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Holidays and watering

Posted By: Paul 24/08/2009 14:12:00

Firstly and apology to everyone for the date errors on last weeks Moon Planting guide.

Firstly and apology to everyone for the date errors on last weeks Moon Planting guide. I took my annual week holiday and wrote the newsletter on Monday morning and due to the magic of web scripts the dates got all confused. As it turned out the newsletter content was not as relevant as I thought it would be. Well at least not for outdoor plants as my seep hose ended up floating away.

As usual the bountiful harvest continues and the weeks break has given the plants and opportunity to apparently grow at twice the speed, and the weeds at four times! So on my return the first job after checking the animals is to visit the allotment. The last thing I did before I left was to harvest courgette's and take them with me, and after only 5 days away I return to find full grown Marrows, nine of them! I swear there was nothing left on the plant larger than a worm when I left, and yet they magically appear in such a short time. Also the Bulb Fennel is now ready for harvesting and some of them are already bolting. The Crown Prince Squashes are spreading out all over the allotment and there are about 40 fruits growing on them now, and the sweet corn is producing cobs.

Back at home the Salad bed continues to do it's thing and the first of the Apple trees is ready for harvesting. Yippee! Cider season is upon us. The apple crops this year are looking good for us, and I attribute this to the 'proper' winter we had rather than the warm and wet ones we have been having. Without the long spell of cold weather Vernalization does is not as strong as it should be and the spring flowers are a bit erratic.

In fact this year the local weather has been almost perfect for apples, and in fact for many of the plants. For example as the spring started and the blossom appeared we had a long dry warm spell which encouraged the setting of the blossom and warmed the soil for the early seeds. This was followed by a short period of rain to get the seeds producing strong roots. Then we had a long spell of hot dry weather (remember that?) where the flowers had a chance to be fertilized and now as the fruit on the apple trees and vegetables are swelling the rain has returned. All-in-all not a bad year so far for me anyway.

Two years ago I made quite a few mistakes with my choice of vegetable varieties, mostly strange or rare varieties. This year by choosing early, over wintering, disease resistant varieties I have got off to a great start, and with Later Summer starting on Saturday, it's time to prepare for the next year. By the way when I refer to 'year' I'm on about the growing year not the calendar year. The growing year starts around late October to Early December depending on the weather. As the harvesting finishes the ground prep starts for the next growing season, and for me that is the start of the year.

One factor I'm going to take into consideration this winter is the sun-spot activity or lack of it, and the potential for a much colder winter than normal. As you know we are in the middle of 'Global Warming' and yet we are having a much colder summer than in recent years. In the USA July has been one of the coldest on record with over 2500 low temperature records broken. As well as the sun-spots being at a low period, the Solar Radiance and the Solar Wind are all at a 50 year low, and as a result we aren't as warm as we have been. Australia has been suffering with a cold winter and Hobart had its coldest April night in 46 years.

So, the evidence is pointing towards the need for some over wintering cloches on my broad beans and onions. As well as some nice wooly jumpers knitted in the dark evenings. I think the forecasted mini Ice-age is a little extreme though!

This weeks jobs are weeding and harvesting, and some cloche making.

Happy Gardening!


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