Saturday, July 28, 2012

Get ready for Spring

Early August: Spring is in the air....

A beautiful winters day and a definite hint of spring in the air so time to get moving and shake off the winter lethargy and start sowing and planting for spring eating.

If you haven't done so, now is the time to sow early seed potatoes and peas. If you want them for christmas get them in now. It is still OK to plant garlic but do it soon as it needs a cold start to produce good bulbs.

Sturdy young seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce,onions and leeks can go in in August for spring eating. I have just sowed a range of spring eating veggies into containers (beets, various lettuce, broccoli and chard) and will keep them moist and warm until germinated. I should be able to plant them out into warming spring soil in early September. It is still to early for direct sowing of tender spring veg.

Tomatoes
If you want to raise your own tomato seedlings and you have a warm spot indoors to germinate them you can sow them soon. I use an electric brewing mat and last year they popped up about 5 days after sowing. The tiny seedlings are then pricked out into small pots and kept on a warm sunny window sill or similar spot until warmer weather arrives. They are then put out in the sun during the day and taken in at night to harden off until planting in October.

I am about to make the third of my broad bean sowings hoping for an extended harvest. I sowed the first seeds in April and June. Today I tasted my first of the season broad beans. Not enough to cook but eaten raw a wonderful tatse of spring to come. They grew from the pile of mulched bean straw from last summer and are well ahead of my formal bean sowings .


Fruit Trees
The first week in August is the time for the first of your sprays to prevent leaf curl in peach and nectarine trees. You can use bordeaux or burgundy mixture but more commonly these days a copper sulphate fungicide mixture is available and trees should be sprayed twice, in the first week of August followed by a second spray a little later when the buds of the trees are at the "pink bud stage". Usually around mid August. If it rains soon after spraying try to spray again within a two day dry period.

Brown rot disease in peach, nectarine and apricot trees can be minimised now.  First make sure you cut off any mummified fruit remaining on your trees as well as any gummy looking tips. Rake up all debris from underneath and spray the tree as well as the ground around the tree with copper sulphate solution.