Thursday, 8 February 2018

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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