Thursday, 8 February 2018

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. )

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