Nature and Beauty

Growing Cucumbers

This weekend is the time to unleash my cucmbers out of their small pots. Cucmbers need a lot of two things; food and water. It can get quite expensive to have huge pots of compost for each plant so I decided to put some manure in the bottom of medium sized pots to give the needy roots continuous nutrients.

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As you can see I have broken the semi rotted black gold up and filled the pots up half way.

I used last year’s climbing terrace made out of two old bits of wood and chicken wire.

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So all I have to do now is regularly water and train the plants through picking out side shoots and giving them a bit of direction :). Let’s hope the manure works!

Protecting From the Elements

Yesterday down the plot was all about protection. Although the sun has been out,  the wind is still strong and showers heavy. To give juvenile plants a start to get strong, I made a few shelters!

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Squash Protection
Two years ago I lost my first sowing of squash and pumpkin seedlings to torrential rain and wind. The second sowing of the year survived because of a triangular A-frame I made out of scrap wood. I decided to use the A-frame again this year to shelter the squash somewhat from the elements.

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Tomato Protection
I have an abundance of cucumber, pepper, aubergine, chilli and tomato plants so decided to use the rest of the potato bed and plant tomatoes to make space in the greenhouse. I feel very proud of the makeshift protective greenhouse.

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Brassica Protection
My cabbages have been destroyed by slugs. I am devastated due to the amount of time and effort I have put into making sure they are protected from club root. A fellow allotmenteer gave me some sprouts a week ago (a purple variety!?) so I planted them out next to the eaten cabbages. I’ve now put netting over the whole patch to protect from wind and butterflies.

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Planting out Brassica: Some Hints and Tips

I have failed before with brassicas from not listening to fellow allotmenteers and just planting willy nilly. Brassicas are susceptible to so many pests and diseases so taking care in the planting stage always pays off.

I was given my brassica seedlings off various fellow allotment friends so I have a mixture of cabbage and broccoli I believe! Suprise crop 🙂

Lime the soil a week or so before planting. Brassicas thrive with an alcaline pH and will prevent diseases such as club root. I’m sure there are more organic ways of doing this, but I got given some lime and let the rain sink it in.

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Firm ground is important with brassicas.  I believe a firm soil helps the roots stay in place and keeps the brassica strong.

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(The dibber was useless- trowel needed)

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A small piece of Rhubarb stem or two apparently prevents club root so I put a bit in each small hole with some Compost (to give the roots a head start).

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Planting up to the first strong leaf will ensure your brassica are supported and strong. Otherwise I guarantee you will end up with spindly brassica growing to the side due to the wind etc.

One must firm the ground again after planting for the reasons outline above and heel the surrounding soil once to create a channel for water to sit and soak in. This is also important due to the soil structure you have created through stomping. Water will sit on top and be slowly absorbed. The ‘heeling’ will guarantee a water channel for water to be absorbed neer the stem and roots.

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So, there you have it. All you need is some builder’s netting to prevent butterflies laying (cabbage whites)!