Monday, 25 July 2011

Garden maintenance

The onion bed needed weeding so I started with the onions and worked across the bed.  I find that doing this systematically gets it finished very quickly.  I used the onion hoe to weed between the plants.  It is a very useful tool.

DeWit Onion Hoe with Extended handle - NEW for 2009
It is a handy tool that allows you to earth up the leeks as well as hoe the weeds.  I don't always hoe up the leeks but if you do it will give you more blanched leaf than if you just leave them.

I had a different tool for many years which was more or less an oval blade but it eventually  wore itself out. I did like it because it was very efficient getting weeds out.

I was going to feed the onions but I didn't want to take the weeds off.  They would wither away in the hot sun if I just left them on top of the soil.  Watering would only help them to recover and start to grow again.  I will leave it until tomorrow.

I took out a couple of lettuces that had gone over and put them in the worm bin.  I didn't think that there would be any worm liquid after I had cleared the bin out, however there was quite a bit.  I put this into the comfrey bin without a tap.  It will go through and get some comfrey liquid with it.  I am using the liquid from this bin to put into the dustbin with the charcoal.  It is pretty concentrated because I have not put any water into this bin.  I am hoping to get some powerful inoculated charcoal.  I would like to keep this charcoal marinading in comfrey mixture until next year if possible.  The I will use it on all the vegetables.

I tied up the tomatoes that I planted on the onion bed.  I just noticed that the potatoes might have blight so I will probably loose all the tomatoes.  We shall see.

I gave the runner beans and the sweet peas another feed with comfrey liquid.  The sweet peas are beginning to recover from being layered and producing some really big flowers.

There was a handful of runner beans to be picked and the stems that had reached the top of the cane supports needed pinching out.  If you pinch out the growing tips of the runner beans when they reach the top of the canes it makes them produce more side shoots.  The more side shoots, the more flowers so it is worth doing if only to prevent the top of the canes becoming overcrowded and top heavy.  When this happens the whole row could topple over especially as we have some wicked winds at the top of the hill.

I have taken out another row of potatoes.  Got a barrow load from twelve plants. Not sure of the weight because I have not weighed them yet.

I washed the potatoes so they are looking quite good at the moment.  They were washed for a couple of reasons.  There is no point in bringing best topsoil home and washing the soil off them only to go down the drain.  If the potatoes are washed in a tub at the allotment then I can put the soil back on the potato bed.  The dirty water was poured around the tomato plants on the potato bed.  Secondly, any slugs and snails will be washed off the potatoes and not be put into the store paper bags to reek havoc while the potatoes are stored.

I started cutting the old fruiting raspberry canes out because they have gone over now and all the strawberries have been picked.  This is a summer fruiting variety with a very sweet taste.  The old canes apart from having the fruiting branches are also very dark brown while the new ones are usually quite green.  This means that it is quite easy to identify the old canes and cut them out.  I tied most of the new canes to the support wires but I will have to make sure they are fastened securely but I will do this when I take the Pink Fir Apple potatoes out and I can get down the other side of the row.  I might have to take the potatoes out sooner than I expected because they might have blight.  I was going to glean the old raspberry canes for any fruit left on them but there was very little and what there was had been spoilt by the rain.

More blackberries were ready for picking and I took off quite a few.  With a few beetroot, carrots and the last of the summer cauliflowers I had quite a car full when I was going home.  All the summer cauliflowers had club root and if they did it was probably in the seed.  However, cabbage root fly also makes the cauliflower root swell.  It probably was cabbage root fly (Delia radicum) rather than club root (Plasmodiophora brassicae.)  I have not had club root on the brassicas for years now.

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