Monday, 2 May 2011

I hope there are no frosts this week.

Not very exciting but I planted out the sweet corn and the summer cauliflowers.  I had a small area next to the onions that I had left for the sweet corn and without any previous calculations twenty of them fitted just right into the space available.  I watered them in with comfrey liquid.  While I was there I had a look at the onions under the cloches.  They were doing remarkably well but a lot of weed had grown in between them.  I resolved to come back and deal with the weeds later.

The problem with summer cauliflowers is that they are very susceptible to cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae).  In fact summer  cauliflowers are more susceptible than most  to all the brassicae ailments.  The cabbage white caterpillars, that are little green jobs, get into the flowers of the cauliflower and are a devil of a job to get out when they are washed.   As I had such a poor survival rate of winter cauliflowers this year and subsequent poverty of cauliflowers, I resolved to plant some summer ones to compensate.  

I planted the cauliflowers about one foot apart and one foot from the previous row of summer flowering brocolli.  I only wanted one line of summer cauliflowers but it needed special protection

I had a small 5mm mesh net that would do the job really well but I was not sure whether it would cover the row completely.  The plastic piping supports were put in every two feet -I find that this is a convenient spacing that prevents the net sagging in the middle.  When I put the net over the supports, I found that it fitted very well and giving the cauliflowers enough room to develop free from cabbage white butterflies.  

I weeded and hoed the Early Onward peas then watered them.  They are about 6 inches tall now.  It was very dry and when I started hoeing I was creating clouds of soil dust.  Even when the soil was wetted there was still  a lot of dust.  Eventually I gave up the hoeing and did not do any more.  

I watered the dwarf French beans and the runner beans.  Now comes the worrying bit.  There is likely to be frosts this week on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  The beans may well survive this weather but they will probably be nipped back a bit.  I hope they are not too affected.  The potatoes are well up and the plants are developing well so they may well be affected by the frost too.  I will try to earth them up a little more tomorrow.  

I took the cloches off the onions and weeded around them carefully.  As I had disturbed them a little, I gave the onions a good dose of comfrey liquid.  The person that designed cloches that have the plastic stuck to the supports should be congratulated on producing something that is particularly difficult to use.  Getting the wire to stick into the ground with any kind of precision is futile and trying to prevent the plastic from sagging is equally as difficult.  However, I did eventually return the cloches to their original positions and moved on to weed the carrots.  

The carrots are under an enviromesh cover and this had to be moved back before I could weed.  It is easier than you think to do and I weeded carefully along the rows.  I watered on comfrey liquid and then recovered them.  

Afterwards, I went round generally watering things because of this very dry weather.  

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