Friday, August 7

More like chess

If you follow Martyn's blog you will know that the lack of rain has caused us a problem this year. The unplanted areas of the plot have been impossible to work.





Plants have been languishing in cold frames becoming weak and leggy but the beds planned for them were impossible to plant in having gone from wet, sticky and claggy to like concrete in the blink of an eye. The window of opportunity for bed preparation was just too short.

Armed with certain knowledge that the plants that were already past their best would soon would soon die completely a new plan was needed.


The leeks were in the greatest need and so we decided to plant them in the bed in which we had previously sown two batches of carrots both of which were completely eaten by slugs. We figured that the leeks would be of no interest to the slugs. Before we were able to plant we had to tip copious amounts of water in the area so that we could actually make planting holes in which to drop the young leeks.
Next plants most in need of planting were winter brassicas which were now going to be planted in the bed formally set aside for leeks as there was no way that they could be planted in their designated bed.
Even in the new location, we needed the long promised rain in order to make planting a viable proposition. When it came we planted the leggy brassicas - red and green cabbage, savoy, calabrese and cauliflowers - as soon as we could.
As usual there was an audience waiting - in the wings - for us to leave the plants unprotected.
The white butterflies have been preparing for just this opportunity.
There was no way these plants were going to be left for them to use as a nursery so the plants were covered with lightweight mesh.

We had another attempt at growing carrots away from slug alley which so far has avoid an outbreak of slugmageddon.
We just draped lightweight mesh over the bed and wonder whether this has helped in that the slugs don't like the feel of it as they crawl under. There are slugs in the area as they have created bare patches and I have also found slug eggs here. 
The question now is will they grow quickly enough. The sweet corn was meant to be planted here.

So the sweet corn had to be relocated but we've no idea what was originally intended for here.
Check mate!

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

38 comments:

  1. Boy, that soil does look rock hard...thank goodness you had alternative areas to plant out your veg. Now that your transplants are in the ground, hopefully they perk up quickly. This would be great opportunity for one of your before and after shots in a few weeks.

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    1. I hope any afters shots are different to the before shots Margaret,

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  2. Ugh-I sympathize. I had soil like that when I lived in Illinois. Took YEARS to improve.
    Hope your plants recover!
    Have a wonderful weekend

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    1. The soil actually isn't at all bad when it is neither too wet nor too dry Sue.

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  3. Life is never dull in the garden! There is always some challenge waiting to be overcome. I'm glad you were able to plant out your leeks and brassicas. I hope you get your much needed rain.

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    1. We have had some rain since taking the first photo, Audrey so things have improved a bit.

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  4. I hope you get some rain. Here at least I can water the garden when nature doesn't provide.

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    1. We have done some watering, Daphne but we can't compete with a good rain.

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  5. Wish I had more of your problem Sue, here in the West at the foot of the Pennines the ground has never fully dried out from the winter rains and the water table remains high.

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  6. We have no rain for about three months. Some raised bed that haven't reloaded yet have a very hard like as concrete. I hope, you will lucky with your brassicas.

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    1. So do I Endah and I hope that you soon have some rain too.

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  7. That sweetcorn looks really healthy- albeit a little crowded (to put it mildly) I do find dense planting in blocks gives good results with many crops when they get full light round the perimeter and are not shaded by other crops.
    Seeing your rock hard soil makes me glad I am a no dig gardener!
    We are suffering from drought too here in York

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    1. We always plant it as close, Roger and it doesn't seem to mind.

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  8. love the cabbage white picture

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    1. Unlike the long tailed tits the butterflies stayed remarkably still but they were somewhat preoccupied

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  9. It's been a tough old year. Slugmageddon (lovely word!) and too much rain.

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    1. Not enough rain for us Jessica which makes the plague of slugs more puzzling and the fact that we had treated the original carrot bed with nematodes

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  10. The weather has been awful for the veggies this year....struth, your soil does look dry and baked, so glad you sorted everything in the end....most of my carrots were devoured too....like you I'm hoping the remainder put a spurt on!xxx

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    1. A strange year all round Dina

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  11. There does seem to have been an explosion of white butterflies recently. But as all my first few lots of brassicas were eaten by slugs when seedlings I don't have to worry too much at the moment (always looking for the silver lining!) The soil here is really dry too but gets a cap on rather than big chunks of earth. It does crack sometimes too. As the slugs have been so bad they hide under any mulch though, sigh! I saw a video (can't remember where) where the lady regularly sprinkled short grass clippings thinly over her beds to add organic matter - seems like a good idea as there's nowhere for the slugs to hide.

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    1. The ability to find the silver lining is is a good trait to have, Lou. :-)

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  12. It has indeed been a strange growing year, I've only just planted my leeks too. Glad you've had a bit more rain now, we are a bitter wetter here in Wales x

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    1. That that the leeks get a move on and grow quickly, Jo.

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  13. Lack of rain? Oh my, I assumed everyone was getting as much as us. We must have gotten your share too Sue :( We've lived here 12 years now and have never known such a cold wet summer as we have had this year. I've just been reading about the hot weather down south and saw pix of people on beaches sunbathing - it's cold here and currently piddling down - again!

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    1. It's been sunny here this weekend , Linda but warm rather than hot, I think that we have had the least rain of anywhere,

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  14. It's been one thing after another this year hasn't it Sue? I hope you at least manage some veg to harvest. It would be so cruel if it was the opposite.

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    1. We aren't doing too badly Angie

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  15. Once more your post didn't come up on my dashboard - I keep adding you to the list to no avail - mysterious! We have had a slug free year this year even though we have had quite a lot of rain - that's a mystery too.

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    1. We must have your slugs Elaine

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  16. Wow your soil is really hard and dry isn't it....it's a surprise you suffered from slugs-how strange. Thsi year has been just dull here, but we have had some rain, so I suppose we have been lucky then

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    1. Some areas are worse than others Lisa

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  17. My soil was like that the first summer I had a bit of an 'allotment' garden here at the flats. As I cleared the neck-high weeds, the ground underneath baked like concrete. My winter brassicas will go into the slot vacated by the broad beans - and this time, they'll be netted! I've been keeping an eye on those white butterflies, beautiful egg layers that they are.

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    1. There are loads of whites around this year Caro

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  18. Hi Sue,
    I'm glad I split the very clayey bottom section of my plot into "boarded beds" ( not raised beds!!) this year without losing too much growing area ,otherwise it would have been unworkable for most of the time like some of yours is. Already paying dividends especially where I've worked in some cheap soil conditioner (Aldi) which has helped with the germination of bean,salad and chard and got the transplanted leeks quickly on the move.I grew some of my spuds at home in pots of clean compost so that's also now available to recycle on the plot.

    Have got some insect eggs on the back of the brassicas.Small whitish areas with a yellowish bubble going through to the front of the leaves.
    All netted and doesn't seem to be from Cabbage White butterflies which lay larger yellow eggs.
    Might be from Whitefly?

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    1. Large whites lay clusters of yellow eggs David. Was the netting sold as butterfly netting as they can get through the other type and they will find any gaps?

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  19. It's been dry and cold. I compare my harvest to my dad's who lives in Poland. He has been picking cucumbers for weeks now while I had only four! And don't know whether I will have much more as the powdery mildew has been spreading.

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    1. We certainly haven't had a 'proper' summer Aga

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