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Growing and harvesting - What I'm watching with the lottie cat

Just a selection of useful guides I've been watching in my shed in the rain.

  • Successional sowing with Liz Zorab

  • Top tips for growing tomatoes from Grow Veg

  • How to grow strawberries with the Allotment Kitchen and Garden (with a bonus video - what flowers to sow in June)

  • And a selection of quick videos from Charles Dowding about how to know when to harvest garlic, carrots and beetroot.

Some call her Tiggy, some call him Leo. I just know when it's raining me and the lottie cat scooch up and watch gardening vids. Don't think the cat is particularly interested in content but indulges me providing they have the best seat!

A quick guide here to successional growing. For people new to it this means having plants ready grown (or seeds) to either go in to replace a crop that is coming out or putting in the ground whilst the main harvest crop is cropping. What appeals to me is there is no strict planting plan, and no crop rotation. Because Liz uses a policulture approach (mixing the plants up) then crops are bringing their nutrients all at the same time in the same bed. Another benefit is they bring different predators and pests. And hopefully by not having all your eggs in one basket then less easy for pests to find their favourite food.

What I'm going to try is doing her 3 crops over time method for sowing radish (very quick), carrots (medium) and parsnips in close rows. This means you get two crops out of the same bed before the parsnips are ready. Another thing I noticed was paying attention to how big the longest crops are going to be when thinking about planting out. I also recognised stressed cabbages as I've had some crops I've sown but not got out as quickly as they needed.

Top tips for tomatoes from Ben from Grow Veg. My takeaways from his really helpful video was to remover leaves up to the first truss of tomatoes to avoid splashing with water which can lead to problems. For outdoor tomatoes pinch out after 4 trusses have formed (which is new to me). Also for outdoor plants using grass as a mulch. I have rich home made compost in the pollytunnel so I don't need to feed as much as I have been doing - he recommends a comfrey tea (which I made a month ago) and just feeding every two weeks. And not to over-water. This is so fruits don't overfill with water and have more flavour. Top tip on seeing if it needs watering - stick finger in soil, if damp down to the first knuckle ok of dry need to water.

New to growing strawberries? Top tips from The Allotment Garden and Kitchen. I learned lots here. To tidy strawberries up in the spring and actually moving the new runners to another part of the allotment. As Steve says this is because strawberry plants become less productive after 3 years and I hadn't realised how useful it is to know which strawberry plants were planted when. Another couple of takeaways that I got was to water regularly - good soak better than a sprinkle, and recognising in warm weather the surface shallow roots will dry out quickly and to take off the runners in the fruiting season and not allow the plant to over extend itself and just concentrate on producing fruit. After the fruiting season then leaving the plants to grow new plants from runners for moving in the following spring. Another mistake I realised I'm making is using butterfly netting which does not allow the pollinators in rather than what I should be using is bird netting which does allow them in.

Steve is a traditional allotmenteer and a digger. For me I'll move new runners (next year now) to another part of my polyculture allotment - I noticed Liz Zorab in another video was planning on moving hers near to her asparagus. Strawberries have shallow roots and are low growing, asparagus has deep roots (up to 2 meters) and very frondy tall growth in the summer so they won't be competing for light or nutrients.

I realise I don't really look at what flowers to sow so here is a bonus video from Steve on flowers that we can sow now.

I've noticed Charles Dowding dong some new super quick (and really helpful top tips for when to harvest for fellow newbies like me. Click on the links for the videos.

Links to the channels:

Happy lottie plotting and planting people.


Auntie G


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