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July 2nd Week; Harvesting Garlic, Developing Froglets, Working With Nature, Marbled Whites On Walnut Tree Farm
Posted on 9:28am Monday 6th July 2009
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD WITH DIRTY NAILS JULY, 2ND WEEK
HARVESTING GARLIC: This week Dirty Nails has been digging up his garlic.
Posted on 8:24am Monday 29th June 2009
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD WITH DIRTY NAILS JULY, 1ST WEEK
HARVESTING SHALLOTS: Shallots planted on the shortest day of the year are now ready for harvesting.
Posted on 9:29am Monday 22nd June 2009
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD WITH DIRTY NAILS JUNE, 4TH WEEK
RED CABBAGE: This week Dirty Nails has been sowing Red Drumhead cabbages.
Posted on 11:20am Sunday 14th June 2009
DOWNY MILDEW: Dirty Nails is suffering from an outbreak of downy mildew on his onions.
Posted on 8:06am Monday 8th June 2009
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD WITH DIRTY NAILS JUNE, 2ND WEEK CYLINDRA BEETROOT This week Dirty Nails has been making a final sowing of beetroot. At this time of year, he plumps for cultivating the Cylindra variety. It is a long-rooted beet, rich, deep purple in colour with a strong and distinctly earthy flavour. Beetroot sown now should, all being well, be ready for pulling in the autumn.
Posted on 7:56am Monday 1st June 2009
SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS, WEEDS AND TOMATOES: A few consecutive days of sunshine and showers can prove to be a heady mix in early June.
Posted on 10:17am Monday 25th May 2009
CUCUMBERS: Dirty Nails has planted out his cucumbers this week. They are very sensitive creatures, especially when young.
Posted on 7:30am Monday 18th May 2009
GARDENING WITH DIRTY NAILS MAY, 3RD WEEK SUCCESSION SOWING Sowing seeds is so rewarding and fun at this time of year! Since the beginning of May, Dirty Nails has put down 6 foot (2 metre) rows of beetroot (Boltardy), Spring onion (White Lisbon), carrot (Berlicum and Autumn Giant), Swiss chard, leaf beet, lettuce (Anouk, Little Gem, Great Lakes), and Florence fennel (Romanesque). With two short weeks barely passed everything except the fennel is already showing. In fairness, the fennel only went in a few days ago.
Posted on 9:15am Monday 11th May 2009
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD WITH DIRTY NAILS MAY, 2ND WEEK PLANTING OUT KALE In early March, Dirty Nails sowed kale seeds in pots in the greenhouse. The Pentland Brig and Westland Winter varieties have thrived and were transplanted into bigger pots mid-April. After a spell outside in the protection of a cold-frame, these strong young brassicas have been planted into their final growing positions this week. Their bed needs to be rich and well prepared. Dirty Nails weeds it completely, and firms hard by treading it down with small sideways, back and fore footsteps (the so-called ‘gardeners shuffle’). He then rakes and treads some more. Kale, like cabbages, Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting, needs really firm ground to anchor its roots and likes at least 2 feet (60 cm) between plants. Holes are dug with a trowel deep enough to take the kale up to its first set of leaves and filled with water. After allowing the water to drain, Dirty Nails pops the young plant in. As much growing medium is retained around the roots as possible. He uses his fingers to press soil down around the root ball. Then a boot heel is employed for a careful firming-in, followed by another watering.
Posted on 11:04am Monday 4th May 2009
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD WITH DIRTY NAILS MAY, 1ST WEEK EARTHING-UP SPUDS Both First and Second Early spuds are up and showing, which pleases Dirty Nails. He grows his spuds in trenches with the excavated soil thrown up in ridges running adjacent. At this time in the season, the tops (known as ‘haulms’) sprout at regular intervals from within the trench. His Concorde First Earlies, which were planted in mid-March, are most advanced. They have a rapidly increasing tuft of healthy looking greenery. Dirty Nails has earthed them up twice this week. It is a straightforward procedure which involves almost covering the haulms with fresh soil. This encourages further growth and more underground tuber production in the process. These developing spuds need to be kept free from exposure to light, and earthing-up does this job too. A draw (swan-necked) hoe is used to push and drag mounded soil from either side snugly around the haulms. Earthing-up is an ongoing job as potatoes grow fast, and his Second Early Kestrel spuds will also need it done in the next day or two. Dirty Nails enjoys the look of freshly earthed-up tatties. Over the summer, his potato plot changes shape completely. The ridges and trenches gradually swap places until the entire bed is covered with dense foliage. Weeds are kept in check until then by the regular soil disturbance.