Kitchen Garden Blog - planting out winter broccoli

Posted in Category Organic Gardening | by Jo | Comments (1)

Insect Mesh Cages 150715This week In Stephanie’s Kitchen Garden we will be planting out some winter broccoli in to new vegetable cages.  We have two identical cages put up side by side.  One is covered with white insect mesh and the other in covered with new black insect mesh.  We are running a trial to see if the plants grow differently according to the colour of the mesh.  We love the look of the new black insect mesh so are keen for it to perform well  We have already started using it elsewhere in the Kitchen Garden and it seems to be going well.

We will also be pinching out the tips of tomato plants in the greenhouse.  Once the plants have set six trusses of tomatoes we take out the growing tip so that the plants can concentrate their energies on growing large, ripe fruits.  Our beefsteak tomatoes are groaning under the weight of the huge fruits, so these will be pinched out with three trusses per plant.  

Our cucumber plants are currently attempting to take over the whole greenhouse.  We will continue tying these in to the roof bars.  This gives them plenty of room to grow and casts dappled shade onto the tomatoes below.  You need a small step ladder to harvest the cucumbers though...

As always we will be continuing to water and feed all our crops.  We have had some heavy rain recently, but it is always best to check the beds.  Last week we harvested some new potatoes after a weekend when two inches of rain fell on the garden, yet the soil they were growing in was still bone dry.  We always make a point of wandering round the whole garden sticking a finger into the soil to test for moisture, no matter what the weather has been like.

This week we will be harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, new potatoes, broccoli, kale, salad leaves, blueberries, tayberries and raspberries.

Meet the Author: Jo Blackwell
Jo  Blackwell

Jo Blackwell is our well-established Horticultural Advisor and the Kitchen Gardener in Stephanie's Victorian style Kitchen Garden. She caught the gardening bug when she bought her first home 21 years ago. Her first greenhouse soon followed and she later gained her own allotment.

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By moira jones8th April 2017

Mrs

I bought an insect mesh cover about 10 years ago and perhaps I don't look after it as I should, but it was looking a bit worse for wear, covered in green algae. So last year I decided to wash it, thinking there was nothing to loose, but much to gain if worked, worse case scenario I would have to buy a new one, a pity as it was not damaged even after so long in continual use over my raised salad bed. I am lucky enough to have a huge Belfast sink in my conservatory, but this would work with any vessel large enough fit your mesh. I filled the sink with the hot water (as hot I could bear on my hands) and added lots of cheap washing up liquid, the water was bright green. I added the mesh and turned it until it was completely wet and emersed, I weighted it down with clean bricks or large pebbles. I then left it for a couple of hours. I did return once to turn it around and agitate it a bit. I think you could leave it for longer, with no detrimental effects (it's only washing up liquid after all). I lifted the mesh clear of the water, it drains away easily, don't rinse it and hang it on the washing line in the garden. Don't worry, the cover will still be green with algae, but here's the magic thing, leave it overnight and you will wake up to a clean clear mesh. I did this last year and it stayed clear until the winter when it became green again. I've just washed it again and once again it's clear. Hope this tip helps other people who buy the mesh covers. I would recommend the mesh to anyone who wants to keep insects off crops but allow rain water to pass through, and this tip allows you the keep them in use for longer.

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