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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