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Louise's Gardening Notes for..................
A warm day yesterday, writing in Mid-March, what a pleasure to walk around the garden finding a fat bumble bee snuffling around a crocus. Washing drying on the line, simple pleasures but so important to me in the general rush of life. My mushroom compost not yet ordered, still a future project.
Barry Newman’s talk was great. He does have books (surely available through Amazon?) with lots of his sound advice. It is tricky taking notes in the dark so these are my remembered tips from the evening.
He recommends, when sowing seeds such as parsnips and carrots, that if you are after fat non-forking roots to press a dibber or broom handle vertically into the ground at approx 4” spacing and 6” deep, then add pre sieved compost into the created holes. Sow 2-3 seeds per station. He then covers the row with a plastic half drain pipe, this allows a sheltered , protected environment for germination. Remember to check for growth after maybe 7-10 days and at this stage remove the cover. If more plants than one per station have germinated be ruthless and snip off all but the strongest at ground level. He recommends snipping rather than pulling as any soil disturbance around the remaining one can affect future growth.
He is a big fan of growing potatoes in black plastic sacks. We do have some available to buy. He reuses his compost each year. The bags are approx 30 cm deep, once full of compost he places ONE sprouting potatoe per bag right down at the bottom, only allowing 3 sprouts and rubbing the rest away. The row of bags is then placed in a pre dug trench, the holes in the bags allow the roots to grow down in search of water but the harvest is all contained in the bag. I misunderstood this last year and placed mine on a weed proof membrane which explains my varied results. At harvest time no small tubers will be left behind in the ground. Slugs and blight are less of a problem especially as he supports the growing leaves with string so they do not flop on the ground.
Courgettes can grow on trees. Really…. Watch our website for photographic proof. Courgettes /squashes can take over a plot and it is very hard to find where the plant started from for watering. Barry trains his up a stout post which he places before the courgette is planted. As the plant sprawls it is GENTLY tied to the stake - old tights or flexi tie will be good. His courgettes were still producing at the end of October having grown to 9 feet. It is easy to pick off any decaying lower leaves, flowers and fruits are less likely to rot as no contact with the ground. Easy to remove slug hiding places and easy to water too. I am definitely going to try it.
I think we will run a practical veg workshop next spring showing these ideas.
Enjoy your garden and beware the breeding slug