Protecting your vegetables from Storms
30th Mar 2000
The end of February gave us some really rough weather around the coast line of Anglesey and I must have had to replace at least a dozen panes of glass that month.
The parsnip bed structure took a pounding to the extent that the strong solid wooden frame on top was blown from one bed over to the other one. The polythene sheet that I had over the Enviro mesh was flapping about in the wind so extra fastenings had to be incorporated and to date there have been no further damage.
The next structure to be given the Enviro mesh treatment will be the one over the long carrots, which will undoubtedly help towards a more even germination resulting hopefully in better quality roots for the show bench. The long carrot bed structure has been with me for many years now and usually gets a lick of preservative every two years or so. It was constructed initially in such a way that I could slide panes of glass to form side and roof panels. Because I have had to use so many panes to repair my greenhouse and the cost of horticultural glass these days is so expensive, I intend to revert to polythene as I did with the parsnip bed.
The way that I did it was to drape the Enviro mesh over the top of the structure and staple it down one side whilst the other end was wound once around a thin batten which was fixed to the side of the structure by means of two drilled holes and two nails in the structure. This means that I can remove the one side from the nails and roll the cover up to allow access. The polythene is then laid on top of the Enviro mesh and again attached to the batten allowing me access from one side only just to attend to the plants needs. With the strong winds that we get in Anglesey, to allow access from both sides would I'm sure leave the whole cover in tatters.
This week I shall be at it sowing the long carrots, slightly later than normal but as the top shows are towards the end of August there is really plenty of time. Gerald Treweek had phenomenal success last year with his long carrots and he sows his around the 7th of April and the mixture that he used which was published in the January issue of the National Vegetable Society Quarterly Bulletin was as follows : 1 part peat, 1 part soil or loam, 1 part sand and they are all passed through an eighth of an inch (3mm) riddle. To every bushel of the above mixture Gerald adds 1 oz Sulphate of potash, 1 ounce Superphosphate 2 oz lime, 2 oz calcified seaweed. The soil that Gerald uses comes in bags from Wessex Loam and is sieved and sterilised, for more information ring them up on 01722 837 744.
My mixture is based on a soiless mixture which means that wherever you live in the country you are not dependent on the varying qualities of soil. However as the mixture contains just peat, sand and vermiculite it does pay to foliar feed you carrots from the middle of June onwards very 10 days or so using Phostrogen. This is a very reliable form of foliar feed giving you a good balance of NPK and is reasonably priced as well.
My mix is as follows = 2 builders buckets of Levington Multi Purpose passed through a quarter inch sieve, 1 bucket of Moss peat again passed through a quarter inch sieve in order to make sure that there are no hard lumps left in the mixture. Finally add half a bucket of washed concreting sand and half a bucket of Vermiculite. The above four buckets just nicely fills up my electric concrete mixer and once the material has been thoroughly mixed I add the following nutrients, 2 ounces of fine Calcified Seaweed, it"s important to use the finest particles so I pass the material through a very fine sieve. The next ingredients are 2 ounces of Superphosphate of lime, 2 ounces of Sulphate of Potash and 4 ounces of carbonate of lime.
Bore a hole as deep as you can in your drums or raised beds, I use a plastic pipe, 3 inch diameter (75mm) to core out the sand to a depth of 4 ft 6 inches and fill with the one of the above mixtures to within about two inches of the top. The remaining space is filled up with ordinary fine seed sowing compost, I use Levington F1 but Levington Multipurpose passed through a fine sieve will suffice. The reason for this is that the fertiliser elements within the mixed compost can often be too strong at the very initial stage of growth and sometimes if the young roots get in close contact with the fertiliser it can burn them off. Make a small indentation in the centre of the bore hole about half an inch deep and sow four or five seed and cover over with the same mixture, water sparingly until germinated.
If you want to read the whole of Gerald's article as well as many other excellent articles written with the hands on gardener in mind, then why not join the National Vegetable Society, the only society with the object of advancing the culture, study and improvement of vegetables. Write for further information to Mr Len Cox, General Secretary, 33 Newmarket Road, Redcar, Cleveland. TS10 2HY.
Welsh National Vegetable Championships
A number of you have made enquires regarding the Welsh National Vegetable Championships show which this year is being held as part of the Welsh Millennium Horticultural Show at Grove Junior School, Orange Way Pembroke through the kind offices of Pembroke Town council and Pembrokeshire County Council as well as Texaco and ATS tyres Wales. At this particualr show the you will also see the Welsh Dahlia Society Championship Millennium Show, The South Pembrokeshire Floral Art Championships and the Rhondda Rose Society Millennium Show. If you require a show schedule for the above event or details of where you could stay, contact Mr Ron Macfarlane on 01646 685 284.