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June-3rd Week

Mr Middleton says: True gardeners never enjoy the fruits of their labours unless they can share them with others.

June-3rd WEEK

1. Careful with the Watering-Can!- Where watering is necessary it should be done with care. Do not water until you must, and then give a thorough soaking.

2. Finish Asparagus.- The cutting of asparagus should now be finished. To go on any longer only exhausts the plants. Run strings around the beds fastened to canes or stakes to provide some support for the stems which grow up.

3. Wage War on Pests.- Keep a watch for any pests on the various crops and deal with them as soon as seen. Do not regard them as an act of God which must be suffered in silence. Watch for caterpillars on cabbage and other brassicas.

4. Celery, Beans and Cauliflower.- Celery which is growing well should be fed with liquid manure and soot water. Dust old soot over the foliage to keep away the celery fly. Remove side shoots growing from the base of the plants. Broad beans should be pinched , as recommended earlier, to discourage black-fly attacks. Some of the earliest will begin to head up. Cover the heads by breaking a leaf and bending it over them.

5. Celeriac and Tomatoes.- Feed celeriac with liquid manure. They require a rich soil and much feeding. Tomatoes planted in the greenhouse now should give fruits well into winter.

6. Sow Final Carrots : Plant Leeks and Broccoli.- Make another sowing of short-horn carrots. This will probably be the last in the north, as sowings after June are rarely successful. Plant leeks as required. Plant broccoli, such as May Queen and Leamington.

7. Top-Dress Cucumbers.- The larger cucumbers growing inside should be top-dressed. Make a rich mixture of loam, leaf-mould, sand and fertilizer, and put on a thickness of an inch or two. Firm well with the palms of the hands.

9. Thin Out Fruit Trees.- Apples shed a proportion of their fruits naturally, and this is termed the June drop. Begin to thin apple fruit after it. If left unthinned they yield a large crop of small fruits.

Green Haze

‘True gardeners never enjoy the fruits of their labours unless they can share them with others.’ How very true. Mr Middleton was a man from my own heart. Sharing can be so satisfying whether it is with friends or your own family. I suppose by providing food for the table that you have grown can be seen as sharing. I sometimes give an odd lettuce to the lady who works in our local boulangerie. She always seems very grateful but for all l know her husband has them coming out of his ears too! That’s the problem. Anyone who is growing their own also have the same gluts and are also trying to part with their excess produce.Oh, the trials and tribulations us gardeners go through!

First courgettes

It will be the same with my courgettes soon, after all, there are only so many ways of cooking a courgette!   Mr Middleton goes on to tell us to be careful with the watering can. Well, hopefully you don’t have to worry about that either this week. We have had some really good showers that has soaked the ground and with the warm temperatures everything is taking off.

The Good and the Bad

Of course, the weather plays a part in everything we do in the garden and the above picture typifies this. Just a week or two ago we were all complaining about the hot, dry weather and the spinach that has gone to seed before it produced any good leaves is a result of that. Behind the spinach is a row of mange tout that l swear is growing before my very eyes. I know what sort of weather l would rather have for for my garden.

Come on, you Carrots!

The carrot bed is coming along well too with the recent rain. I know l am going to have to protect them from the dreaded carrot fly soon. Every year presents the same dilemma. How do l protect them? I hate seeing sheets of white fleece 3 ft high in the veg plot but the alternatives have never been that good for me ie. the ‘happy bedfellows’ of the garden. I have tried growing onions, garlic, shallots and leeks near them in the hope that the scent from the onions will deter the fly but with little success. As an organic gardener l will not use a chemical spray so l suppose the fleece it is. Maybe if l dye it green that might help? Does anybody know of any other organic deterrent?

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in June, June - In Your Garden

 

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May – 2nd Week

Mr Middleton says: Little and often is the golden rule with fertilizers: a little less rather than a little more.

1. Plant Out Celery and Celeriac.- Celery is normally planted in trenches in single or double rows. Set the plants out 9 in. apart. Water with liquid manure. Dust with old soot often, to keep the celery fly away. Celeriac, which is grown for its turnip-like root, requires a rich soil and much feeding to get really good roots. It is a fine vegetable for soup, and is excellent boiled.

2. Thin Out Seedlings.- Many rows of seedlings will need thinning out from time to time. This can be done at one stage, though normal practice is to do it twice. \the first time the rows are reduced and specimens left about twice as thick as is necessary. This leaves plenty to cover failures. The alternate plants are removed at the final thinning. With carrots the disturbance of the roots of the row loosens the soil and permits the carrot fly to lay its eggs near the roots of the plants, and the pungent smell attracts the pest. Where the fly has proved a nuisance in the past it is better to sow the seeds sparingly and to leave the rows unthinned.

3. Onions and Their Enemies.- The same sort of thing applies to onions which, when sown out of doors and thinned, attract the onion fly where fly is prevalent. It is better to leave them unthinned and take a crop of smaller onions.


4. Plant Cucumbers.-
Cucumbers can now be planted in frames.

5. Sow Swedes and Turnips.- swede and turnips should be sown now in the north if they are to achieve full development.

6. Sow and Plant.- Sow maincrop beet and haricot beans. Plant out late cauliflowers and New Zealand spinach. Apply mulches to any fruit trees that need it. Protect beans outside if weather is unseasonable.

Unfortunately, a lot of this weeks advice is not relevant to me as l am not planting up winter veg due to our house being for sale and l foresee a move back to Blighty before the year is out. However, l will heed his advice regarding the thinning of seedlings and will not be thinning my carrots just yet. I like to grow them on until they are of edible size and then have a few meals of baby carrots. I will be putting a frame over them with a fleece to keep the carrot fly at bay.

Like every gardener/cook, l love onions and garlic but my garden here won’t allow me to grow them. They suffer first with rust, and worst of all, onion white rot. There is no cure for this disease and can stay in the soil for up to 8 years. So rather than live in hope l use the space to grow other crops.

Roger, my friend & assistant!

I sowed spinach and Swiss Chard a couple of weeks ago and both are doing well. I like to make curries and use the leaves to do a mean Spinach and Potato Curry or, later on, a Green Curry that is one of the best l have ever tasted. I will share the recipe nearer the time.

I have planted out my cucumber plants in the open and training them up a willow wigwam. They seem to be doing okay at the moment. Fingers crossed there will not be a late frost!

 

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A Spring in my Step

Mr Middleton says : Pruning blackcurrants, raspberries, and other plants consists of removing old to make room for new.

April- 2nd Week

1. Finish Onion Planting.- Finish onion planting as soon as possible. Onions thrive best on a bed which is rich and firm, and do not like loose and newly dug soil. Sow onions for salad purposes if not already done.

2. Sow Spinach and Peas.– Spinach can be sown outside. A good variety for now is the Long Standing Round, which does not run to seed so readily as the ordinary round type.

A successional sowing of peas should be made. Sow at intervals of a fortnight to keep up a supply right trough the summer.

3. Sow Radish and Lettuce Outdoors. – Sow radish out of doors., choosing a position between rows of cabbage or cauliflowers, or between peas and beans. This quick-growing crop can be grown and matured before the other vegetables are fully grown, so this is a good way to use the wide pieces of land between the rows. The method is known as inter-cropping, and is a way of getting more than one crop from a piece of land. Lettuce can be so used too, and plants can be put out now.

4. Fertilize Potatoes and Plant More.– Draw a little soil up to the potatoes planted during last month, which are showing. Apply a dressing of a potato fertilizer between the rows and mix it with the soil when drawing it up. Plant more potatoes.

5. Sow Salsify, Chicory, Runner Beans.– Salsify can be sown now. Chicory can be sown for forcing in winter. Runner beans, which will not stand frost, may be sown in boxes and brought on in a cold frame to be planted when danger of frost is past.

6. Plant Out Cabbage and Spouts.- Plant out cabbages and Brussels sprouts. The sooner the sprouts are out and growing the better.

7. Sow Carrots and Turnips.– Sow long-rooted carrots. Suitable varieties are St. Valery (which is an excellent show carrot, being smooth), Altrincham and Long Red Surrey. Sow six-week turnips.

8. Spray Fruit Bushes and Trees.- Spray blackcurrants for mite and gooseberries for American gooseberry mildew. Spray cherries for aphis.

9. Look to Frames.– Harden off brassicas, etc, in frames. All lights should be off now.

Purple Sprouting Brocolli

We are still eating the Purple-Sprouting broccoli l grew last year. Its delicious and certainly rivals asparagus for a early spring crop. The salsify and parsnips have been excellent too. We have lived off Spicy Parsnip soup this winter! There are still some in the ground but will probably be a bit woody now as they have sprouted tons of new growth and look like they need a good haircut.

The Greenhouse

I sowed my first crop of peas about 2 weeks ago and they are just coming through now, although the slugs look like they are having a feast on the succulent young tips. I have put some netting up for support but will use some sticks on the others l sow as it looks much better and provides a more solid frame for the peas to climb up.

Pea supports

My radish and lettuce are going great guns. I am determined, this year, to have a healthy succession of salads throughout the summer. So far, so good!

Young radish

No signs of my early potatoes so far. I am growing them in the old traditional way ie. in trenches and then earthed-up. I planted them under plastic last year but the slugs also live there and had a bit of a feast. Also, it is difficult to water them in a drought, which we experienced last year.

Over-wintered Swiss Chard

I sowed my runner beans in pots last week and are in the unheated greenhouse. No signs yet.

I also sowed 4 long rows of carrots this week so should have a good supply of young sweet carrots in a couple of months. I love eating them when they are very small.

My squash, courgettes and pumpkins have all germinated. Just have to keep the dreaded snails off them now.

Young Squash, Courgettes and Pumpkins

Have a great weekend and Happy gardening!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in April, The garden

 

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The Spring Hustle

An extract from Mr Middleton’s book ‘Digging for Victory’:

April. There are so many jobs to be done just now that it is difficult to know which to tackle first. We lost a good deal of time earlier on, when we ought to have been digging and preparing, owing to severe weather, and now some of us are like the cow’s tail, all behind. But that need not worry us; as l have often said before, we should never garden by dates; and if the spring happens to be late, then we must be late too. The danger with so many people is that in trying to make up for lost time, they do things in such a hurry that they only half do them. That is a great mistake; try to do everything properly and thoroughly, and if you can’t get the potatoes planted on Easter Monday as usual, or the other seeds sown, never mind; get them in as soon as you can, and you’ll be surprised how they catch up for lost time, and by the middle of the summer everything will be about normal again. I have often planted potatoes at the end of this month, or even early in May, and the crops have been just as good. I haven’t finished digging yet, but l am not worrying about it, and the crops, or most of them, will perhaps be all the better for a late start.


Some sound advice from Mr Middleton. I think we can all relate to this overwhelming feeling we can get at this time of the year when we look around our plot and see what still needs to be done with so little time. To stop myself scattering seeds to all four corners of the plot in wild abandonment, l arrange my seed packets into salad, brassicas, herbs etc, and then look to see what can be sown direct into the soil or raised in a heated propagator. Just about everything can be sown outside now. But remember, little and often, otherwise we end up with that glut of vegetables that no else wants because they too have a massive glut of the same thing!

I managed to really get on yesterday in my plot and sowed more salad crops, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli early and late varieties, spinach, chard, brussel sprouts, and some annual herbs. I only grow what we like to eat and as we don’t really eat a lot of cabbage l don’t bother to grow it. It takes up a lot of room that can be used for other crops.

The early spuds are all showing now. Just hope the dreaded blight doesn’t take them this year.

pumpkins, squash and courgettes

In the greenhouse my pumpkins, squash and courgettes have germinated and are looking good. I love roasted squash so grow quite a few to see us through the winter.

seed bed

I prepared my seed bed by adding some compost, forking it over and tapping it down with the back of a rake to firm it. I sowed lots of brassicas in here and when they are old enough to be transplanted l will sow a green manure.

sweet peas

The sweet peas l sowed back in October last year have been hardened off and yesterday l put them in the garden. I love sweet peas and they look great growing up a wig wam.

rhubarb

The rhubarb is growing really well and this lot is going to be made into a Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Pics to follow.

NEWS FLASH……..Just heard my first cuckoo!! Have you heard yours yet?

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2010 in April, The garden

 

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