Growing Vegetables

Apart from the obvious reason of saving quite a considerable amount of money by growing vegetables, the delicious flavour of the freshly gathered produce compares very favourably with anything bought from the local shop. A few hours spent each week making sowings, tending the growing plants and finally harvesting, can, in a relatively small plot of ground, supply the household with a surprising quantity of vegetables.

The plot of ground chosen for the vegetable garden should be well dug over and all the weeds removed. Plenty of compost added at the time of digging will increase the food content and if the soil is particularly heavy it should be left roughly finished and a quantity of lime sprinkled on the surface to weather the winter. In the early spring it can be broken down more easily and finally raked level for the arrival of plants already on the way in the seed bed or for the seed planting to begin.

Remember that each year the various crops should be interchanged in their growing positions. This will help to keep the soil in good general condition and discourage pests and diseases that attack specific plants.

Asparagus

Although considered to be a luxury vegetable and often said to be difficult to grow, asparagus is worth cultivating in a well prepared bed which should be chosen carefully as it will be a permanent home. In the autumn dig the soil about a foot deep and mix in a bucketful of compost to each square yard. In the following March the previously ordered two year old crowns will be delivered and they should be well soaked in water for a day and then covered with sacks to await planting.

The crowns may then be planted six inches deep and 2-1/2 ft. apart. When covered with soil they should be left undisturbed. When the plants are three years old cutting can begin and during this season the earth around each crown should be piled up to encourage good long spikes to grow up. These can be cut off below the surface but not so low as to damage the crown. Cutting must finish by mid-June and the plants allowed to grow up into ferns which can then be cut down to ground level in the late autumn. Keep the ground weed free and water during during dry periods. Each March a quantity of fish fertilizer should be used as a top dressing.

Varieties:

Connover’s Colossal Purple Argenteuil Telra.

Broad Beans

For an early supply, the beans may be sown in boxes in the greenhouse during December for transplanting in the following March. Although it is possible to sow in open ground earlier in sheltered places the main sowing is best made from February to April. Each bean should be planted 2” deep in a double row 6” apart and not less than 3 ft. between each double row. When the plants have begun to flower pinch out the growing top which will allow the beans to fill out and crop early, at the same time discouraging black fly which are more likely to attack this part of the plant. If however black fly still persist spray with liquid derris.

Varieties:

Masterpiece

Giant Seville

Broad Windsor

Dwarf french beans

These beans should be sown in late April or early May in drills 6” apart to a depth of 2” deep. The drills should be 2 ft. apart. When the plants have begun to grow up thin them down to 1 ft. apart and push some twigs in around them to support them during the summer. A further sowing can be made three or four weeks later to keep the supply going for a longer period. If a very early June crop is required, beans can be planted exactly as above in mid-March and kept covered with glass cloches until the middle of May.

Varieties:

The Prince

Masterpiece

Duplex.

Runner Beans

For any early supply Runner Beans may be planted in boxes in the greenhouse during early April and transplanted in May. For general planting outdoors however it would be inadvisable to sow seed before mid-May. The seeds should be set 2” deep and 6” apart in either a single row or in a double row allowing at least 9” between the double row.

As soon as the plant has begun to produce its second pair of leaves, each alternate plant should be removed and suitable supports for the plants built. The method of staking beans is shown in the following drawings, and when the plants have reached the top of the stakes the growing tip should be pinched out.

As soon as the beans are large enough for use they should be picked and used at once to allow the plants to continue the supply. The plants should be well watered during dry spells in the weather.

Varieties:

Streamline

Scarlet Emperor

Prizewinner

Beetroots

To maintain a regular supply of beetroots during the summer and autumn, a sowing needs to be made each month, beginning in the middle of April. The seeds should be sown every three or four inches apart in a shallow drill. Thinning will be necessary when the beetroots are growing and this should be done along with weeding carefully so that no damage is done to the roots causing bleeding.

Varieties:

Early Model Red Globe

Cheltenham Green Top

Early Wonder

Broccoli

According to the variety of broccoli seeds planted a continuous supply can be available for most of the year. Choose one variety from the autumn yielding types and plant in drills in the seed-bed at the end of April. These can be transplanted into their permanent home during July. Every two weeks the following season’s seed can be planted in the seed-bed ie. winter yielding- sown mid-May and finally spring yielding sown at the end of May. The young plants should all have been planted out by mid-summer, 2 ft. between the plants in rows 2-1/2 ft. apart.

Varieties:

Autumn — Roscoff Extra Early | Veitch’s Self-Protecting.

Winter — Snow’s Winter White | Early Fellham.

Spring — Early March | St. George | Leamington.

Brussels Sprouts

As with most green vegetables, the seeds should be planted in shallow drills in the seed-bed during March and transplanted into the vegetable garden late in May, allowing 3 ft. between each plant. The young plants must be well watered after planting and from time to time the soil between the rows lightly hoed. When harvesting Brussels Sprouts, begin picking at the bottom of the stem and work gradually up the plant as the sprouts become ready.

Varieties:

Wroxton | Cambridge No. 1 | Cambridge No. 3 | Rous Lench.

Cabbages

As already mentioned for Broccoli, depending on the variety of seed and when planted, it is possible to have cabbage available for most of the year. For this reason the list has been divided into three sections. All varieties are planted as seeds in the seed-bed in drills :]” deep and at the given time carefully transplanted into rows allowing 2 ft. between the plants. In the case of spring cabbage these can be planted with only 1 ft. allowed between plants. A dressing of Sulphate of Ammonia applied in the spring will help enormously with the growing of cabbages.

Varieties:

Spring Cabbages July sown—ready spring: Harbinger | Early Durham |Wheeler’s Imperial

Summer and Autumn Cabbages March sown—ready summer: Greyhound | Primo.

Winter Cabbages April sown—ready November to February: January King | Christmas Drumhead.

Carrots

A succession of carrots can be maintained if a sowing is made during March in drills 12” apart and the seed sprinkled evenly but lightly and covered with soil to a depth of 3/4”. Monthly sowings should continue to be made until the end of July. Thinning can be attended to when the first recognisable carrot leaves begin to grow and again later during the growing period until finally the young carrots are growing about 5” apart.

Carrots left at the end of the season may be lifted and after the tops have been twisted off can be stored quite successfully in boxes of sand in a shed or other suitable place.

Varieties:

Amsterdam Forcing | Early Horn | James’ Scarlet Intermediate.

Cauliflowers

If it is possible to sow the seeds of cauliflowers under glass they can be sown in January for planting out during April. Plants however grown from the start in the seed-bed will have to be sown during March and will probably not be ready for transplanting before early July. Cauliflowers are more successful if planted in deeply dug soil which has been well manured, and at transplanting time spaced no closer than 2 ft. between the plants.

Varieties:

January sown: White King

Outdoor sowing: Early Veitch’s Autumn Giant | Veitch’s Self-Protecting

Celery

Celery seed may be sown in boxes in the greenhouse during February or early April under cloches in the seed-bed. If celery planting has been anticipated a trench should have been prepared during the winter. This trench, 18” wide and 18” deep with the soil ridged equally along each side has a 6” layer of manure in the bottom followed by a 6” layer of good soil into which the young celery plants will be transplanted 1 ft. apart during June.

When the whole trench has been planted it must be well watered and this followed by a light dressing of garden fertilizer. When the plants have grown to 12” the soil from each side ridge may be piled against the stems, completely covering them up to their leaves. This process is known as “earthing up”. A careful watch should be kept on the growing plants and any exposed stems re-covered with soil, otherwise they will not be white. If before earthing up a piece of raffia is tied round the plant just under the leaves this will avoid soil falling into the centre of the plants.

Varieties:

Dobies’ Prizetaker White | Solid White.

Leeks

The culture of leeks in many ways resembles that of celery. Seed may be sown in the seed-bed during March for later transplanting into a well manured trench 5” apart. Water these young plants freely and as soon as enough progress has been made in their growth begin to earth up the soil against them to keep them white. This earthing up should continue until October. Many people have a preference for leeks to be grown in flat ground and in this case it would be advisable to tie a paper collar around each plant as growing continues to exclude the light from the stem.

Varieties:

Lyon | Marble Pillar | Musselburgh.

Lettuces

Frequent sowings of lettuce seed will provide a useful supply of plants for use during the spring and summer salad season. To get early spring supplies an autumn sown variety should be chosen and planted in a warm border early in September, thinning or transplanting them when they are growing to allow 1 ft. between each plant.

For the summer supply sow a few seeds every fortnight beginning in March and continuing until July. These again are thinned out allowing 1 ft. distance between plants.

Varieties:

Autumn sowing: Arctic King | Winter Density.

Spring sowing: Iceberg | All The Year Round | Great Lakes.

Marrows

Two or three good marrow plants will supply the average household with an ample supply of marrow provided that they are cut and used regularly giving the plants a chance to continue cropping.

There are two types of marrow plant, the trailing type and the bush variety, the latter being more suitable when space is limited.

During April dig out holes 18” square and 15” deep into which tread a 6” layer of well rotted compost, replacing the soil afterwards to make a mound. Plant the tops of these mounds with 2 or 3 seeds so that a choice can be made of the strongest seedling. Only one plant must be grown on each mound, and a distance of 4 ft. in the case of bush marrows and 6 ft. for trailing varieties left between the plants. When the leading shoot of a trailing marrow has reached 18” it should be pinched out to encourage side growth to expand on which the flowers will form. At all times during the growing period marrows must be watered copiously.

Varieties:

Bush: Bush While | Bush Green.

Trailing: Long White Trailing | Long Green Trailing.

Onions

Onion seed may be planted in drills 12” apart during March and April in well dug soil. When the onions have begun to grow they can be thinned down to approximately every three inches and finally to about 6” apart. An autumn sowing of a suitable variety made in the same way will provide onions for use during the following summer.

Another highly successful way of growing onions is to buy “onion sets”. These are small onions obtainable from most growers which are buried so that only the tip is showing and spaced out at about 6” apart. Onion sets should be bought and planted during March or April.

Seed varieties:

Spring planting: Bedfordshire Champion | James Keeping.

Spring and Autumn planting: Ailsa Craig.

Parsnips

Sow seed thickly in shallow drills taken out with the hoe, allowing 16” between each drill. Sowing should take place either in late February or early March as the growing rate of parsnips is slow. When the young plants have reached a height of two or three inches, thin them out to 6” apart and hoe between the rows.

Varieties:

The Student | Hollow Crown.

Peas

For a steady supply of peas, seed sowing begins in early March and continues every 3 or 4 weeks until June. They may be sown in 8” wide drills at a depth of three inches. Two or three rows of peas can be planted along each drill provided that about 3” is allowed between each seed. The drills are finally refilled by raking the soil onto the seeds and pressing firm. As soon as the young plants have grown their second leaves a row of twiggy sticks pushed in along each side of the peas will support them.

When the pods are ready they should be picked regularly to encourage further supplies.

Varieties:

Pilot | Little Marvel | Kelvedon Wonder.

Potatoes

Many gardeners tend to feel that potatoes as a home grown crop are not worth the trouble involved. However, there can be little doubt that, as with all vegetables, the flavour of home grown crops and the advantages of being able to have fresh supplies certainly makes it worth while to plant a part of the garden with early potatoes at least and, in my view, a good planting as a main crop also.

Late in January or early February when the seed potatoes have been purchased, they may be placed in trays on end and with most eyes uppermost and kept in a frost free place where they will begin to shoot.

At the end of March or the beginning of April planting may begin and the time delay between the sowings kept fairly close as main crop potatoes need longer time to grow and mature. Plantings of early varieties can be made in drills 2 ft. apart, taken out with a draw hoe to a depth of 5 inches and placed at a distance apart of about 1 ft. Main crops take up more room and can be set out at li ft. between the potatoes in drills 2£ ft. apart. When each row of potatoes has been placed into drills they should be filled in with soil.

As the plants grow up the rows should be earthed up on each side to make a long ridge. This can be done easily with the draw hoe. Earthing up potatoes is necessary as the yield is always greater if this has been done regularly.

Potatoes are an ideal crop to grow on soil which has become heavy through lack of use. It will improve enormously in one season.

Varieties:

Early: Arran Pilot | Home Guard.

Main Crop: Arran Chief|I King Edward VII.

Radishes

Soil on which radishes are to be grown should have been well dug over and had some compost mixed in. They may be sown cither in shallow drills or sprinkled thinly in a square patch which may be kept for this purpose. After seeding, some light soil can be sifted over the area and patted down to give a relatively firm surface.

Ample water must be given during the growing period as radishes must be grown quickly if they are not to be coarse and woody.

Varieties:

French Breakfast | Icicle.

Shallots

Shallots are best grown from “sets” which can be bought by the pound from any garden shop. These are pushed into forked over soil so that they are half covered, in rows allowing 1 ft. between each and 6” between the bulbs. Very early in February is ideal for the planting time and subsequently they should be checked in a couple of weeks to see that bulbs which have worked out of the soil can be replaced.

When the shallots are fully grown and the top growth has turned yellow, the bulbs should be lifted with the aid of a garden fork and left on the top of the soil for about a week. Following this they may be spread along the greenhouse shelves or other suitable dry places in the sun to ripen. They may then be used either for pickling or as alternatives to onions in cooking.

Varieties:

Dobies’ Lorig Keeping Yellow.

Spinach

The first sowing of spinach can be made in a sheltered position at the beginning of March and then successive sowings made every three weeks if a regular supply is to be maintained.

Seeds should be sown thinly along drills 12” apart. As growth increases the spinach may be thinned out to an eventual distance of 12” apart.

Varieties:

Early planting for summer use: Reliance | King of Denmark. Autumn planting for winter use: Giant Prickly.

Turnips

Turnip seeds may be sown in shallow drills taken out with the draw hoe 18” apart in early April and followed each month by a further sowing for a constant supply. Late varieties which will be ready and ideal for storing must be sown at the end of July. The soil may be given an application of a good general fertilizer to ensure a good healthy crop.

As the turnips continue growing thin them out from time to time to a final distance of 12” apart. Early turnips, like most other vegetables, are better when picked young, and when harvesting later varieties for storing, the tops should be twisted off and the turnips placed in boxes containing sand for keeping in a frost free place.

Varieties:

Early planting for summer use: Early Milan. July planting for winter storage: Manchester Market | Golden Ball.

26. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Growing Vegetables

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