June, 2nd Week: Cylindra Beetroot, Working From Home, Weekly Jobs To Do (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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June, 2nd Week: Cylindra Beetroot, Working From Home, Weekly Jobs To Do
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.
Dirty Nails rakes the seedbed to a fine tilth and marks out his rows with string tied between two canes. He allows a foot (30 cm) between rows, which gives the beets a chance to grow and swell unhindered. They could assume the proportions of a toilet-roll inner tube if the combination of sunshine and moisture is just right. A drill is made ½ an inch (1½ cm) deep with his finger, and into this Dirty Nails places the knobbly, irregular-shaped seeds at 1 inch (3 cm) intervals. When the seedlings are well up, and it won’t be long, he will thin them to allow 5 inches (13 cm) between plants. These are generally a trouble-free veg to grow, requiring only to be kept moist and weed-free throughout high summer.
Long before the roots are ready, Dirty Nails will be selecting handsome, young, glossy beet leaves for a flavoursome addition to salads, or for light steaming as a hot accompliment with potatoes. The roots are ideal for slicing.
Cylindra stores well for winter use when harvested before the first frost, laid sideways into boxes of dry sand or potting compost and kept cool and dark. Another way to enjoy beetroot out of season is to make it into delicious chutney.
EXTRACTS FROM DIRTY NAILS’ JOURNAL WORKING FROM HOME “This is the summer weather that we have all been waiting for. Hot and high with a gently cooling breeze. Down White Hart Lane, almost opposite, jack-hammers are pounding a new smooth surface to slick over the bumpy hollowed dirt track that, until today, it was. I can hear a lump hammer being worked in a garden a few hedges and fences away. Insects hum and buzz. Jenny Wren stimulates an echoing chorus from somewhere in the undergrowth and crows waft lazy cartwheels in the sea of blue above. Not yet eleven o’clock, I’m taking a breather. Having some time off is proving to be a healing holiday. With a wood pigeon directly overhead in the lime letting rip a gravely, throaty delivery, swifts flashing across the roofs and side-winding above tree tops, starlings sitting atop a chimney chattering and clicking contentedly, this is a million miles from going to work.
“In the greenhouse Tumbler tomatoes flop and loll out of their growing bags, festooned with delicate yellow star-like flowers curling at the ends to greet the sunshine, leaves scooping up like flat-fingered green hands reaching out for a feel as I brush past on my tending, watering, close-inspection rounds. Gardeners Delight are today tied in to canes. Clusters of embryonic buds promising a future worth waiting, and living, for.
“Time ticks relentlessly. Church clock bangs out top-of-the-hour chimes. I must get up from my idling on the greenhouse doorstep, cosied away at the back of the garden with my toms. Pussycat has just announced her sweet presence by tenderly climbing all over me for a rub and tickle, and is considering which shelf will afford the cosiest environs to curl up on. There is much to do apart from gardening: assignments, prep for meetings, articles to think about and other paperwork to knuckle down to. Being off the treadmill and not tied down for a few days gives me the freedom to duck into the shed, do a bit, come out and potter awhile or have a cup of tea and think, then get back to pen and paper. Far from being a chore, everything is a joy done this way. The only problem is that there are not enough hours in the day.” JOBS TO DO In the greenhouse Check over and water crops daily.
Tie tomatoes into supporting canes (not Tumblers).
Liquid feed tomatoes.
On the plot Thin Florence fennel, lettuces and carrots.
Hand weed asparagus bed.
Check brassica plantings for signs of cabbage root fly. These will be pale and limp showing maggot-eaten roots crawling with white grubs. Remove entire cabbage to the fire site.
Earth-up spuds where needed.
Keep paths and edges clean and tidy.
Hand weed here and there.
Tend runner beans by checking supports, providing water direct to the roots and removing all competing weeds.
Keep the hoe busy.
Potter, dream and admire!
Weed thoroughly around globe artichokes and rhubarb.
Sow Cylindra beetroot.
Water brassicas, broad beans, squashes.
Plant out Butternut and other squashes.
A Vegetable Gardener's Year by Dirty Nails (ISBN 9781905862221) is available from www.dirtynails.co.uk and good bookshops rrp £12.99
In this section
- July 2nd Week; Harvesting Garlic, Developing Froglets, Working With Nature, Marbled Whites On Walnut Tree Farm
- July 1st Week: Harvesting Shallots, Potato Blight, Trinity, Jobs To Do This Week
- June, 4th Week: Red Cabbage, Watching A Drowning Bee Recover
- June, 3rd Week: Downy Mildew, A Much Needed Present, Mid-Summer In St James
- June, 1st Week: Sunshine, Showers, Weeds & Tomatoes, Song Thrush
- May 4th Week: Cucumbers, Beans, Feast & Fast, Apples, 'Of the Woods'
- May 3rd Week: Succession Sowing, Bird Watching, Enjoying Pine Walk, Jobs To Do This Week
- May 2nd Week: Planting Out Kale, Looking After Water Boatmen, Christies Lane In May
- May 1st Week: Earthing Up Spuds, Greenhouse Slug Patrol, Tess' Story, Jobs To Do This Week
- April Week 4: