Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a fungal infection that affects the brassica family which causes swollen, distorted roots and can stun plant growth. Clubroot normally strikes from mid-summer to autumn when the soil is warm and moist, and once you are infected, can remain in the soil for up to 10 years. (more…)
Sweet potatoes are traditionally growing in warm climates, but hardier varieties are now becoming available in the UK and can be grown quite easily as long as they are grown in a warm sheltered spot.
January is a time to catch up on those winter jobs that you’ve not done yet. I normally spend winter completing projects and generally preparing the ground for the season ahead (thats if the ground isn’t frozen). Even if you aren’t planning any projects, here’s some things you can do in January. (more…)
Garlic is a must have vegetable and is simple to grow. There are two types of garlic; hardneck and softneck. Hardneck varieties produce a flower spike which can be eaten, while softneck varieties don’t and tend to store longer. Bulbs that are planted in the autumn have time to develop than spring planted bulbs and this allows them to produce an extensive root system and you are more likely to get a better harvest. (more…)
The growing season is coming to an end but you’ve still got time to sow or plant out some vegetables to grow overwinter. You can sow in modules in a cold frame or in a greenhouse and plant out in a couple of weeks. If you don’t have access to a cold frame or greenhouse, you can use a fleece to help protect the young seedlings. (more…)
With the winter months approaching, it is time to start thinking about next spring and possibly getting a head start on the growing season. One way to do this is by creating a hotbed. In its simplest form, a hotbed is a trench or raised bed filled with organic matter with soil on top. Not only does this keep the soil warm, but they are also great for improving the soil structure. To build a hotbed:
- Dig a trench roughly 6-10 inches deep and roughly a metre wide (for ease of access).
- Add a layer of woody material (bark chippings, twigs) roughly 6 inches deep.
- Add another layer of general garden waste such as grass clippings. You want this layer to be roughly 6-8 inches deep.
- Next add a layer of farmyard manure roughly 6 inches deep.
- Finally add a mixture of top soil and garden compost on top of the bed. This will be used to sow or plant your vegetables in.
- Your hotbed is ready to use. If you’ve used a raised bed, you can cover it with an old window to help keep the heat in.
Plums are one of the great unexplored parts of the fruit world. In the past there were many different varieties, all with different flavours and textures, but now all knowledge of such fruit seems to have been lost. At most, one or two varieties surface occasionally in shops, but few people seem to know of the treasury of delights that could be available. Fortunately, many of the old varieties are available from specialist nurseries, and anyone who takes the trouble to search them out is really in for a treat.
Green manures are often used on bare soil to help smother weeds and help lock in the nutrients. They are then dug into the ground in spring releasing the nutrients back into the soil and also help improve the soil structure.
Making nettle fertiliser is one of the most easiest and cheapest ways to make home made fertiliser. Its rich in nitrogen, iron, magnesium and sulfur, and will do wonders for your plants.
- To make nettle fertiliser, get a bucket and fill it with nettles. You can speed up the process by cutting the nettles into smaller chunks but this isn’t essential.
- Fill the bucket with water but leave enough so it doesn’t overflow.
- Every couple of days, give it a stir and after two-three weeks, it will be ready. Word of warning though, it will smell foul.
- Filter out the mixture into another bucket to clear out the debris.
- To use your nettle fertiliser, mix with water (1:10. 1 part nettle fertiliser, 10 part water), and water at the base of your plants.
Potato blight is a fungal disease that can devastate a potato crop. The first sign of infection are black spots that appear on the leaves and then turn yellow. If left untreated, the plant will die back completely and can also affect the tubers. (more…)