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June Edition: Grow your Christmas dinner

Written by Nicola Wallis

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Posted on 30 May 2022

Another month has passed us by.  The worst of the weather and last frost should have, hopefully, been and gone. Temperatures and daylight hours increase this month meaning lots of our Christmas vegetables, sown or grown back in April and May, are now ready to be transplanted into the garden.  Before this happens the soil needs to be well prepared.

Harden off Brussels Sprouts

Sprouts started in a seed bed should be coming on well. When they’re around 15cm tall, it is time for them to be hardened off and then planted out to their final position.

Plant with 65cm space between plants and with the lowest leaves touching the soil. Sprouts like compacted soil so walk around the planted area and then water in the plants well. Continue to water every fortnight and more regularly in hot and dry weather.

The main threat to your crop of sprouts is Cabbage Root Fly.  Keep flies out by covering your crops with fine mesh. Giant Easy Tunnels are ideal as they have the height to accommodate the growing plants. Also check periodically for small yellow eggs of the Cabbage White Butterfly on the underside of the leaves. Remove them by brushing them off. Cover the seedlings with fleece or Micromesh Pest & Wind Barrier to keep out little pests.

Transplanting Leeks

When leeks reach a 15cm they too can be transplanted out this month. Again, make sure you have hardened these off first by leaving outside for increased periods of time first.

Choose a final planting position which is open and sunny with well-prepared soil which has been mixed with quality organic matter.

Leeks need to be planted 15 to 20 cm apart, 30cm between rows and at a depth of around 15cm. A bamboo dibber is the easiest and most efficient way to make a hole for each plant.

Carefully remove your leeks from their Rootrainers which, will have helped them establish a long and strong root system, and carefully separate them from each other.

Puddling Leeks

Each leek needs to touch the bottom of the hole before being filled with water and not soil.

This is known as ‘puddling’ and can reduce the amount of cleaning required when preparing to eat.  The soil will gradually fill back in of its’ own accord, whilst leaving sufficient space for the stems to swell and grow.

Swedes

Keep the soil weed free and moist around your swede patch which should be staring to come on a bit more now. Dryness around the roots can cause a bitter and slightly unpleasant taste.

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