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Lucky escape

Posted by Guy Barter on 23 Jul 2007 at 08:33 AM

Heavy rains that saw Wisley close due to flooding did not do great damage to the allotment.  The ditches are not running and paths remain passable.  Lucky local variations in storms perhaps. 

The seed raised onion 'Golden Bear' was pulled.  The crop was meagre due to downy mildew damage.  The space occupied was weeded thoroughly, ready for light cultivation and planting in September with spring cabbage plants.  The cabbages will grow between sprouting broccoli and leeks, so that the whole lot can be cleared in one go next April ready for May sowings and plantings of courgettes, French beans, sweet corn and tomatoes. In the meantime the space makes an easy access path to weed and tend the leeks.  

Weeds were pulled out of the leeks and growmore sprinkled on.  The growmore was old material that had got damp and found a good use on the leeks. 

The celeriac next door was hand weeded too, any wayward leaf stalks pulled off and some sulphate of ammonia sprinkled on.   Heavy feeding seems necessary as growth is slowing due to excessively wet soils and leaching out of nutrients form the soil. 

Brassicas were also fed.  They have already had some calcium nitrate, a quick acting fertiliser that also counters clubroot.  This time they were treated with Calcium cyanamide, a slower acting fertiliser that also counters the clubroot disease.  This will be mixed into the soil as they are ridged up releasing its nitrogen.  In late summer when watering is unlikely to be needed I like to draw soil around the base of brassicas to hold them steady in winter gales. 

Conditions remain ideal for blight and spraying continues every week to thoroughly coat potatoes and tomatoes with fungicide.  Despite this, some damage seems inevitable given the continuing heavy rainfall. 

Uncropped areas become weedy very quickly and Weedol 2 (Diquat) is applied to keep these weed-free.  In a dry year hoeing would be enough, but this year the hoe often merely ‘transplants' rather than kills. 

At least the rain is proving very helpful to all the newly set out transplants especially cabbages, broccoli and leeks.  Seedbeds are not faring quite so well with the soil packed down by rain and hard for seedlings to penetrate. 

Final sowings have been made of courgettes, beetroot and French beans. 

Transplants of broccoli, courgettes, French beans and sweetcorn have been transferred from the back garden to a holding area on the allotment.  The holding area is floored with groundcover fabric and covered in fleece.  This will keep the plants safe and growing, conveniently placed to plant out as soon as ground is cleared. 

One last splurge of planting will see the end of the hard work for the year.

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