Page 47 - Simply Vegetables Winter 2020/21
P. 47

                                been on trees for a while are still O.K. or
if they need replacing.; this is to prevent
the winter moth climbing up the tree trunk and lay her eggs. Rhubarb can be forced this month if you want an early crop. I have never tried it myself but the way usually given is to cover one or two crowns with an upturned bucket filled with straw or dig up the clumps and replant them in large pots or boxes and cover as before and put them in a greenhouse or somewhere warm.
If you haven’t ordered seed potatoes from a supplier they should be readily available in shops and garden centres. They should be stood in boxes or trays with their “eyes” at the top and stood in a light place. I put mine on a shelf in the greenhouse. This process
is called “chitting”. It is important that you buy those that have been grown especially for planting (called “seed potatoes” ) and not those from the greengrocer.
A job we should keep doing is checking fruit and vegetables in store and removing any that show signs of rotting
Another job I do this month is to wash all my seed trays and plant pots ready for the coming season.
Manure forked into veg beds
You should make every effort this month to finish getting the beds ready for the coming season as I described last month, particularly getting rid of any weeds. If you didn’t dig the trenches for runner beans last month there is still time but do it as soon as you can to allow the soil to settle before planting.
Assuming we have the beds ready what can we sow or plant? I still think it is early for sowing outdoors but you can chance broad beans if you want an early crop. Space the seeds about 9 inches (23cm.) apart and 2
or 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm.) deep. Cover them with cloches if you have any. You can still plant garlic, shallots, rhubarb and fruit trees and bushes if not done before.
There are several seeds you can sow if you have a heated greenhouse preferably with a propagator such as onions and
leeks as I described last month. Tomatoes, peppers and aubergines can be sown the same way. Cucumber seed is much bigger so I prefer to sow them singly in small pots. I use yoghurt pots or drinking cups. Going to the other extreme, celery seed is, in fact, the smallest of all vegetable seeds. These need to be sown on compost as thinly as you can
Spreading manure out on the beds
    Dahlia tubers boxed up
  Garlic planted
and only just cover them with fine compost. When the seedlings are large enough they are pricked out into other trays and spaces out about 2 inches (5 cm.) apart or into cell trays.
Lettuce and beetroot can be sown if you
Sprouting broccoli growing well
want early crops. I sow these in cell trays, three or four in each and thinned to one when they germinate. They don’t need the extra heat of a propagator so I just put them on the staging or on a shelf.
I have not mentioned flowers yet but on
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