Friday, 15 July 2011

Layering sweet peas

Now in the middle of July the sweet peas are up to the top of the support canes and need to be layered.  All this means is taken off the support canes and laid on the ground.  The sweet pea plants are then taken up a new cane four or five canes down the row.   

To make this process a little easier I take off the lower leaves.  These are the big tough leaves and really they are the ones making most of the food for the plants and should not be the ones taken off.  However, they often go yellow so will be taken off in any case.  There is also the dreaded yellow disease that infects the lower leaves and then slowly works its way up the plant. Removing the lower leaves seems to prevent this from happening. Just remember that these leaves are the workhouses of the plant that produce sugars through photosynthesis.  The light coloured small ones near the growing tip are net sugar sinks; needing more food to grow larger than they produce.  Only take off ones that you cannot avoid removing.  

If I take away the ones that I have laid on the path then you can see where the sweet peas are coming from.  
The stems lying on the ground can be tied into the canes to keep them away from the pathways.  As some of the sweet pea stem is lying on the ground the plant supported by the new cane is not as high as it was previously.  This gives a further length of cane that the sweet peas can be grown up. Extending the canes is not a really practical  because once the plants have reached the top of the canes they will be hard to side shoot and detrendril.  

The way that these sweet peas are growing they will be at the top of the new poles in no time at all.  If that happens, I will take them down again and take them up another cane further down the row.  
Layering is  a very time consuming job and I was only able to do one double row.  I will continue tomorrow if the rain holds off.  

I got some lawn mowings from the bays near the gate today and put it on the compost heaps to heat them up a bit.  I have been putting a lot of things on the heaps and they are getting over full.  I am hoping that the mowings will help to get decomposition going and the size of the heaps will diminish.  

I weeded around the winter cauliflowers that were in the broad bean row.  I hoed the cauliflowers up so that they would form more roots around the stem.  This will hopefully keep them upright during the winter.  

Several of the red Brussel sprouts were leaning over so I hoed these up as well.  I also staked them with some canes.  

The new calabrese was then put into the space that the old calabrese had left when I took them out.  I dug out planting holes, knocked the calabrese plants out of their 3 inch pots and put them into the holes.  I virtually filled the holes with inoculated charcoal.  I want to see what effect this has on the plants.  

I mowed the grass on the trackway alongside the allotment and across the top track.  The mowings I added to the compost heap.  I have put the tarpaulin over the top of the compost heap to keep the warmth in.  Hopefully decomposition will quicken now so the heap will go down and I can add more.

If I cannot use the compost heaps, I will dig a trench in the comfrey bed and bury stuff there. 

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