Tag Archive | removing yellow leaves from brassica’s

A Brassica Week & A Final Finale

This week at my allotment my Michaelmas daisys have begun to flower and they look beautiful, standing next to the yellow and orange marigolds and calendulas.

The purple daisys remind me that Autumn is beginning and I think of these flowers as my allotments’ ‘final finale’ of the summer….and of course, the bees love them:

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I have spent most of this week tidying the remaining vegetables at my allotment:

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I removed the netting from my brassicas and gave them a good weed and removed any yellowing leaves.  By removing any dead foliage, it helps to stop any pests from hiding underneath them.

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I noticed there are loads and loads of white fly this year…..I don’t usually bother to eridicate them, however the white fly have started to cause a ‘sooty mould’ on a couple of lower leaves on one of my spring brocolli plants:

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‘Sooty mould’ is a black or dark brown powdery fungus that covers the leaf and it actually looks a bit like soot.  In severe cases it stops the plant from photosynthesising and severely weakens it or even kills the plant.

‘Sooty mould’ is a fungal disease caused by sap sooting insects such as aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs etc, or in my case it is whitefly.

I removed the two infected leaves on my plant and I will continue to monitor the situation.  If it gets too bad I will use a ‘soft soap’ spray, but for the mean time I will do nothing as it isn’t affecting my plant too badly and in the past I have still had good crops from plants covered in white fly.

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One other thing I did whilst removing the yellowing leaves on my brocolli, was to tie each plant to a support.  I place a support into the ground next to my brocolli and brussels when I first transplant them earlier in the year.  This way, I don’t damage the larger roots when the plants are bigger.

Tying the plants to the supports will help avoid the plants rocking when strong winds blow them about.  The movement is sometimes called ‘wind rock’ and it can break some of the tiny root hairs that are responsible for taking in the nutrients from the soil.  This can cause the plants to weaken and brussel sprouts to ‘blow’.

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I noticed this week that some of my cabbages are finally ready to eat.  Unfortunately these cabbages took a battering from ‘flea beatle’ when they were originally transplanted back in early summer.

Most people dig their plants up when they are attacked by flea beetle, but I always give my plants a liquid seaweed feed and give them a chance to recover…..and everytime they do recover with good results – though they always take longer to grow:

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This week I have also transplanted my Spring cabbage.  I didn’t grow my own Spring cabbage this year, so I bought the plants from a local nursery.

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I raked in some Blood, fish and bone and then transplanted the plants and gave each one a homemade ‘cabbage collar’ to stop the cabbage root fly form laying it’s eggs at the base of my plants.

Cabbage collars cost between £3 or £4 to buy a pack of 30.  To save money I make my own by cutting out a square of thick cardboard and then cutting a cross in the middle where the stem will go.  As the stem grows it can expand because of the cross in the middle.

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I place each collar around the stem and it will stop the cabbage root fly from laying it’s eggs and eventually it will just decompose into the soil.

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Elsewhere on the allotment this week, I have been tidying up my woodland area ready for winter.  I weeded and removed some dead foliage and then gave it a mulch of one year old leaf mould that wasn’t quite broken down enough to use on my vegetable beds, but is great for my woodland area:

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 I also noticed that I have an explosion of weed seedlings around my strawberries, so I gave them a good hoe to remove them:

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An Unfortunate Trip!

This week at my allotment I decided to move one or two large slabs and unfortunately I tripped over backwards and ended up with the slab in the photo below, on top of me!  Luckily the sack barrow took the weight of the slab, but I must have looked like one of those cartoon characters with just my arms and legs hanging out from the sides of the slab!…I must have looked funny.

There was no harm done though and I just ended up with a bruise on my leg and a ‘bottom’ that hurt the next day!

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Finally, at home this week I have been blanching and freezing my sweetcorn.  I have had a really good crop of sweetcorn this year, probably due to the warm summer.

I washed the sweetcorn and then blanched them for five minures before bagging them up in family sized portions and freezing.   It’s lovely having sweetcorn in the depths of winter as it always reminds of summer.

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I also weighed and bagged up some of the tomatoes that are ripening outside at home.  I then popped them into the freezer and I will use these to make tomato soup in the winter too.  The tomatoes will turn mushy when they are defrosted, but this is fine for soup.

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The allotment is continuing to provide vegetables and salads and I think the taste of freshly picked homegrown organic produce is far superior to supermarket produce and it’s cheaper to grow.

I feel very priviledged to be able to provide my family with the fruit, vegetables and salads that I grow.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time.

Radio Leicester And A Blog ‘Pumpkin’ Competiton

Hi all, I hope you had a good weekend.

On Saturday morning I had a visit at my allotment from Radio Leicester, it was lovely to talk about my plot.  If you would like to listen to the interview, you can find it here (approx. 1 hour 26 minutes into the show).  It was a fun morning talking about my favourite subject (my allotment) and I especially enjoyed talking about my flowers which attract beneficial insects, e.g. bees, ladybirds, lacewings, ground beatles and hoverflies.

The photo’s below show my plot at the moment:

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Last week I gave my woodland area a good weed and I removed plum tree suckers that insist on growing from the roots of the large plum tree.  I made this area into a woodland area as it is too dry and shady to grow any vegetables underneath it.

I planted bluebell and daffodil bulbs last year around the tree and they gave a lovely display in the Spring.  Back in March I also planted snowdrops ‘in the green’, so I am hoping they will give a good display for many Springs to come.  I chose to plant snowdrops as a way for me to remember my dear friend, who lost her battle with cancer in February this year.  The week she died I noticed snowdrops were flowering everywhere and as we walked out of her funeral service, the snow fell so thickly from the sky it was just beautiful to watch.  So I decided to plant snowdrops, so that every February when they flower I can stop and remember my good friend and the wonderful moments that we shared.  I don’t want to ever forget what a big part of my life she has been.

'Forget-me-nots' that have self seeded

‘Forget-me-nots’ that have self seeded

I have also been replanting some self seeded ‘forget-me-not’ plants, which also seemed fitting for the area.

Below are my before and after photographs:

January 2012 when I took my fourth plot

January 2012 when I took on my fourth plot

My woodland area now

My woodland area now

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Last week I have put a couple more ‘bug homes’ around my plots.  You can buy bug boxes but I prefer to make mine for free.  I just cut up a few old canes using a saw and tie them to a piece of wood in the ground.

The bug homes recreate the natural nooks and crannies that insects like to hide in over the winter.

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I also gave my brassicas a good tidy last week.  I removed any yellowing leaves which can harbour pests and diseases and tied my brussels to the supports that I put into the ground when I first planted them.  This will stop them from rocking in the wind over the winter, as this can loosen their roots from the soil which can be another reason for ‘blown’ sprouts (sprouts that have developed loosely).

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I noticed my cabbages have a few slug holes in the outside leaves, but I’m sure this won’t be problem as so far the inside of the cabbages are fine:

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I thought I would remind you to be careful of frosts this week if your pumpkins and squashes are still outside like mine.  Bring them inside or cover them up if a frost is forecast.

Below is a photo of my pumpkin this year.  I put my wrist watch on it so you could see its size, as I am quite proud of it.  I am hoping I will beat my personal record of 76 lbs, which is nothing compared to last year’s new world record weight of 2009 lbs, grown by a gentleman called Ron Wallace.

My '2013' pumpkin

My ‘2013’ pumpkin

I thought it would be a bit of fun to have a ‘guess the weight of my pumpkin competition, just for fun (no prizes).

I don’t even know the weight of it yet, as it’s still sitting on my plot.  So even if you don’t normally comment on my blog, please have a go and leave your guess in the comments below and I’ll reveal the weight when I bring it home.

Last years pumpkin that was just under 54 lbs

Last years pumpkin that weighed just under 54 lbs

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at my usual time.

Completing Planting And A Bumper Harvest

I have so much to write about today, as I have been working so hard at my allotment this week.  I wanted to finish planting all my crops before the long school holidays begin, in exactly one weeks time.  The schools here in Leicestershire break up earlier than the rest of the country.

I started by planted some more perpetual spinach:

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….And some more spring onions.  I sow my spring onions in modules as I always had a very bad germination rate when I sowed them straight into the ground (though I don’t know why as they are supposed to be an easy plant to grow).  By sowing a few seeds in each module, I find it almost guarantees a high germination rate.  I don’t thin the spring onions either, I just plant them as they are when they are ready:

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In the right hand photograph above, you can just see the newly planted spring onions and you can see the ones I planted out three or four weeks ago growing nicely behind.

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I also planted out my spring broccoli, curly kale and some more khol rabi.  All of the brassicas were planted in firm soil which I had dug and manured last autumn.  I also walked over the area before planting.

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As the ground was dry when I planted the brassicas out, I dug a hole for each plant and filled it with water.  When the water had drained away, I then planted them.  This allows the water to go deep into the ground to encourage the roots to also grow deep to find the water.  It also helps to stop the water from evaporating quickly after planting.

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I also planted some quick growing turnips too, but you may have to enlarge the photograph below to see them:

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All my brassicas have nets over, to stop the dreaded pigeons eating them.

While I was working in my brassica patch, I removed any yellowing leaves from my remaining spring cabbages. This will help to stop the build up of any pests or diseases lurking in them.  These cabbages were planted a month after my first spring cabbages and they are now starting to heart up nicely, so I will start to use these now.

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I have now officially ran out of room in my brassica beds and so I can finally say I have finished my summer brassica planting:

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This week I cut my comfrey down.  I prefer to cut my comfrey down before it flowers, but I just wasn’t quick enough this month.  If you have been reading regularly, you will know that I have already made comfrey tea this year (which incidentally is a wonderful high potash fertiliser used for all fruit and flowers e.g. it is a great tomato feed).  You can read how to make comfrey tea here.

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I have also added a vast amount of comfrey to my compost bins already this year.  So when I cut it down at this time of the year, I lay it down between my main crop potatoes instead.  This acts as a mulch to help to stop water evapourating from the ground and also helps to stop annual weeds from germinating.  When the comfrey breaks down, I just dig it into the ground to add nutrients to the soil.

I think comfrey is a wonderful plant!

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This week  I also cleared my old perpetual spinach that had ran to seed and planted my french beans in it’s place:

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I cleared my broad beans in my polytunnel that had finished producing beans:

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And I cleared my poached egg plants that had finally finished flowering either side of my path.  I transplanted some self seeded calendula plants in it’s place, though it looks quite bare at the moment it will soon grow and look pretty and be a bonus for the bees:

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Another thing I have started to do is to ‘nip’ the tops of my runnerbeans off as they reach the top of their supports.  This helps the plants to ‘bush out’ further down and produce more beans:

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This week’s harvest:

Plants have been growing slowly due to the cold spring we have had.  However, the plants are finally now producing and I seem to be having a bumper harvest.

I’ve started to pick my outdoor broadbeans this week and I have needed to pick them every other day:

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I have found my peas are just great, even though they a month behind.  My back has ached just picking them:

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So too is the mangetout (even though some are a little larger than I would have liked, as I didn’t notice they were ready):

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My potatoes taste delicious (especially with a knob of butter) and we are eating lots of lettuces, watercress and spring onions….I love summer so much.

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And my strawberries…well what can I say other than it really is a bumper crop and I’m picking carrier bags full every two days:

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Of course the down side is that I had to defrost my freezer ready for all the fruit and vegetables that I have been bringing home….

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.,….but it will be worth it when we are still tasting ‘summer’ in the long cold winter months.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.

I will be back on Monday with some Jam making tips.

Hope you have a good weekend.