Squash

Some Vegetables and Other Plants

Perrenial grasses such as Fescue are recommended by Cornell University to go in the alleyways between the rows of raspberries. The Organic Gardening Catalogue offers a grass seed "Shady Lawn Mixture" containing 45% chewings fescue, 25% hard fescue, 15% sheeps fescue, 10 % smooth stalked meadow grass and 5 % brown top bent.

November sowings of some hardy varieties of Broad Beans e.g. aquadulce will provide beans in June, but there can be severe losses in a severe winter. Sowings in March and April can provide beans through July and August. Chop off the tips of the plants when near maximum height. Sow seeds in double rows with seeds 8" apart. Double rows 24" inches apart.

Carrots are an essential root crop to be grown every year. They can be sown every month between March and July for harvesting between July and October. 4 rows? The soil where they are to be grown should be light, well dugover to a spits depth, friable with hard lumps and stones removed. Handfuls of growmore may be added. To sow, dig out narrow drills an inch deep and 12 inches apart. Drop a couple of seeds every inch along the drill. Cover the seeds. Gently water if dry. Seedlings should appear 3 weeks later. Thin to 2 to 3 inches apart.

Cultivated edible carrots date back 5000 years to the Iranian plateau and the modern orange carrot was developed in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. More can be found out in the Carrot Museum.

Field Beans is a green manure for overwintering. They fix nitrogen, and should be treated as "others" in rotation. They have very deep roots.

Hungarian Grazing Rye is a green manure for overwintering. It can be sown as late as October and will grow at low temperatures. It can be sown in drills 6 inches apart or broadcast. 225 grams is sufficient for 150 sq ft. It produces large quantities of roots, so improves soil structure and produces thick foliage that will keep weeds under control. As it breaks down, it can produce chemicals which prevent seeds from germinating, so only sow a transplanted crop after grazing rye, or leave a gap of one month between digging in the green manure and sowing seed.

Garlic - plant 6" apart in rows 6" apart.

Kale and Borecole is a handy brassica. Sowing time is in May for transplanting 50 cm apart each way in July when the plants are about 10 cm high. The plants overwinter and their leaves can be gathered from December to March. It is supposed to be untroubled by pigeons and other enemies of the cabbage family. It is one of the few greens that is abundant and flavourful during the colder part of the year.

Leeks In March 2010 one packet of "Musselburgh" seeds were planted in one 4 m row. These yielded 160 transplants. In July the transplants were set 150 mm apart along five 4 m rows which were spaced 30 cm apart. A 150mm deep hole was drilled for each plant, the leek plant was placed into the hole where it was watered in. 30 leek plants were left over. The leeks were harvested from November to March

Leeks have been cultivated since the time of the Ancient Egyptians and the leek was the favorite vegetable of the Emperor Nero. The Phoenicians are said to have been the first to bring leeks to Britain when trading tin with the Welsh where it soon became part of the staple diet.

Mustard is a quick growing, short lived half hardy annual that can be sown from March to September as a green manure. It is a brassica and should be treated as such for rotation.

Onions Unpack sets on arrival and spread in light cool position. Plant in February to April leaving tips above soil surface. Tread gently in, allowing 10cm between sets and 30cm between rows. Lift crop when leaves bend over usually in August. Dry in sunshine. Store in cool, dry frost free conditions.

Parsnips are another essential root crop. They can be panted in March, April and May for harvesting from October to February.

Squash

Squash provide a brilliant set of plants to grow. The above photo shows some of those picked in September 2011. These are ten "Gemstore" cricket ball sized fruits, one Onion squash, three Kabocha squashes and one Turks Head. Not shown are two "Sprinter" butternut squashes and countless courgettes from a very productive "Nero di Milan" plant.

Potatoes On arrival unpack and chit the seed potatoes. To chit the potato place in seed tray with bud uppermost in a light, airy and frost free room for planting in March or April. Plant in warm soil after risk of frost. Plant 3" to 4" deep, 12" apart in rows 18" apart for earlies and 30" apart for maincrop. Fork between rows to loosen soil. Earth up the rows 2 or 3 times. Earlies are ready 2 to 3 months after planting. Main crops take longer. After dieback leave potatoes in ground for 2 to 3 weeks. Lift and harvest the potatoes when their skin is firm. Underground slugs may attack the potatoes at the end of the season. To store the potaoes leave them out in the sun for a few hours to dry off and allow the skin to harden a little. Brush off any excess soil and check for damage. Any forked, slugged or suspect potatoes should be put to one side and used as quickly as possible. Potatoes should be stored between 5 and 10 C in the dark. Prolonged exposure to light will cause greening and green potatoes are poisonous. Hessian bags are good potato storage containers. After the potatoes have been in store for a month or so, wait for a fine day, empty the bags out and re-check for developing rots and the odd slug.

Tubingen Mixture is a mixture of seeds of plants which blossom successively during a long period of time thus providing flower-seeking insects with a large food of

BlackcurrantsMain pruning is best done in early winter. Retain strong shoots growing from the base. If new shoots are plentiful cut out most of old wood which has fruited, otherwise remove 1/3 of old branches, cutting back to a strong new branch near the base. . Remove weak, diseased and crossing branches. The aim is to encourage an open bush with a continual supply of new wood. The bush will be completely "replaced" every 3 years.