Author Archives: JV

Asparagus beetle

Our young asparagus plants have been attacked for the first time by asparagus beetle, Crioceris asparagi. It is small, not much more than ¼ inch long, but readily identified from its distinctive markings: black head, reddish brown body, black wings with six white markings. Both the adult beetle and the larval stage will feed on the leaves and stems. If sufficiently damaged, foliage, and even entire stems, can be killed. This may weaken the crowns and can have an impact on the following season’s harvest. Continue reading

Transplanting leeks

Leeks are normally grown in a seed bed or seed trays and transplanted to their final growing positions, traditionally trimmed and dropped into six inch deep holes. We sowed two seed trays with leeks, one of old favourite Musselburgh and one of Bleu de Solaise. Rather than transplant direct, I have for some years transplanted leeks twice, first moving them into a larger tray at wider spacings, and then later in the year to an outdoor bed. Continue reading

Sowing and planting this week

I have been a bit lazy in updating the blog with the latest sowing and planting. Over the last few weeks, sowing has been a bit neglected too, but there has been a lot to plant out. We did manage to sow another three lengths of gutter with peas, the reliable Hurst Greenshaft and the magnificent mangetout Carouby de Maussane, and more pots of broad bean Masterpiece Green Longpod. These are ready to plant out now, so will be one of the first tasks to attend to at the weekend. Continue reading

Sowing and planting this week

This week saw a mixture of sowing and planting out. First, we prepared our second outdoor potato bed and planted a favourite late main crop Pink Fir Apple, along with more of second early Wilja and a few left over early Sharpe’s Express. The Wilja and Pink Fir Apple will go into the store once harvested, whilst this third sowing of Sharpe’s Express should keep us in new potatoes for some time. Continue reading

Potting up the chilli house

Chillies are one of my favourite things to grow and some years we have had an entire glasshouse filled with 44 chilli plants of various sorts. This year I have been a bit more restrained with only 20 plants. These were raised in heated propagators, which we turned off a couple of weeks ago, but left the plants in place. This week they were in perfect condition for moving into their final pots. The plants were looking healthy and their pots were filled with fine roots but not yet pot bound. Continue reading

Planting out: beans and tomatoes

After a little less than two weeks, our first sowing of French beans had developed into robust plants ready for planting out. It is probably a month or so too early to plant these tender crops outdoors, even here in our sheltered southerly locale. It is, though, a good time to plant in the polytunnel, where they are well protected and will crop weeks ahead of those to be planted outdoors later in the season. We have both dwarf and climbing sorts, the latter planted against a series of vertical bamboo canes. The dwarfs will crop first but the climbing sorts will produce the larger crop over a longer period. Thus, planting both sorts serves to spread the harvest. Continue reading

Sowing this week

This week we finished planting the first of our outdoor potato beds, laying out 18 tubers of second early Wilja. This is, for us, a fairly modern variety, bred in Holland in the 1970s. It crops and stores well and can be treated as an early main crop. Mid way between floury and waxy, Wilja is a versatile potato and a good choice if growing only one sort. We had already prepared the bed for the first earlies that went in a few weeks ago, so it was just a matter of digging holes with the trowel, dropping in the tubers, and covering over. We also took the last of the seed potatoes, which we had stored in the fridge to retard them, and put them to chit; these will go in the second potato bed in a few weeks’ time. Continue reading