Blackcurrants, Garlic and Lettuces
This week in the Kitchen Garden we will be pruning our blackcurrant bushes; the plants are now beginning to shed their leaves and showing signs of dormancy so it is an ideal time to give them their annual haircut. The new growth from this year will bear next year’s fruit so we will leave the new stems and remove some of the older ones. Normally the rule when pruning blackcurrants, is to cut out about a third of the old wood down to the ground, removing any weak stems, crossing branches and branches growing along the ground. The plants will then be given a good mulch with compost from our compost bin to see them through the winter.
We have been busy planting out the garlic, as they do like a cold, dormant period to flourish. This is one of our favourite crops and this year we are growing Vallelado and purple Extra Early Wight. We have planted them in the manger planters this year and enriched the soil with some more homemade compost to add nutrients. We will cover the crop with a layer of fleece until the cloves have rooted to prevent the birds from lifting them out of the ground. The crop will be kept weed free and in February we will apply a sulphate of potash to try and prevent rust from taking hold. Rust has been a problem for us in past years and we are keen to prevent it occurring again.
Last week we sowed two varieties of winter lettuce in seed trays in the greenhouse and placed them in the propagator. One tray is bursting into life already; Valdor which produces large green heads and is a popular winter choice for greenhouses and the other Rouge d’Hiver is taking things a bit slower. We have now turned the greenhouse heater on as the nights have started to become cooler so that should help things along and hopefully there will be fresh lettuces at Christmas.