Time is at a premium for myself and many others and even more so during these summer months. I have wanted to write an allotment ‘up date’ for weeks but my full time work has been especially busy. This update is short but essential, I need to write before we miss the sowing window.
Time to start sowing for Winter. August.
I know, we have hardly started cropping the summer vegetables but I am going to start talking about sowing vegetables for winter and spring cropping. Getting the sowing date right is not an easy subject to discuss, especially as I’m no expert on sowing dates. I tend to sow a few seeds in July, Aug and Early September with a hope that I hit some edible crops in early winter, mid and late winter. My Farming grandparents would readily repeat sowing dates like relatives birth dates. “sow winter Cauliflowers by the 20th August and not before the 5th” why? well if the vegetables receive to much late summer light they will run away and produce florets in autumn. Why is that bad ? well of cause it’s not, but we were aiming for winter Cauliflowers not autumn ones.
There are a number of vegetable that we can sow in August.
Curly Kale Spring Cabbage Savoy Cabbage
Spring Cauliflower Beetroot for winter Carrots for winter
These vegetables can be sown straight into the open allotment or undercover, at this time of year neither have advantages.
The garden centres during August have big sales and want to clear stocks for the autumn bulbs. You will find most – all garden centres sell there seeds at half price. Buy your seeds now if you are sowing seeds in autumn but I, DO NOT recommend buying seed packets now for sowing next year. If you save seeds until 2013 you will get a lower germination on old stock. Having said that there are exceptions, Peas, Beans, cabbage and cauliflowers, these do have a good shelf life.
Too many Slug Pellets?
It may have been one of the wettest summers on record, but slugs have had a great year, increasing ten fold over two months, well that is unless they come to our allotment, sea blue soil, covered in a heart stopping mound of slug pellets. Of cause I’m joking, but at times I have noticed some ill-informed gardeners sprinkling blue slug pellets so liberally that I stand amazed at the literal ridiculous waste of money spread over the ground and that’s without discussing the detrimental environmental effects. Over use of slug pellets will effect the earthworm population. We should already be aware of the effect on other animals, organisms, birds and mammals, but slug pellets also effect Beetles and Earthworms.
Five or up to Five single pellets is suffice per plant, applied weekly and if there is rain imminent you are best waiting for a dry day. Rain affects the ability of the chemical in slug pellets and rain also helps slugs recover from the ingested chemical. Oh yes, slugs do often recover, the compound chemical is making the slugs drunk, causing the slug to have a massive hangover resulting in dehydration. A heavy, prolonged spell of rain will aid the slug’s recovery. By liberally spreading pellets you are not killing more slugs, you are wasting your money and damaging your soil.
I will be aiming for an update later this month and my subject will be “The detrimental effects of Over obsessive weeding of allotments, weeding down to bare soil.” Happy gardening, and thanks for the comments last month, anyone can email me with comments, problems or ideas.
Also on Twitter: @stachyurus_man