Archive for March, 2010

Broccoli, Cabbage and Onions Near Planting Time

I have been hardening off broccoli (Kabuki F1), cabbage (Greyhound), onions (Rijnsburger 5 and Kamal F1) and spring onions (Eiffel) in preparation for planting during the week. This simply involves bringing them out of the polytunnel in the morning and placing them outside on pallets for the duration of the day. I put them back into the polytunnel in the evening. I do this a week prior to planting. The weather forecast suggests a possibility of frost early in the week so I will delay planting until Wednesday.

These are some of the Greyhound cabbage plants, they were started on February 23rd. They will have been 5 weeks in the plugs by the time they are planted, their growth was probably checked by the late frosts as they were being grown in an unheated polytunnel. Under better conditions I will be aiming for 4 weeks between sowing and planting out. I’ll post again during the week when I plant them out.

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Super Early Potatoes

I planted two 30′ rows of early potatoes in my polytunnel on January 17th. The late frosts checked their growth but they are all well up now and looking healthy. The varieties I planted were Orla on the left and Colleen on the right. I am expecting them to be ready to harvest around the middle of May. These are just for my own and family consumption. I haven’t grown potatoes in a polytunnel or grown either of these varieties before but they appear to be doing well.

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Early Potatoes in the Ground

I had the 2.5 acre field power harrowed on Monday morning and got straight to work planting the early potatoes.  I opened up a drill using the wheel hoe with a ridger attachment which I also used to cover up the drills.

In the above photo you can see the wheel hoe with the ridger attachment. The other tool is a row marker.

The varieties I planted were Home Guard and Duke of York for 1st earlies and British Queen for 2nd earlies. They were planted 12″ apart in drills 30″ apart. I planted 1000m2 (.25 acre) in total.

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Planting Raspberries

I planted 29 summer fruiting raspberry canes during the week. There were 15 Malling Jewell and 14 Glen Clova. I constructed a double fence support system for them using some scrap timber. I used five 7′ posts, 2′ of which was sunk into the ground. The posts were set 10′ apart.

Two 2′ crosses were then screwed to the posts, one at the top and the second 2′ below that. The books recommend using galvanised wire to support the raspberries between the posts, as I didn’t have any I used some strong polypropylene twine instead, not sure if this will be sufficient.

More twine was then tied between the two lines of twine on either sides of the posts at 18″ intervals. As Malling Jewell has compact growth the books recommend that two canes are planted at each station. Summer fruiting raspberries fruit on 1 year old growth so it will be next year before I’ll have a crop.

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2.5 Acres

This is the 2.5 acre field where I will be growing most of my vegetables this year. The ground finally dried out sufficiently to allow the surface to be roughly rotovated this morning, this will allow it to dry out further before being ploughed on Monday. The weather forecast is  good until Friday when it is supposed to rain again, hopefully the area will be completely cultivated by then and will be ready for planting.

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Planting Strawberries

I planted about 140 strawberries today, all ‘Elsanta’, the most popular variety available at the moment. They were planted through landscape fabric, this mean no weeding  and the strawberries are also kept off the wet soil.

I created a space for planting the strawberry through by burning a circular hole in the fabric using a flame weeder. This is far quicker than the conventional method of cutting a hole using a knife. They were planted 18″ apart with the same distance between rows and should be ready to pick around the middle of June. They’re not for selling though, they are all for me.

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