Saturday, 6 October 2018

October 2018

Links to Mr. Middleton's tasks 1st (please note that I have not updated all these tasks at present) :

October 1st Week
October 2nd Week
October 3rd Week
October 4th Week


2018
 October's first week began on Saturday 6th. Due to the Giants visiting Liverpool I didn't go to the allotment until Monday 8th.
 Harvested on Monday were runner beans (Lady Di), raspberries and apples. The beans were sliced and cooked for dinner. The raspberries were put in a jelly. The apples were peeled, sliced and lightly sauteed.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

September 2018

Links to Mr. Middleton's tasks 1st (please note that I have not updated all these tasks at present) :

September 1st week.
September 2nd week.
September 3rd week.
September 4th week.
September 5th week.

1st September - the morning was spent peeling and prepping around 50 windfall apples.
 The afternoon was spent at the allotment. The saffron bed was cleared of straying strawberry plants and saffron bulbs, although only one square yard a bucket full of bindweed root was carefully removed from that area. I'd purchased a pound weight of Senshyu onion sets yesterday for 86p and planted those in the cleared and surrounding area. Whilst strawberry runners replaced the existing plants that bordered the bed.
 Harvested some raspberries, cherry tomatoes & windfall apples.

Didn't keep up with updates for the 30 days in between.

 I'm commencing the weeks in 2018 on Saturdays so September 29th began the start of the 5th week.
2nd October- Purchased this week were 3 Mr Middleton books from before the war: Mr. Middleton's Garden Book, Mr. Middleton talks about Gardening and Mr Middleton Suggests. Also bought a Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum) shrub to plant at the allotment.
3rd October - Visited the allotment this morning. Put the Goji Berry saplings in a plant pot for now. Used the hoe between the broad beans. Planted some shallots. Harvested some cherry tomatoes from the polytunnel, half a dozen apples, a handful of runner beans and 5 courgettes.
4th October - Not much gardening was done today more research, reading and dealing with my duties on the local allotment federation.
5th October - Visited the allotment, gathered some apples and topped up the mouse poison in the polytunnel. I tend to get visitors most winters now. Lifted the blackcurrants I'd harvested in the summer from the freezer and turned them into jam. Did some gardening at home, pruning the rose arch, repotting chrysanthemum cuttings that had rooted. A task I still have to do is grease band my apple trees.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

August 2018

Links to Mr. Middleton's weekly tasks first:

August 1st Week
August 2nd Week
August 3rd Week
August 4th Week

2018

  • 1st August, cleared away more bindweed root that had been growing in one of the strawberry borders. Harvested 1lb of rhubarb. Topped up one of the worm tubes with vegetable peelings from the kitchen at home. Took some Yew cuttings.
  • 2nd August, sowed 32 Broad Bean (Luz de Otono).  Harvested blackcurrant & peas.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

May 2018

Rocket and mustard that had self seeded ready for harvesting.
Links to Mr. Middleton's weekly tasks first:
May 1st Week
May 2nd Week
May 3rd Week
May 4th Week

2018 has seen us suffer from late frosts and then very warm temperatures to record levels and now midway through the month down to plus 3° Celsius. I've spent far too much of my leisure time this year helping others, the allotment association that I chair has expanded its responsibilities as we create a community plot whilst trying to provide some facilities. So myself, I am behind in the garden AND allotment but as time waits for no one, one must jump in when one can and try to keep ahead of tasks.
16th started to soak some Sweet Corn seeds (Earliking F1) in room temperature water and filled 13 loo roll tubes with compost ready for sowing this afternoon. Visited the allotment and done a bit of weeding was given some sweetpeas plants from a fellow plot holder and duly put them in a small space of ground at the rear of the polytunnel. Carried out some work on the communal area and community plot. More Swiss Chard was harvested.
18th spent several hours weeding the grandmother-in-law's garden and mowing the lawns. The sudden arrival of the sun this month has accelerated the growth of weeds.
19th A bit more time was devoted to the Community Plot today. My neighboring plotholders gave me some seedlings (beetroot, courgette, habanero chilies, cherry tomatoes and peas), most of which were planted on the plot that afternoon. A considerable amount of weeding was undertaken today. The fruit cage is looking like it needs quite a bit of restoration and pronto before the plants take over.
20th, harvested most of the comfrey putting some into compost bins and filled a watering can with some to rot down in order to make a liquid feed. Seedlings watered and some garlic, that had been overlooked, growing in plant pots were put into the allium bed.


Thursday, 8 February 2018

May 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 6 tasks this week :

1) Plant Out Celery and Celeriac. -
2) Thin Out Seedlings. -
3) Onions and Their Enemies. -
4) Plant Cucumbers. -
5) Sow Swedes and Turnips. -
6) Sow and Plant. -

April 4th Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Sow Calabrese, Pickling Onions and Garlic. - Brocolli can now be sown outside. Pickling onions can be sown. Shallots can have a dressing of fertilizer whilst hoeing between the rows. Onions planted out in March can now have a fertilizer dressing. Garlic can be planted.

2) Look to Your Frames. - Ridge cucumbers can now be sown. Ordinary cucumbers can be sown in frames. Celery is ideal for growing in cold frames.

3) Plant First Leeks. - It states there are two ways of growing leeks, planting in holes or in trenches 6 inches deep.

4) Cutting Asparagus. - 

5) Sow Maincrop Beet. -

6) Earth-up Potatoes; Prepare Marrow Beds. -

7) Bark Ring Fruit Trees. -

8) Hunt Gooseberry Pests. -

9) Sow, Plant and Hoe. - Keep up with successional sowings. Celeriac seedlings need pricking out. Shallots should be dressed with fertilizer. Prepare the sites where your outdoor tomatoes are to grow. Thin salsify to 6 inches. Plant out parsley. Hoe around the base of fruit trees and bushes to keep weeds at bay.

May 1st Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Look to Spring and Winter Greens. - 
2) Sow Runner Beans Outside.-
3) Sow Late Greens; Look Out for Club Root.- 



4) Sow Beet and Sweet Corn.- Sow spinach and seakale beet in rows 18 inches apart at intervals of 9 inches. Sweet corn seeds can be sown outside but will need a cloche protection for a short time.
5) Beware Woolly Aphis.- Woolly aphis is a serious pest of apples and effort should be made to keep its development in check. The colonies of aphis surrounds itself with a mass of wool-like threads. When wool tufts appear they should be brushed off with a stiff brush dipped in methylated spirit.
6) Keep Strawberries Clean.-
7) Sow and Plant.- Plant out and sow lettuce. Sow more peas and plant out tall peas raised inside. Finish planting potatoes. Thin parsnips and other seedlings. Prick out celery and celeriac. Sow scorzonera outside, and radish for succession. Keep down weeds with the hoe.

April 3rd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 5 tasks this week :

1) Pot Sweet Corn. -

2) Prepare Tomatoes for Outdoors. -

3) Make Up Celery Trenches. -

4) Spray Apples and Pears. -

5) Planting Work. -

April 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Finish Onion Planting. - Maincrop onions should be sown without delay. Salad onions should also be sown.

2) Sow Spinach and Peas. -

3) Sow Radish and Lettuce Outdoors. -

4) Fertilize Potatoes and Plant More. - Apply a dressing between rows and mix with the soil as you draw it up. Plant more potatoes.

5) Sow Salsify, Chicory, Runner Beans . - Runner beans and dwarf beans can be sown in seed trays and grown on in the cold frame. Chicory can be sown now for forcing in winter. Salsify can be sown in rows a foot apart.

6) Plant Out Cabbage and Sprouts. - It says the sooner the sprouts are out the better they will grow,

7) Sow Carrots and Turnips. - Sow six-week turnips. Sow carrots but on heavy ground, it recommends using a crowbar to bore holes 18in to 2ft deep and backfilling the holes with a light soil.

8) Spray Fruit Bushes and Trees. - In times when everything was sprayed if it moved, cherries were sprayed with washing soda for aphis. Lime sulphur or ammonium polysulphide were sprayed on blackcurrants and gooseberries.

9) Look to Frames. - Harden off brassicas in frames. 

April 1st Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Support Peas. - It recommends putting twigs 2½ ft. and higher in the ground to support the peas as they grow. The twigs should be 6inches taller than the advertised height of the variety that your sowing.

2) Counter Enemies of Peas. - The cold and the wet can decay early sowings. Mice too are a nuisance eating the sown peas whilst birds scratch them out of the ground. Twigs and netting aid against the birds. 

3) Don't be Too Early with Tomatoes. - It says the biggest failures in unheated greenhouses is overwatering in hard weather.

4) Start New Compost Heap. - The compost heap that has been added to all winter should now be left to rot down and should be ready in the autumn, Start a new heap to take this summer's waste.

5) Plant Out Onions. - Onions sown and growing indoors should be planted outside now if the conditions allow. Care should be made not to sow the onions too deeply and to add cloche protection in gardens that are exposed to the elements.

6) Sow Long-Rooted Carrots. - Sow them now so that they have a long enough season to get the best from them. Trenches dug for peas can be filled in now adding manure and bonemeal as the soil is returned.

7) Plant Seakale Thongs . - Thongs that had been put in soil beneath a greenhouse bench some weeks ago will now be producing buds and should now be planted out.

March 5th Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 8 tasks this week :

1) Maintain Succession of Potatoes. - Continue planting if the weather allows.

2) Sow Lettuce and Sweet Corn. - Sow indoors in seed trays.

3) Case Mushrooms Beds. - Examine the spawn to see if the threads are radiating then cover with a poor weed free soil.

4) Deal with Clubroot Disease. - Back in the 1940's they were permitting mercuric bicholride to be added to the watering can to water seedlings and used this solution when planting out seedlings.

5) Train Cucumbers. - Using wires in the greenhouse to train cucumbers up. Canes can be fastened to these wires.

6) Sow Root Crops Outside. - Carrots, beetroot and turnips can be sown outside now.

7) Look to Fruit and Pests. - Ventilate and spray with water fruit growing in greenhouses. Suggests using a nicotine wash to prevent insect attacks on greenhouse fruit.

8) Spray Apples and Pears. - It's shocking when you read what used to be permitted, lead arsenate spray to control caterpillars. Lime sulphur to control scab and for apples that are "sulphur shy" spray with Bordeaux mixture.

March 4th Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Last Chances for Good Digging. - If not already done so due to weather conditions etc. then now is the last chance to dig so that the soil has time to break down easier into a good tilth.

2) More Early Potatoes Now. - No opportunity should be wasted in getting early potatoes in the ground. 

3) Plant Shallots and Garlic. - Don't delay any longer plant garlic and shallots now. Horseradish can be planted now too, pieces about 3" long. Put horseradish in an out of the way corner.

4) Make Asparagus Bed. - It suggests making a bed 5Ft wide for 3 rows of asparagus 

5) Sow Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Celery. - Celery and celeriac can be sown inside now. Parsley, Sage & Thyme can be sown outside in patches, drifts or as path edging.

6) Stake Cucumbers. - it assumes that you're growing cucumbers in a heated greenhouse.

7) Attack Apple Pests. - Freshen up greasebands. Suggests spraying with a nicotine spray. 

March 3rd Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Work on Sandy Soil. - For those with sandy soils now is the time to add manure, dig and lime.

2) Plant Early Potatoes. - Unless you want to harvest a large number of small potatoes the book recommends reducing the number of sprouts to two on each seed potato. 

3) Plant Out Cauliflowers, Onions, Cabbage. - Autumn sown onions can be planted out. Cauliflowers can be planted out too. You can sow some early cabbage to provide a supply after the spring cabbages are finished. Sprouting broccoli and kales will be your main supply of greens at the moment.
4) Attend to Asparagus Beds. - Lightly fork in the manure that you spread on top in early winter.

5) Outdoor Tomatoes. - Sow seeds for outdoor grown tomatoes now. 

6) Spawn Mushroom Beds. - Earlier made mushroom beds may be cooling, once they reach 75°F walnut sized pieces of spawn should be pushed into the manure. 

7) Look Out for Fruit Diseases. - Warning to be on the look out for "big bud mite" on blackcurrants and spray with a lime sulphur solution, maybe I've been lucky these past few decades but I've NEVER sprayed my soft fruit with anything. Grease bands should not be removed as "there is danger from the March moth"

March 2nd Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Fork Dry Soil. - Only fork dry soil as much harm can be done by working on heavy wet soil. If the land is wet then you might have to wait until April to complete this task.

2) Get Ahead with Parsnips. - Due to the long growing season required for parsnip to develop, it's recommended you sow outside without delay. Due to parsnips being slow to germinate it recommends sowing lettuce and radish in the drills which can be harvested whilst the parsnips grow.

3) Sow Onions Outdoors. - As with parsnip it's recommended you sow onions without delay. Spring onions can also be sown.

4) Sow Spinach Outside. - In this task, Mr Middleton also suggests sowing leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, peas and broad beans.

5) In and Out of the Greenhouse. - make another sowing of tomatoes. Celeriac seeds can be sown in seed trays. Brassicas seeds should be pricked out and transferred to a cold frame. Lettuce seedlings can be planted out or under cloches. Cauliflowers overwintered in frames can be planted out. Sage and thyme can be sown in seed trays.
 
6) Harden Off Onions and Leeks. - pricked out seedling should be moved into cold frames and gradually hardened off. Leeks need plenty of air.

7) Plant Out Early Potatoes. - Plant first earlies 6 inches deep.

8) Feed and Support Fruit Trees. - It's recommended to feed around the tree with a general fertilizer to make up for any mineral deficiencies. A dressing can be made by mixing 3 parts Sulphate of ammonia with 2 parts Sulphate of potash applied 6oz per square yard.

9) Complete Planting of Fruit Trees. - The last chance to plant fruit trees before growth begins.

March 1st Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 8 tasks this week :

1) Clear Land. - Gradually clear land as crops are used and it's suggested that you can speed things up by lifting leeks and celery and heeling them in together in a sheltered corner or frame. Brussels sprouts should be cleared as used not forgetting to use the tops as a spring green.

2) Beware of Cabbage Aphis. - Sprays made from many plants have been investigated as possible cabbage aphid controls, and it appears that peppermint has repellent properties. Spritzing plants with a strong mint tea made sticky with a few drops of dishwashing soap that has few environmental repercussions.

3) Prepare Trenches for Peas and Beans. - It is suggested to dig trenches 18 inches and filling with manure before covering over with the removed soil. Personally, I dig an 18-inch deep trench, line the bottom with ripped up pieces of brown cardboard. The cardboard is then covered by a layer of manure before applying a layer of fresh vegetable peelings that would otherwise be going to the compost heap. Finally, the initial soil that was removed is used to fill in the trench.

4) Get Outside Seed Bed Ready. - Apply superphosphate of lime to a small corner, 3 ounces per square yard. Finely rake this area when the soil is dry, removing stones. Primarily this area is to be used for brassicas and onions.

5) Prick Out Leeks, Onions, Celery. - Leeks and onions sown indoors will need pricking out in to seed cells. Once established move into a cold frame for hardening off. Celery to be pricked out once they reach the third leaf.

6) Pot Tomatoes. - It's suggested to pot tomatoes on in to 5 inch pots.

7) How to Use Cold Greenhouse. - It's suggested a succession of food can be obtained from a cold greenhouse by planting winter lettuce. When the lettuce is growing well, interplant with an early cauliflower. Lettuce being cut in March/early April, cauliflowers in May as the tomato plants are put in. I've not tried this as haven't had success with winter lettuce instead using my cold greenhouse to overwinter herbs, flowers and for seed sowing.

8) Spray Strawberries, Support Raspberries, Prune Gooseberries. - Strawberry spraying refers to The Tarsonemid Mite (Phytonemus pallidus fragariae). I have searched but there are no other organic insecticides that work at present.  (Apparently, the mite can be kept in check by burning the straw over the plants immediately after harvest. The straw should be picked up with a fork and spread over the plants and allowed to dry. On a day when there is a fair wind blowing down the rows, the straw should be set alight on the windward side, so that there is a quick fire that burns the leaves without damaging the crowns. After burning the rows it would help to promote new foliage by giving the plants a good soaking of water. If it is not possible to fire the bed, the only remedy would be to dig up the plants and destroy them. New 'Ministry certified stock' should be planted in a fresh bed as far away from the old crop as possible. I, however, have not tried this and due to a no fires policy on my allotment site I'm unlikely to ever try this. )

February 4th Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Maintain Succession of Lettuces. - Put seedlings from earlier sowings in cold frames 8 inches apart, they can also be planted outside in open ground protected by cloches.

2) Break Down and Lime Soil. - Once clear of frost and the soil's dry commence breaking it down with a fork. It's a good time to apply lime at the same time.

3) Maintain Succession of Seakale and Rhubarb. - maintain successions from outdoor beds. Force some heads by covering with barrels or boxes.

4) Plant Onion Sets. - push them into the soil 12 inches apart by 6 inches.

5) Sow Parsnips, Broad Beans, Carrots, etc. - Plant autumn-sown onions now. Sow broad beans and parsnips. In warm spots or under cloches sow shorthorn carrots, beetroot and radishes. 

6) Sow Early Peas, Sprouts and Summer Carrots. - Sow early, round seeded dwarf peas as they are hardier and less likely to decay than wrinkled-seeded peas. Sow Brussels sprouts and summer cabbage in cold frames in shallow drills 6 or 9 inches apart.

7) Pot Cucumbers and Tomatoes. -  Recommends creating and preparing troughs 12-15inches wide 10 inches deep on the greenhouse benches to grow tomatoes in. Earlier sown cucumbers can be potted into 5-inch pots. Tomato seedlings should be potted into 3½ inch pots or 5inch pots if planting out is to be delayed.

February 3rd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Sow and Transplant Onions. - January sown onions should be pricked out. Sowing of maincrop onions should be done with urgency. 

2) Making New Rhubarb Bed. - You can replant forced roots but they take several years to recover. New crowns can be bought and planted or existing roots can be lifted, split and planted 3 - 4ft apart in deeply dug soil incorporating "as much manure as can be spared." 

3) Fill Up and Hoe Cabbage Rows. - First, give a dressing of "stimulating fertilizer". Hoe between spring cabbage. Fill any blank spaces from a frame or use up one of the rows. As soon as possible prepare the onion bed. Dress with bone meal four ounces per square yard. Lime can be applied now along with a little old soot (fresh soot being dangerous) whilst wood ash is precious. All forked in well whilst producing a good tilth. A general fertilizer can be applied just before sowing or planting. 

4) Examine Broccoli. - Calabrese which will mature from March till May should have dead leaves removed. Shallots should be planted as soon as the ground is workable.

5) First Sowing of Celery. - Sow in seed trays in a greenhouse keeping the temperature between 55° to 60° F. Leeks can be sown in frames. Parsley germinates slowly outside and "it pays to have some plants to put out as soon as conditions are fit". 

6) Maintain Succession of Seakale. - The last to be forced inside should be lifted and brought in now. A succession to be maintained from forcings outdoors. The crown/central root to be used for forcing whilst the side/branching roots are to be used for propagating. For propagation purposes, thick sections of these should be cut 6 inches long for "thongs". These "thongs" should be tied in bundles and placed upright in boxes of soil beneath a greenhouse bench, these will produce buds that can be later planted out.  

7) Paint Pruning Wounds. - It was recommended to use white lead paint on large pruning cuts. The compacted ground should be broken up with a fork. In reality, pruning paint may impede healing and encourage the growth of rot organisms and insect infestation. Rather than seal out infection, wound dressings often seal in moisture and decay. In most cases, it is best to simply let wounds seal on their own.

8) Examine Blackcurrants. - Autumn planted ones can be cut back more than halfway. Swollen buds to be removed as they contain the big bud mite which reduces the productivity of a bush. Wall fruit are to be tied/nailed to wires with caution not to use pieces of canvas or rags as these are breeding places for earwigs and other pests.

9) Prepare Early Strawberries. - If there's space in your cold frames you can produce early strawberries by growing some in pots, increasing the pot sizes to 3½ inch pots then 6inch pots. If the soil is deep enough they can be planted in the soil. Plants in pots can be brought inside warm greenhouses in succession for earlier fruiting. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

February 2nd Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 10 tasks this week :

1) Sow Peas, Radish, Spinach, Parsnips, Broad Beans. - Peas, radish and round seeded spinach can be sown now in warm positions. Sow parsnips as soon as the soil can be worked without making your boots muddy. Broad beans can be sown in seed trays for planting out when the weather improves.

2) Make and Begin to Use Hot-Bed. - fresh stable manure and leaves 2 ft. deep covered with a 6 in. layer of good soil inside a covered frame. Sow turnips, radish, carrots and carrots in this frame.

3) Forcing Rhubarb and Seakale Outside. - Both rhubarb & seakale can be forced outdoors but will be much slower than the inside forcings. Pots or barrels placed over the crowns and covered in manure should suffice.

4) Prepare Onions for Transplanting. - onions sown in the autumn may be transplanted in to place now.

5) Sow Summer Cabbage and Cauliflowers. - Sow in a frame but not too many. Make another small sowing of cauliflowers.

6) Pot Young Tomatoes. - The seedlings from the January sowing, if well established and about 3 inches high, should be potted on into 3½inch pots and kept at 60°F ( 15.5°C ). Another sowing may be made. Ailsa Craig is recommended.

7) Protect Wall Fruit Blossom. - Peaches will be coming into flower and must be protected from frost, doubled up fish netting is prescribed for this operation. Spraying with Burgundy or Bordeaux mixture to protect against peach-leaf-curl is recommended.

8) Complete Fruit Planting. - If soil conditions allow complete planting of fruit trees.

9) Cut Back New Raspberries. - Raspberry canes planted back in autumn can now be cut back to a foot in height. If planted post-Christmas then allow a few more weeks before starting to cut back.

10) Protect Fruit Buds. - Apparently, bullfinches attack the buds on bush and wall fruits. Protection is described as intertwining black cotton amongst the branches. 

February 1st Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) How to Use Bad Weather. - apparently a wet month but digging is recommended after lifting parsnips, storing them in sand and lifting leeks and replanting those in a sheltered spot.

2) Plant Shallots. - Weather permitting. Prepare the bed with wood ash, bone meal or superphosphate of lime, raking it in. Plant shallots half in the soil 9 in. apart with 12 in. between the rows. 

3) Plant Artichokes. - Plant good tubers 5 to 6 in. deep in rows 12 in. apart. Remember that these plants grow 6 ft tall and so make sure they are not going to block the light from neighbouring crops. 

4) Fill up Spring Cabbage Rows. - It's a good idea to keep some plants protected in frames at this time of year to replenish those outside lost to bad weather.  In emergency seeds can be sown inside in 50°F to fulfill this purpose. When the worst weather has past feed the plants with a dressing of nitrate of soda hoed between the rows.

5) Sow Maincrop Onions. - sow indoors for planting out in May. Leeks should be sown now for planting out in June.

6) Sow Sprouts and Cucumbers. - sprouts sown now in seed trays can be pricked out later. Cucumbers for fruiting early summer are sown now, singly in small pots sideways, not flat. the temperature needs to be kept 55° to 60° F.  Prick out tomato seedlings when they're 2-in. high and the true leaves are developed.

7) Examine Seed Potatoes. - some may now be sprouting, for maincrop leave no more than two sprouts per seed potato to encourage larger tubers. For first earlies more sprouts can be left to encourage more baby new potatoes in the springtime.

8) Prune New Fruit Trees. - Fruit trees planted in early winter should now be able to withstand a light pruning. Soft fruit can be planted now if the soil isn't too pasty with all the recent rainfall. The strawberry bed can be prepared for planting although it says August is the best month to plant strawberries in.

9) Feed Wall Fruit. - remove an inch or two of soil around each plant and top-dress adding bone meal and a general fertilizer to the compost.

January 4th Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 11 tasks this week :

1) Start New Compost Heap. - now that the old compost heap has been dug into the ground it's time to start a new heap adding "house refuse of a decaying nature" of no use as food for man nor beast.

2) Sow Cauliflowers. - a seed tray can be sown to provide plants for growing on in frames/cold greenhouse or the open.  They're suitable for planting after lettuce in frames and greenhouses. Apparently, they will mature in time for planting tomato plants.

3) Sow Mustard and Cress. - for a small family a  seed tray should be enough to provide salads for a week to a fortnight. Fortnightly sowings can be made throughout winter. It's suggested to sow the cress 3 or 4 days before mustard due to the longer germination time. Instructions are given; press seeds into the soil with a flat piece of wood, water and cover with paper until germinated. 

4) Prick Out Seedlings. - further sowings of lettuce can be made now if necessary. Prick out seedlings from earlier sowing of lettuce and onions when ready.

5) Examine Cabbage, Kale and Broccoli. - a steady supply of greens should now be available. It's recommended that the outer leaves of broccoli are bent over to protect the centers from the elements.

6) Protect Plants in Frames Against Frost. - remove dead and diseased leaves. Cloches should have the ends blocked to prevent draughts. Cold frames need plenty of ventilation when possible and covered with cloths/mats when frosts are threatened. 

7) Protect Broad Beans and Spring Cabbage. - draw the soil up around November sown beans to protect them. If the weather permits another sowing can be made. Spring cabbages need to be protected by drawing soil up to the stems to encourage new root growth from the stems to provide more support.

8) Lift and Store Artichokes. - Jerusalem Artichokes can be left in the ground until necessary. He recommends lifting them all to clear the land and replanting egg-sized tubers annually to keep them manageable.

9) Fruit to Store. - regularly sort through apples and pears in store, those showing signs of decay need destroying and those beginning to wrinkle and shrink should be used immediately. 

10) Fruit Tree Pruning. - It's recommended that before spraying espalier trained fruit-trees that it's better to thin out the fruit spurs. Every alternate spur can be cut away in extreme cases.

11) Start Hot-House Fruit. - This focuses on vines and peaches, closing vents to maintain a temperature of 45° - 50°F.


last updated 14/01/2021

January 3rd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Dig and Clean up. - after all that digging a good clean is recommended especially paths. I'd say for safety purposes but the book claims it helps reduce the number of insect pests.

2) Prepare More Forced Rhubarb. - if you've plenty of 'crowns' then you can keep up a succession of forced rhubarb sticks.

3) Force Seakale.** I've yet to try growing seakale. I've not even tasted it yet. It's one of the many vegetables that have eluded my tastebuds. **

4) Sow Onions and Lettuce. - sow if necessary. It's suggested lettuce are ideal for growing in frames/cloches.

5) First Sowing of Tomatoes. - ** I've tried sowing tomatoes this early but the results are unsuitable due to the lack of daylight. **

6) Force Herbs. - it's suggested that chives, mint and tarragon suit being placed in a temperature of 55 °F (just under 13 °c)

7) Examine Seed Potatoes. - as soon as you obtain them begin chitting them at this time of year.

8) Spraying and Pruning Fruit Trees. - whilst fruit trees are still in their dormant stage continue pruning. Back in the 1940s, they recommended pesticide spraying with a petroleum-based spray, Winter Volck was suggested. ** A homemade alternative can be made using 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water. Apply during the fruit tree’s dormant stage, which is typically between November and early spring before bud break. Fill a pump sprayer with the homemade dormant spray and thoroughly coat the fruit tree stems with the oil. Never apply dormant oil when the temperature is below freezing or when fruit trees are stressed. Stressed trees are more likely to become damaged when treated with dormant oil. Furthermore, only apply the oil spray when the fruit tree is dry. Moisture or high levels of humidity lower the effectiveness of dormant oil sprays.**

9) After a Gale. - check all young/newly planted fruit trees for loosened soil around their base and firm in/stake as necessary.

last updated 14/01/2021

January 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Manure and Lime: More Digging. - Continue digging when possible and if the ground is suitable. Beds manured in the autumn may be limed now. Never apply manure and lime at the same time. Lime should be applied at a half-pound per square yard, lightly forked into the surface taking care not to leave it on top or bury it too deep. 

2) Onions and Cauliflower. - Do another sowing on onions indoors for planting out in May. Sow a few cauliflowers in a seed tray in heat to provide plants for putting out in April. Keep them in cooler conditions once they have germinated. If you managed to make September sowings you should now have some good hardy plants in the cold frame which will need examining to keep slug free and ventilate when the weather permits.
Autumn sown onions outside in their beds might need protection against the extreme weather conditions. Cover with a cloche or fleece. 

3) Water Lettuces. - Water lettuce that is growing in the greenhouse beds in which the tomatoes were previously growing. Prevent water from getting on the leaves. Remove any brown leaves and wilting lettuce. Make another sowing inside to follow these plants, choose a variety such as Arctic King.

4) Sow Peas in Pots. - Peas can be sown one or two per small pot and kept in a cold frame to be planted out in March.

5) Examine Potatoes etc. in Store. - Those in dark storage such as potatoes, remove tubers that are rotten or going bad. Check other root crops such as beetroot, carrot & turnips and remove any bad specimens.  Onions & shallots kept in cool airy storage, check over shallots being kept for replanting remove any mouldy or soft ones. Onions, use any showing signs of decay up immediately. If you intend to save your own onion seed, to sow next year, then choose a couple of good ones that you have in storage and put each into a 7" pot now.

6) Prune Fruit Trees. - Complete winter fruit tree pruning so that winter spraying can commence without wastage.

7) Winter Spraying. - Winter washing fruit trees involves spraying them with a mixture of organic plant oils diluted with water. Spraying can help control pests and diseases by knocking out overwintering eggs, removing debris and reducing fungal spores. It’s especially useful for controlling aphids and woolly aphids on fruit trees like apples, cherries and plums. However, you may also remove overwintering aphid predators such as queen wasps, as well as other hibernating wildlife.

last updated 14/01/2021

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