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. - Celery is normally in trenches 9-in. apart. Single rows are easier to earth up. Water with liquid manure and watch out for slugs. The plants should have a good ball of roots when lifted from the seed trays. Dusting with old soot keeps celery fly away. Celeriac requires much feeding and a rich soil to get good roots, plant 12 in. apart.

2) Thin Out Seedlings. - Thin rows of seedlings in two stages, leave the first thinning twice as thick as is necessary. This allows plenty of seedlings to cover failures. Caution when thinning carrots as disturbance attracts the carrot fly.

3) Onions and Their Enemies. - Amongst the suggestions to use Calomel dust, naphthalene and paraffin is something a lot more acceptable, parsley growing amongst onions are said to discourage onion fly. Early digging after the harvest exposes pests to the frost and the birds.

4) Plant Cucumbers. - Plant in cold frames that have been made into a hot-bed although the fruit may not be as straight as greenhouse-grown cucumbers.

5) Sow Swedes and Turnips. - Sow now in drills 18-in. apart for swedes, 12-in. apart for turnips.

6) Sow and Plant. - Sow beetroot and haricot beans. Plant out late cauliflower and New Zealand spinach. Apply mulches around any fruit trees that require it.

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. -  As late winter and spring greens come to an end the land should be prepared for re-cropping. Spring cabbages should now be in use, harvested stalks will produce further greens up until the end of June. If manure is hard to obtain it recommends sowing mustard as green manure, for digging in later, to enrich the soil afterwards.

2) Sow Runner Beans Outside.- Dwarf French beans and runner beans can now be sown outside. Those plants raised under glass should be hardened off before planting out.

3) Sow Late Greens; Look Out for Club Root.- Late greens like broccoli and savoys can be sown outside. It recommends using the corrosive sublimate on the ground on which crops have previously been infected with club root have grown. The article also mentions applying Naphthalene to the soil. Both treatments are now banned in the U.K.

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 surround themselves 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.- As the flowers appear straw should be carefully placed around to keep the fruit 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 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. - Asparagus should be ready now and must be cut carefully. Cut the stalks when they're 4 or 5 in. tall with a sharp knife inserting the knife below the soil.

5) Sow Maincrop Beet. - The long-rooted varieties need a long season. The globe varieties will mature quickly. Salsify should be thinned to 6-in. apart.

6) Earth-up Potatoes; Prepare Marrow Beds. - Potatoes should be kept earthed up as they grow.  Prepare sites for marrows, dig a hole 18 in. square and 12 in. deep, fill with manure covered with good soil. 

7) Bark Ring Fruit Trees.- The removal of a narrow strip of bark from around the trunk or branch of fruit trees was done to control vigour and encourage fruiting. The RHS does not advise this for home gardeners as it can, if not done properly, lead to the loss of the tree.

8) Hunt Gooseberry Pests. - Look out for damage to leaves caused by the caterpillar of the magpie moth. It recommended spraying with derris which has been banned in the U.K. since 2009 after links to Parkinson's disease. 

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.

April 3rd Week

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

1) Pot Sweet Corn. - Pot up sweetcorn into 5-in. pots. Raise the plants in the greenhouse for planting out later.

2) Prepare Tomatoes for Outdoors. - Prick out seedlings when ready and pot on in to 5-in. pots if space allows.They should be a foot high for the end of May/early June. 
Sow marrows now in the greenhouse only planting out when all risk of frost has passed in May. 

3) Make Up Celery Trenches. -  The trench should be 10-in. deep and 12-in. wide for a single row, 18-in. for double row. Manure the base and place soil over the top. Surplus soil should be rounded off at the sides and used for growing lettuce or beans until required for blanching the celery later. Most winter greens should be sown now such as broccoli & kales.

4) Spray Apples and Pears. - apparently now is the time to apply the second anti-scab spray of Bordeaux mixture, or a diluted lime-sulphur spray.

5) Planting Work. - Plant out broad beans. Plant out cauliflowers for succession. Make successional sowings of turnips and beetroot. Continue planting potatoes.

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. - Spinach can be sown outside now. Sow peas at fortnightly intervals to maintain supply through the summer. 

3) Sow Radish and Lettuce Outdoors. - Radish can be sown outside between rows of cabbage or cauliflower, or between beans and peas. This method is called intercropping as they mature quicker. Lettuce and spinach can be used for intercropping too. 

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. 

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