The recent warm weather has brought the growing season back on track. The potatoes that were planted earlier have sprouted and have now been earthed up at least twice now. The early varieties are just starting to flower so they have not been too delayed. However the second earlies that I planted are very slow at present. I planted two varieties “British Queen” and “Charlotte” and both varieties have produced little growth. However I also sowed seven Maris Peer potatoes into a container and have earthed these potatoes up twice now. Maris Peer are also a second early and all varieties were planted using the same methods i.e. with organic fertiliser and comfrey.
The seeds I sowed under glass have all been planted out and the brassica’s in particular are producing strong growth. They have been covered with netting to prevent the Cabbage White butterfly laying eggs on them. The caterpillars of the Cabbage White have a voracious appetite and can quickly decimate a brassica crop so crop protection is of great importance, hence the netting. It is better to prevent the Cabbage White laying its eggs on the underside of brassica leaves than trying to remove the caterpillars organically.
The onions. shallots, leeks, broad beans, peas and runner beans have all been planted out and are growing nicely. It is still a little early to plant out runner beans as they are tender but with the recent warm weather they have grown substantially and I had to clear space. The broad beans are well in flower so will start producing pods shortly. I have also planted out pumpkin and courgettes as these also were getting too large for the cold frame. I hope the weather remains kind and the plants don’t suffer.
The carrot seed I had sown directly into the soil have germinated so I will have to protect them from the carrot root fly soon. The carrot root fly does not fly higher than 60cm (2 feet) and does not like windy condition, however I will protect the crop with a fine net and hope that my efforts are rewarded.
Boxwood blight affects both “English” and “American” varieties of boxwood plants. Boxwood is typically used for hedges especially topiary. Buying topiary plants can be expensive and plants treated with a chemical fungicide can mask the disease.
Boxwood blight initially presents as dark or light brown spots or lesions on leaves. The leaves typically turn brown or straw colour, then fall off. The stems develop dark brown or black lesions and the blight is often fatal to young plants.
The boxwood blight spores are dispersed by wind and rain over short distances. Since the spores are sticky they can also be spread by birds, animals, and contaminated clothing and footwear. Warm and humid conditions help its spread. The spores do not need a wound to infect a plant, but it does require high humidity or free water and unfortunately the disease can survive for five years in fallen boxwood leaves.
Organic Biological prevention and treatment
Application Treatment for Boxwood plants.
1. Spray the whole area of the plant with Actiferm ( Activated EM-1, EMA) mixed with Guard ( the sticker agent ) The method is to mix 200ml of Actiferm or EMA and 100ml Guard in 100 Lt. water (uncontaminated water, preferably not chlorinated) then spray the whole plant with the solution.
2. Treat the surrounding soil or compost with Bokashi bran. Sprinkle the Bokashi on the surface and rake the bokashi bran lightly into the top surface so that any leaves that have fallen or will fall are treated. Apply 0.4kg per square meter
There is little doubt that the cold weather has delayed planting by several weeks, but hopefully the plants will catch up once the weather improves. Even with the cold weather I have planted potatoes and the early varieties seem to be coming on well.
I like most gardeners have been sowing under glass in the hope that the season returns to normal and the seedlings can be planted out in more favourable conditions. I have sown onions. shallots, leeks, broad beans, peas, runner beans, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale under glass and the seedlings are presently thriving in my cold frame. The seedlings, with the exception of the leeks have been pricked out into individual pots so that they can grow unimpeded. The broad beans and peas seedlings were taking up too much space in the coldframe so I have taken a chance and planted them out. I hope to plant the brassica’s out in the first week of June. This season I have had failures as well, even under glass. The sweetcorn did not germinate and the celery germination was very poor. I can only presume that even with the glass protection the temperatures were not sufficient to start germination. All the seeds were sown in a J. Arthur Bowers general purpose compost to which perlite had been added.
As the weather has (hopefully) warmed up I have sown several varieties of carrot directly into the soil. Carrots need a temperature of around 12°C to germinate and although day temperatures have been above that this week night temperatures are around 5-7°C so I will have to wait and hope.
Post removed at the request of the allotment Association
So much rain has fallen this week that the containers have suffered. The rain was at times torrential and bouncing about 60cm off the ground and major roads had to be closed due to the amount of water present. It was the force of the rain rather than the quantity that caused problems to the plants.
The busy lizzies suffered from the force of the rainfall which damaged the flowers. The Lobelia are growing well and will soon start draping the edge of the container.
The growth over the past week has been good, even with all the rain the bare patches are filling in naturally. I expect the plants to continue to grow and then get benefit from the buried bokashi in another few weeks.
The other containers have suffered slightly with the petunia flowers suffering the most.
Many of the petunia flowers in this container have suffered due to the rain and at one point it appeared that a fungal infection had taken hold. However, I treated the plants with EM-5 organic pest control diluted 1:500 with water and that appears to have rectified the problem.
There is still no sign of pests and this application of EM5 organic pest control was just a preventative measure.
The containers placed into the chimney are doing well as they were in a better position and were sheltered from the worst of the rain.
Growth has been good and they should start flowering soon.
This week the plants suffered from torrential rain which has brought the June rainfall up to 220% of normal with expected monsoon style rain forecast for tomorrow (Thursday) and flooding is also predicted but I will not be affected by that.
I put another Lobelia in the left hand side of the container as I thought that it looked a bit bare. Growth over the past week has been good and some of the bare patches have filled in naturally. I am pleased so far with this container and I expect the plants to continue to grow well and then get benefit from the buried bokashi in about another few weeks.
The other containers are also doing well and growth has been very good. A comparison with last weeks pictures shows that the plants are growing thicker and there are more flowers.
The only EM treatment that all the containers received this week was that they were all treated with EM-5 organic pest control diluted 1:500 with water.
There is no sign of pests and this was just a preventative measure. I also made up some more containers with the intention of putting the containers into the tops of two chimney pots that I have. The containers were filled with the same compost but no bokashi was added.
Once the containers were filled I sprinkled a product known as Rockdust onto the surface of the pot. Rockdust supposedly contains minerals which benefit the plants.
Microorganisms certainly feed on minerals but I found Rockdust to be a coarsely ground product with large pieces of the product left on the surface of the compost after watering. So I have no idea how the microorganisms will benefit. Time will tell how these containers perform.
The Alyssum seed planted on Tuesday the 12th June for the charity project in Paisley, have now sprouted. The seed that was soaked in the 1:1000 dilution of EMA solution have had almost 100% germination success and sprouted one day sooner than the untreated seed.
The seed packet states “Seedlings should appear 14-28 days after sowing” so for the seed to sprout in only one week is pretty good.
The seed was spaced around one inch apart to make thinning out easier and it was exactly the same brand of compost the seedlings were sown into. The only difference was that two of the seed trays had been treated with EM bokashi bran and the seed sown into these trays had been soaked in an EMA solution of 1:1000 dilution with water.
The untreated seed has also sprouted but germination is sporadic even although they were sown at the same spacing as the EM treated seed.
The poor weather was such that all the seed trays were taken into the greenhouse to prevent the seedlings being battered down with the heavy rain of the last few days.
As stormy weather is still expected the trays can remain in the greenhouse until the weather returns to a more acceptable state.
The containers continue to grow and have been given another watering with EMA diluted 1:500. As can be seen in the picture below the lobelia have enjoyed the growing conditions and have grown well. But the busy lizzies have grown thicker but not much larger. I am considering planting petunia’s in the open spaces in the tub.
The other containers are coming on a treat and the plants have hit the ground running. They have both received another watering EM diluted 1:500. At first glance it appears that plants planted into soil or compost that has been treated with EM bokashi bran appear to thrive. There is also no sign of slug damage on any of the containers so it appears that Nemaslug is working well.
Compared to the photographs published last week it can be seen that growth is pretty substantial.
Growth for this container has also been pretty good. The growth over the whole season will show what methods are best. I expect the plants in the large container to have a steady growth and then once the buried bokashi is incorporated into the soil then the plants should improve dramatically.
The plants in the two tubs should have good growth initially and then settle down. However the plants should be larger than normal due to the influence of EM in the root zone.
The Daily Mail has printed a story that Britain’s farms and gardens are under attack – from millions of crop-eating slugs that are thriving in our washout summer.
Floods and heavy rain have helped create ideal breeding conditions for the slimy molluscs, which are crawling over flower beds and destroying lettuces, beans, wheat and other produce.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2159097/Wet-summer-creates-ideal-conditions-slugs-means-bad-news-garden.html#ixzz1xn53MSLJ
This year I have found the compost I purchased to be pretty poor. Normally I purchase compost from Makro and buy around 400 litres, when they offer BOGOF deals. The compost is purchased in 100 litre plastic bags but last year I found the compost to be woody with bits of plastic and wire in the bags. So I decided to try another brand. The first compost I bought was purchased from a local garden centre last autumn and kept under cover. The compost was branded as Humax multi purpose compost. The compost was used this year and results were bad. Germination occurred and then plant growth was extremely slow. It was the same for all the seeds sown into this brand of compost.
I then bought another brand named Growmoor a 160 litre bag and transplanted some of the seedlings. Growth improved and the seedlings started to grow normally, however when I went to get some more compost the shop had ran out of it.
Consequently I went to Makro and bought 400 litres of the compost I normally purchase. Luckily the BOGOF offer was on again.
I have a project coming up involving a local charity and I needed to sow some Alyssum (Carpet of Snow) so I thought this would be an ideal topic for discussion. The bag of compost was opened and about 120grams of bokashi bran was added to the compost. The purpose of this is to infuse the compost with some effective microorganisms, which should improve plant growth. The compost was sifted and several small bits of plastic and one bit of wire removed. The seed trays were then filled and compressed. The seed trays are large about 22.5 inches by 11.5 inches and take a fair amount of compost. The picture below shows the size of the tray against a 100 litre bag of compost.
Two packets of the Alyssum seed were soaked in a 1:1000 solution of EMA for about 15 minutes.
The EMA solution was then strained through a sieve and two of the seed trays filled with the EM treated seed. The seed was sown around one inch apart to save some pricking out later.
A third packet of Alyssum was opened and this was immediately sown into another tray, that had filled using compost from another bag, again at the same 1 inch spacing. The trays were all watered with plain water.
The trays were labelled, the tray on the left the contains the untreated seed. This will allow a check to be be maintained on growth and we should be able to offer a comparison between the treated and untreated seeds. Hopefully by the middle of next month the plants will be ready for transplanting into their final positions.