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Prep for next season - what???

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 12:59 pm
by cheddarpaul
Hi all
As a newbie I need all the help I can get. I already have some vegs down in my lottie, covering about 1/2 of it so far. About 1/3 is covered with heavy tarpaulin as I couldnt get around to cleaning up all of it after it was rotovated.
Now I need to know what should I be doing to prepare my lottie for planting veg in the autumn/winter?
As a family we go through pounds of spuds, swedes, cabbages, you name it... so this is what I think I will concentrate on later in the year.
ATM everything is planted in beds - I will be planting some sweetcorn in a square tomorrow.
So come on help... what should I be thinking of now so when it comes to autumn and can plant and reap the rewards......

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:12 pm
by greenbean
Hi Chedder, I'm a newbie too, so can't help much, just thought I'd say Hello. From my limited knowledge I know I will be planting some garlic this Autumn. I am a bit worried about succession sowing/planting, the whole thing is a logistical nightmare for me. I have planted out some sweetcorn in a square too, I am currently thinking of making a scarecrow to keep crows off it. I have a problem with a gang of 3 crows that are constantly in my garden. One of them even took my wee dogs bone off the lawn and flew off with it, the dog was not amused.

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:37 pm
by cheddarpaul
Ohhh greenbean - when did you get your lottie? Any words of advice on the sweetcorn front?

Some of the children of another newbie lottie holder have made a scarecrow for their patch - do those things really work?

And I will also be planting out some garlic - love the stuff fresh - nothing like the dry stuff you can buy

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:51 pm
by greenbean
Sadly I have no lottie yet. I am on 2 long waiting lists, my vegetables are growing in 4 raised beds in my back garden. I plan to create a really scarey scarecrow that Tim Burton would be proud of. I don't really expect it to work on the crows as they are a cheeky lot. What I need is a scarecrown that moves.
I don't have any sweetcorn tips for you either, not yet anyway, I love the way the plants look. I have underplanted my corn with courgettes, I have an American veg gardeneing book and this keep the racoons off the corn as the courgette stems are prickly, it also saves space.
Any garlic tips yourself? I planted some before and it never grew, I think it might have got too wet and just rotted away. This Scottish weather is shocking, I used to live in the East Midlands and the difference in rainfall is incredible.

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 2:39 pm
by Andy Hamilton
greenbean wrote: This Scottish weather is shocking, I used to live in the East Midlands and the difference in rainfall is incredible.

I used to live in Nottingham and it never rained as much as it does down here in Bath. It is not as cold as scotland gets though.

After planting some garlic out last year (late september) I thought they had rotted away, only to find that they started to come up a few weeks back. Seemed to lay dormant.

Hard to give any advice this year as the weather has been some of the strangest we have seen for a while. For all we know we might get a heat wave in December.

Monty Don suggested planting some green manure on gardeners world, not a bad idea get some mustard seeds and plant them out if you have clay soil then let them grow to just before they flower and dig them in. Other wise a bit before. I have done the same before and it seems to choak a lot of weeds, make the ground more managable and give some vital organic matter into the mix.

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 4:04 pm
by shiney
I should be thinking of next season, but I am just about getting my head around this lot of stuff I am trying to grow now. Right at this moment I am wishing I had at least 30 water butts instead of just the one. What a lot of water we could have caught today!

We are going around to dig over my donated bit of garden at my friends this week. We are planning to put just beans in there for now. I know that they only live around the next street but we need to see what kind of pests they have there. Apart from the obligatory slug population!!

Posted: Tue May 24, 2005 11:09 pm
by ina
Mustard seems to be the best known green manure - but try phacelia. Seeds are difficult to get, but I have found them in one garden centre so far (or try the internet). Lovely flowers, very attractive to bees. Or use a clover; where I found the phacelia seeds, they also sold crimson clover and trefoil. These have the advantage of adding N to your soil and increasing fertility. Plus they flower nicely and make bees happy...

If you are starting out, put the "Encyclopedia of organic gardening" (HDRA) on your Christmas or birthday wishlist - whichever comes first. It tells you everything from soil preparation to rotation to what to grow where, and what problems you might get. Since I bought that book it hardly ever sees the book case, it's my constant companion and probably has quite a lot of coffee and mud stains by now!

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 7:26 am
by cheddarpaul
I already have my eyes on the Veg and Herb Expert book so another one wont go amiss I dare say

This may be a silly question, but tell me more about this green manure...

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 8:39 am
by Wombat
G'DAy Cheddarpaul,

Green manure is the process of growing specified plants ( especially legumes) on ground needing to be enriched, which, when they develop succulent foliage and prior to setting seed are turned under to rot down and provide organic matter. This must be done at least several weeks prior to planting (depending on soil temp) to allow the rotting down and nutrient release to occur otherwise the crop is starved of nitrogen.

Sound reasonable?

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 9:50 am
by cheddarpaul
Sounds like a good idea to me... but I would be glad for my main crop to grow before I start growing things with the intent of cutting them down !!

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 11:37 am
by wulf
Last year, as winder was drawing on, I decided that I wasn't spinach I was trying to grow so threw those seeds and my old stock of french bean seeds (well past their best before date) onto a patch of ground that was sitting bare as an adhoc green manure. I was suprised to find that a lot of the seeds germinated so, as the next patch was also bare by that time, transplanted the spinach seedlings across for experiments with spent coffee grounds as a slug barrier (no appreciable difference, so I've gone back to putting the grounds in with the rest of the compost, although being late in season they didn't get completely decimated).

I just left them in the ground over the winter, on the basis that a little ground cover wouldn't hurt and I could dig them in come spring... come spring, they were starting to flourish, so I've transplanted them to another bed and have got a small but reliable supply of spinach!

Hurrah for old seeds!


Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 8:11 pm
by shiney
If wheat seeds can last a thousand years or more in the pyramids, I always chuck old ones in the ground.

Just to see what happens!

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 9:09 pm
by Wombat
I am not sure about the wheat seeds thing Shiney,......................... I think it may be an urban myth! 8)


Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 9:10 pm
by shiney
Well, it's a good story. There is such a thing as pyramid power tho. Ever read anything about that?

Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 9:23 pm
by Wombat
Yep! I was fascinated by it back in the '70s when it was BIG! Even tried to sharpen my razor blade with no effect :shock: . Perhaps with age I am becoming more cynical. By the same token, I can't remember who said it first but - "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!" :wink: