Horticultural Gardening Tips/Vegetables

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Brussel sprouts edit

The soil must be substantial, or plants fall over during winter gales. Loose soil causes sprouts to open. The ground must be rock hard - plant in soil-based paths: drive a pole into the ground, remove the pole, and put the seedling in a hole. Whitefly is a pain but not destructive. Prevent using fleece. Fleece/netting increases the plant's sturdiness. Caterpillars are very destructive. Huge populations appear and destroy plants. Prevent using net curtains to prevent cabbage white butterflies from laying their eggs on the underside of leaves. Slugs destructive when plants are young. Rotting ("damping off") of seedlings frequent during cold wet springs due to fungus. Ensure seedlings have plenty of sunlight, are not too hot and crowded, and have lots of ventilation (put outside if not too cold). Sow seeds in a 1cm thick layer of vermiculite on shop-bought compost helps prevent rotting. Sunlight kills the fungus.

Parsnip edit

Always use fresh seed. Old seed will not germinate. Germination is erratic and slow - easily takes 3 to 5 weeks. Seeds very fussy - they hate the cold, heat and dry soils. Plant seed succesively 3 or 4 times in same place to have higher chance of germination - surplus/weak seedlings can be thinned later. Grow in rows and mark out with sticks laid horizontally on ground. Slugs very destructive - spread sand on surface. Stones, manure and nitrogen cause forking. Harvesting is difficult - parnsips grow large roots and trying to dig 'em up in cold wet winter weather in muddy saturated soil isn't pleasant - suction makes job even more difficult - grow in raised beds, loose and/or sandy soil. When harvesting, dig trench next to roots - and gently lever parsnips into trench. Flavour better after harsh frosts. During 2nd year avoid skin contact with foliage (which grows rapidly to 6ft) - or risk blisters.

Potatoes edit

Plant deeply to ensure tubers grow and enlarge deep underground. Earth up to keep tubers in dark - to prevent greening. Keep leaves dry. Keep soil moist to ensure larger crops. Blight control: as for tomatoes but also: cut potato stems down to soil if blight is widespread and weather conditions are expected to continue wet, humid and warm (>22degC). Blight supposed to be less of a problem to tubers when planted deeply. Do not dig up tubers during warm, humid conditions (blight spores jump onto tubers ebing dug up). Seeking out 'blight resistant' varieties when buying tubers definitely helps. Consider picking off blight infected leaves (do not add to compost heap). Storage: Store potatoes in fridge if shed/garage is too warm. Store underground in a 'clamp' (straw sided box buried under pile of soil). Inspect stored tubers regularly and remove/destroy/eat tubers beginning to go bad. Prevent stored tubers touching and passing on rot to each other.

Tomatoes edit

Plant deeply (25-30cm) to : 1. Increase drought resistance, 2. Force more lateral roots, 3. Increase flavour, 4. Increase sturdiness Plant outside to:1. Increase drought resistance (outside soil dries out slower than in pots), 2. Increase flavour (more 'stuff' in natural outside soil), 3. Reduce infestations of greenhouse bugs (red spider mite, greenfly, whitefly) Earth up around stems whilst growing to encourage extra feeding roots. Pinch out shoots which form between leaves and main stem. Regularly tie to bamboo cane - and before plant gets blown over. Blight prevention: 1. Spray with dithane or milk regularly and especially during humid warm weather. Blight spreads fastest during thundery, humid, weather >22degC. 2. Keep individual tomato plants as far apart as possible (eg grow at opposite ends of fields). 3. Keep well away from potatoes, 4. Rotate crops - change position each year, 5. Skim off top 2 inches of soil after severe blight season (blight spores get washed onto soil) 6. Pick off blight infected leaves (don't add to compost heap). Companion plants: basil supposed to be good. Anti-companion plants: potatoes, other tomato plants, peppers, tobacco.

Oca edit

Can take 1-2 months to emerge from ground. Initially grows slowly but then accelerates. Slugs destructive. Tubers only swell after daylength has shortened considerably - need to prolong plant growth during Autumn. Prolonged growth gives bigger tubers. Earthing up increases yield. Frosts destroy foliage.