Page 25 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 25

Swedes are much hardier than turnips and this makes them a popular choice of vegetable for growing in colder, more northern regions. Surprisingly, although they are much larger than turnips, they are sweeter tasting and have excellent storage qualities. Swedes need plenty of free air movement around them to grow well. They prefer to be grown in open field conditions rather than in an enclosed environment and require a fertile, moisture retentive soil with a pH of around 6.7.
Swedes are grown from seed. The seed is sown thinly in 12mm/1⁄2 ins deep drills with 45cms/18 ins between the rows. Sow the seed during May in the northern regions and in June for the southern regions. Thin the seedlings
to 30cms/12 ins apart at the first rough leaf stage. Water the rows of seedlings the day before and immediately after thinning to settle the plants. Keep the plants well-watered and occasionally add liquid seaweed. Hoe regularly.
If they are wanted, swedes can be harvested from October onwards. Store
the roots in boxes of damp sand or old used potting compost. In milder regions it is sometimes possible to leave them in the ground until required, but the prevailing winter weather conditions must be taken into consideration if doing this.
Kohlrabi is more drought resistant than swedes and turnips. Green varieties are sown from mid-spring to mid-summer for summer crops; hardier purple varieties are sown from mid-summer for autumn and winter crops.
Create a firm seed bed in any reasonably light, fertile, free draining soil. Sow seeds, 1cm/1⁄2 ins deep in rows 30cm/12 ins apart from late February (under cloches or fleece) to early March, continuing until mid-August in warmer areas. Sow a little and often, say every three weeks, for a constant supply. In cooler areas and where soil is heavy clay, early crops can be sown in modules, hardened off and transplanted when the soil warms up, when they are a maximum of 5cm/2 ins high. Thin out
seedlings when they are 2.5cm/1 ins tall or the first true leaves appear, leaving a final spacing of 15cm/6 ins apart. Keep the soil constantly moist and weed free, watering before the onset of drought.
        All three are members of the brassica family and should be part of the plot rotation system. They also suffer from the same pests and diseases.
Cabbage Root fly – grow under insect-proof mesh or horticultural fleece. Seedlings are most vulnerable.
Flea beetle – is a problem with the young seedlings especially in dry conditions. Water along the rows in the evenings to create a humid atmosphere around the developing seedlings.
Mildew can appear on the leaves towards the end of summer.
Swedes can suffer from Brown Heart, a condition where the core of the plants turn brown and
look ‘glassy’. This is caused because of a boron deficiency in the soil.
Allotment and Leisure Gardener 25

   23   24   25   26   27