This blog shows my activities and other people's initiatives. There are also articles that have been contributed.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

June Update,
I have coninued sowing seed where ground has freed up. I have just planted sweetcorn seedlings. Celery went in a few weeks ago. The plot is filling up. I have just harvested a few of the smaller red onions as I felt they weren't likely to put on more growth.. The salad leaf at home is far more advanced and I have been harvesting for salads. I purchased some onion seedlings at a local garden centre and have 'dibbed' them in for an ongoing onion crop.
late June Update.
More Marrows and Courgettes have been planted and brassicae, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts. I have also sown more dwarf beans and salad.
I have just harvested some Elephant Garlic (which were huge!) and I sowed some onion sets.
July Update.
I have harvested some early potatoes and the rest of the garlic. A very disappointing harvest. I immediately sowed onion sets (it's rather late but even if I get spring onion size I will be satisfied), dwarf beans and radish to follow the cleared potatoes.. I can only put the poor harvest down to lack of rainwater, soil not yet up to standard (the plot had previously been neglected witha lot of rubbish in the ground. I have also been harvesting chard and broadbeans.
Recently I was asked to provide advice for someone taking his first steps in growing vegetables. I will be recording our exchanges during the season.
S J from Manchester asks; " How should I care for tomatoes?
Subject: Re: Not Rotten Tomatoes

Dear S
You didn't say whether you had planted straight into the garden border into a gro-bag or other container? What type did you plant? It's worth knowing what type of tomato you are going to get. Some varieties are not so suitable for outdoor growing or they are a bush variety and don't need to be supported. So it's woreht knowing the characteristics. If they are the cordon variety they need supporting with a cane or from above with a string. I use canes and tie them as they grow. Not too tightly otherwise you cut into the flesh.
if we are talking about the corden variety as the you need to take off the sucker shoots which grow on the axils. I have attached something to read.
As the plant grows and forms fruit I begin to remove some of the lower side shoots which have no flowers. This is done to focus the plants energy into producing fruit. When you do these actions do it with finesse so as not to tear the skin (cambium)of the plant. When the plant is laden with fruit I start to remove some of the leaves. This exposes the fruit to more sunlight.
Water daily if it doesn't rain. Rain water is better tap water. But you can use either.
Feeding:During the height of the seaon mix feed into a watering can. feed twice a week. You can use the proprietry tomato feed. Read instructions. I prefer to use organic means so I am trying comfrey which I am growing and seaweed extract . Don't feed until flowers appear.

Planting into a gro-bag. Don't forget to make slits along the side of the bag otherwise the water can't drain out and the plants will drown.

you can of course plant direct into the gro-bag. Three to a bag.I prefer to get plant pots cut out the bottom leaving a couple of drainage holes. Turn it upside down. Top up with soil. Plant the tomato plant in the soil fairly deeply so that it can build up it's root system. Firm with your knucles. i do this to raise the soil level providing more space for the roots. that is not to say that people don't get good crops the normal way. The reason I suggested leaving a couple of drainage holes is so that you can push your cane through them and into the soil and down through the soil of the gro-bag.
Whatever method you use I wish you good growing.
SJ from Manchester asked;
My cucumber plant is rather droopy what am I doing wrong?
C) Most importantly. Are you forgetting to water? You need to water daily!
D) Whereas some varieties of Cucumber can be grown outdoors many are indoor varieties.
I asked him a number of questions to clarify.
A) Did you plant it deep enough?
B} What was it planted into? Is the soil OK? perhaps you used old, stale soil.

Monday, 15 March 2010

New additions to the blog

In the coming months there will be a number of new additions to the blog by a variety of contributors. The articles that will appear are not necessarily my views.
I do however reserve the right not to print articles if I consider them unethical.
A great thanks to all new contributors.
I hope this will be an enriching experience.