Saturday, July 16, 2011

Preparing for Winter crops

One important aspect of vegetable growing is thinking ahead to ensure a steady supply of vegetables throughout the seasons. At this time of the year we start thinking of the numerous jobs that need to be completed in order to ensure a continuation of crops all through the Summer and into the Winter months.

As soon as the onions are lifted over the next few days, the ground will be dug over to plant the winter crops that were seeded in trays and potted up some time ago such as cabbage, early and extra early purple sprouting broccoli, celeriac, fennel, celery, swede, turnip, beetroots and winter lettuce; cauliflowers and leek plants will be purchased from one of the local growers. These vegetables will be planted in accordance to our rotation system and then any remaining empty beds will be sown in early Autumn with oats, our preferred green manure.

The marrows are producing well and in past years we have noted that the humid conditions we get living so close to the coast cause fungal attacks and the plants are lost in early September. This year we have been treating susceptible crops with horsetail. This year we have grown second lot of marrow plants that we raised from seed in late June to hopefully provide us with courgettes and marrows well into the Autumn and thus ensure we can enjoy cooking with fresh marrows for a longer period. We will let you know what happens.

The beetroots are producing bumper crops and the latest sowing, the fourth, is growing well in the half drainage pipe we sow them in before they get planted out on the ground. At this time of the year with the heat of Summer, we will need to shade the young plants once planted on the ground until they get established, this will take about two or three days.

Elsewhere in the garden we are enjoying a great show of wildlife from the pond and bog garden with numerous acrobatic displays from damsel and dragon flies as they jockey for position to lay their eggs.

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