a Yacon though.

Now for some more thoughts...

Lots of the remedies recommended by “organic” gardeners have unpleasant chemicals in them. I am worried that any chemical that you use will alter the population of soil organisms and cause more problems than it solves.
I’m sure that pyrethrum and derris are going to be banned if they are not already but these have dosage rates on the bottle and have been tested to some degree.
I have never used nettle tea as an insecticide but I would suggest that it would not damage your health because we eat it in similar concentrations in nettle soup and tea. As at least two common butterflies eat the leaves I cannot believe that it has any insecticide properties.

If plants are grown as healthily as possible then you are less likely to get disease and pests

I would rather use natural remedies like nematode worms, Bacillus thuringiensis, mycorrhizal fungi, and such like. Put up a few bird boxes around the allotment to encourage insect eating birds. Encourage hedgehogs and toads. Try to work with nature rather than battle against it. I know that the pristine allotment with regimented rows of beautiful vegetables is the ideal of all allotment holders but you will never achieve it, so get over it and accept what you’ve got. It will still be a lot healthier than vegetables sold in  shops.

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