Wisley is a dangerous place to work - the plant centre is so tempting. Enthused by the 'growing weather' of recent days I
succumbed enough to buy some lettuce plants and after raking in 100g
per square metre of growmore, these have been planted under fleece,
followed by watering and the merest scattering of slug pellets.
the carrots, lettuces, parsnips and radishes sown in late
February/early March were thinned to one every 5cm - they will be
thinned later to their final spacing and given more fertiliser.
Seeds, beetroot, kohl rabi, lettuces, radish, spinach and turnips, from the last big sowing session are starting to come up. To help them along they were carefully watered this morning. Unfortunately, the braird, as the line of emerging seedlings is sometimes called, is still too indistinct to allow hoeing.
Flea beetles are attacking the radishes and will puncture kohl rabi and turnip seedlings as soon as they are big enough. I am hoping that the watering will help the seedlings grow sufficiently fast to outgrow the flea beetle. I could cover with fleece, but that will get in the way of the hoeing that must be done as soon as the braird is visible.
the hoe was in my hand the garlic was cleaned up, but the over-wintered
onions grown through landscape fabric are weed free and feeling the
benefit of their nitrogen feed in January. I am slightly less gloomy about their prospects than I was a month ago.
because weed control is so critical to allotments, I have a battery of
hoes - Dutch hoe to push through the soil for very shallow accurate
hoeing, draw hoe used with a shallow scratching action - a very worn
one for close hoeing between plants, a ‘coat hanger' home-made hoe
where a wire loop forms the blade and can run right against tender
seedlings and an onion hoe. The latter is only 15ins long and is an invaluable remedy amongst crops foul with weeds.
Peas sown in early March were big enough to hoe after removing their fleece covering. I am delighted to report that not a pea was devoured by mice and no mice lost their lives in my mouse traps.
last sowing of broad beans was made through landscape fabric and won't
need weeding. They are growing quickly and will be in flower within
three weeks. Unfortunately landscape fabric is not an option for peas where a high plant population is needed.
latest sowing of peas is now coming through and the fleece sheet went
over them, with the mousetraps, to get them off to a safe start.
Netting was removed from over-wintered peas, which are coming into flower, and these and the March sown crop were netted using Titan netting suspended on stakes and string.
The over-wintered broad beans, now in full flower, were watered. The success of bean crops depends very much on the soil moisture content at flowering. Although
there is not a problem at the moment no rain is forecast, the weather
is drying sun and wind and the slightest moisture stress will greatly
reduce the crop, so prevention is called for.
Pea and bean weevil are nibbling the leaf edges of the legume crops. It is probably not worth treating these as with luck and the warmer weather forecast, the crops should outgrow the pest.
It has been too cold for green or blackfly to affect the legumes, but I carefully checked them just in case.
Dryness has limited slug damage too, but vulnerable crops, like the newly planted lettuce plants, have been lightly pelleted.
The next big batch of sowing will be due, based on progress of preceding crops, in about 10 days time. In the meantime the work of tidying the plot goes on. Any
weeds in uncropped areas have been treated with glyphosate based
weedkiller, path edges have been cut and straightened and spent crops
have been removed. The savoy cabbage were pulled out. Just
two plants showed overt symptoms of club root - the remnants of these
will be burnt along with a spadeful of the surrounding soil.
of crop material from last year is a vital step in ensuring that there
is little carry-over of pests and diseases of whitefly into this year's
crop. As the brassica crops were moderately infested with cabbage aphid and whitefly this winter, this is very important this year.
than dig, and lose soil moisture, the cleared ground is loosened with a
fork, but not inverted and then tilled with mattock, followed by three
prong cultivator and finished off with the metal rake. This
is a light, quick way of working reasonably moist soil when the areas
are too small to be worth lugging the rotovator to the allotment.
I am afraid that the plant centre ensnared me again, and I invested in
some more soft fruit bushes, so I shall take a break from veg while I plant my fruit.