Monday, 25 April 2011

Another warm dry day. Not many April showers?

The rest of the leeks that I had taken to the allotment were planted under the enviromesh netting.  I gave them a good watering with comfrey and some mychorrhizal fungi.  The ones that I planted yesterday were standing up well.  The sooner I get the ones in the greenhouse onto the allotment the better.  They will have a good long growing season and I might get some big leeks.  The plan is on this link.

The only other things I have planned for this part of the allotment are the chamomile, cucumber, and Florence fennel and they will fit into the space left very easily.  The Web's Wonderful lettuce is standing up well and has no slug damage at all.  I think that the nematodes are doing their job.

No sign of the oca yet and maybe this is a good thing because there might be a threat of frost in the next week. The potatoes, however are all poking their heads over the soil even though I have earthed them up.  If there is a frost forecast, then I will have to earth them up even higher and cover the young foliage.

The Pink Fir Apple has not poked its head out of the soil yet so I think that these will be all right if there is a frost.

The Marshmello and Cambridge strawberries have flowers on them now.  I am feeding with comfrey once a week and watering them during this hot weather.

I have weeded the Cobham Improved Marrow parsnips but I have not thinned them out yet.  Only a few have got their second leaves at the moment so I will wait until they get a little bigger.  I have not weeded under the enviromesh netting over the carrots but I will have to soon.  You can see the lines of carrot seedlings quite clearly now but there are too many weeds in between.

No germination from the Hamburg parsley at the moment so I gave it a good watering to see if this would speed things up a little.  I still need to plant the Wodan Beetroot, however I am trying to wait until May before I do this.

Some irritating animal has scuffed up my scorzonera looking for worms.  I think that the fox does this.  I will plant some seed to fill up the holes that this has made in the row.

I have planted one line of Topline Brussel Sprout.  These seed were given to me so if they do not do very well I will not mind.  On the other side of the brassicae bed I put in a line of Golden Acre cabbages next to the new line of kohlrabi.

 The Brussel sprouts and the cabbages were watered in using comfrey liquid.  When I am planting brassicas I put the seedling into the hole and then "puddle" them in.  This is to wash into the hole as much surrounding soil as I can; filling the hole with a mixture of water and soil.  As the water goes down and soaks into the soil, it leaves a residue of soil covering the roots.  The soil rarely fills the planting hole but it is simple to go along the row with the trowel filling the holes and smoothing the soil.  Doing it this way, the brassicae seedlings never droop even when put out in the warmest of weather - like today.

Both the cabbage and the Brussel sprouts were covered with a 1 inch, mesh, plastic netting to keep the pigeons off them.  They will reduce them to stumps if they are not protected.

The next to go in are the calabrese and the broccoli.

I am going to try summer cauliflower this year.  I have not grown this for an awful long time.  The cabbage white butterflies seem to be attracted to  them more than any of the other brassicas.  I am going to construct a 1/4 inch netted area for them and hopefully this will keep the cabbage white butterflies off them.

The netting is just put over canes dotted along the lines.  I do not tie them on because they never blow off the canes.  More elaborate structures can be constructed but the purpose is to keep the pigeons off the brassicas and mine do just that so I am not going in for anything more complicated.

I think that most people grow these cauliflowers in poly tunnels to keep them away from the pests like this but this is cheating.  I want to grow as much as possible outside.

Peas are doing particularly well but I have seen signs of slug damage on them when I watered.  I am keeping them damp so that the nematodes will do their work.  Surprisingly, I want some slugs to be on the allotment because the nematodes will starve to death if there are none at all.  I hope that the nematodes do work because I don't really want to resort to slug pellet - organic or not.

I still haven't done the Blue Danube and Gwendoline sweet pea rows.  They need the main stem to be selected and the other stems cut out.   They are still quite small though and it is difficult to tie them in so I will leave them for a little while to let them grow on a bit.

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