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Kitchen garden calendar week for vegetables and fruit

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The calendar covers the general tasks for the coming week in the Kitchen Garden.

The Kitchen Garden being more than just a Vegetable Garden. It includes

Herbs, Soft Fruits, Cut flowers and Greenhouse. Anything which may

be associated with the Kitchen and the Dining Table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasks for your kitchen vegetable garden in the next few months

 

Top dress overwintered vegetables 

 

When we reach later February and March we can expect the overwintered veg to start putting on some growth. A top dressing of quick acting fertilizer will help to get the plants moving. Crops overwintered either outdoors or in frames include Spring Cabbage, Spring Greens, Winter Cauliflower, Lettuce, Japanese Onions, Spring Onions. 

 

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Space saving Early Potatoes 

Those gardeners in milder areas may plant early Potatoes now. If you are concerned about taking up a lot of space, then there is a space saving method of growing which you may like to try. New potatoes need only 9inches apart, usually this is 9 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart and the rows earthed up to exclude light from the tubers. Instead, do this - plant in a large block with 9 X 9 inches between each seed potatoes. Plant to a depth of 10 to 15 cm.There is no need to earth up, because the dense foliage will exclude light. This method is only really suitable for a one off harvest, as the crop is inpenetrable during growth. You will be surprised how little room plants use with this method and yet the crop from each tuber is the same. http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/howto/organic/crop-guide/veg/potatoes/index.html  

 

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Sow Seeds in Heated Greenhouse 

 

For those gardeners who have bottom heat in the form of a soil warming cable or propagator in their greenhouse, then this week can be a very busy time for sowing. Use the bottom heat to germinate,and then move the seedlings off onto the bench straight away. Get the next lot of seeds in and onto the heat as soon as there is room. Not just vegetable seeds, but cut flowers, annual herbs and also cuttings for rooting. Air temperature should be heated to 10 to 15 degrees C ideally. but even if the air temperature is just kept above freezing alot can be done. Sowing seeds in a cold greenhouse without bottom or air heat is alright for the hardy veg, although germination will be slow. Refer to the crop guide. 

 

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Sow First Pea crop 

 

* Prepare a trench 6 inches wide by 2 inches deep, and sow the seeds about 3 inches apart in 3 rows (stagger them - like the 5 on a dice!). If you are planting trenches side by side, they should be separated by a space equal to the height of the crop. Cover the seeds with soil, and immediately - * String garden twine across and along your pea bead - pigeons love them! * When the plants are about 3 inches high, stick in twigs firmly or a screen of plastic netting to support the growing peas. For shorter plants, twigs are easier to use than netting, but the taller varieties will need a sturdy screen alongside the row. * Keep the weeds under control - by hand if necessary; and water during dry spells, especially as the pods start to fill. * Harvesting - don't let the peas get overlarge in each pod; they should not be touching or squeezing each other. Pick from the bottom of the plant, using one hand to hold the stalkpods get overfull. Making regular pickings before the peas reach full maturity will encourage later pods to fill out. * When the plants are stripped, cut down the stems and compost them. Leave the roots in the ground.

 

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Sow Asparagus seeds 

Asparagus it normally produced from crowns grown in a nursery to save time before the first crop. However its worth sowing some seeds every year to provide replacement plants/ crowns for the following spring. http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/howto/organic/crop-guide/veg/asgaragus/index.html 

 

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Preparing and Sowing Frames 

 

The frames should have been cleared, and the tops (lights) put on some time ago to dry and warm the soil. If the soil has already been forked over it can now be trod and raked to a fine tilth. Apply fertilizer depending on what it is that is being sown. Generally it is High Nitrogen for leaf crops. A balanced feed for root crops and a High Potash feed for veg which comes from the plant flowering ( eg peas and beans). To do things properly a soil test should be carried out and the fertilizer applied according to analysis. If the frames have not yet been forked, then do it as soon as possible, replace the lights and leave a few days to dry and warm up. Then sow the seed. There is a lot of veg that can now be sown. Most salad crops, Peas and Broad Beans, Brassica in seedbeds for later planting out. Onions, leeks, carrots etc. Refer to crop guide for sowing times

 

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Continue Digging 

 

Although it is getting late for digging, it is often the case that Winter digging just isn't possible due to bad weather and soil conditions. Try to finish any remaining digging as soon as possible. Late digging is alright, it just means the Winter frosts do not get the chance to get to work on the clods (as we do not get many winter frosts now anyway, this is probably outdated conventional wisdom, no longer applicable) It does make sense to still dig in winter though, as this spreads the workload and avoids a big rush in Spring. 

 

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Vegetable garden calendar week no.9 - Fourth week in February

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Horse Radish 

 

Late January to Late February is a good time to plant some horse radish roots in your herb garden. 

 

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Make a marrow/ pumpkin growing clamp 

 

Marrows and pumpkins grow are best grown on a pile of organic matter such as well rotted garden compost or manure. This is because in the later stages the pumpkins or marrows need a large amount of available water which the organic matter will help to hold and release as the plant needs it. To build the clamp us some old woodern pallets to create a 200mm box and fill and firm in with your choosen organic mater. Then lightly work in a slow release fertilizer such as bone meal or fish and bone, cover with a layer of 50 mm of general peat free compost then water and cover the clamp with a layer of black plastic sheeting. This will help to activate the clamp and it will start to produce some heat. Planting the marrows or pumkins will take place in about 6 weeks.  

 

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Prepare Cold Frames and Hot Beds 

 

For those gardeners who haven't managed to get their cold frames and hot beds ready due to the bad weather, try to complete the preparation this week. If weather is still bad then leave this for now. There is nothing to be gained by trying to prepare and sow frames during impossible working conditions. Once prepared sowing can take place immediately of suitable early crops. 

 

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Previous calendar Weeks 

 

Refer back to previous calendar weeks and catch up where possible, on any tasks from those weeks. Nothing is urgent yet, but don't get too far behind, or March and April will be a nightmare of catching up. Remember gardening should be a pleasure, not an ordeal. It is so easy to not realize how quickly the weeks are going by. Bad weather this time of year fools us into thinking we have lots of time left, and then suddenly Spring arrives. 

 

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Sow First crop of carrots 

 

Sow first crop of carrots. This can be done in a Cold frame or even better a frame over a hot bed. See link on Hot Beds to find out how to make and sow a Hot Bed.

 

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Sowing Early Crops in Frames and Polytunnels. 

 

Sow Lettuce, Radish, Carrots, Onions, Leeks, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broad Beans and Peas this week in Cold frames, Hot Beds or Polytunnels. See Crop Guides for sowing instructions. 

 

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Very early Potatoes

 

The earliest seed potatoes should be chitted at this time ready for planting out in pots in a cold greenhouse or under fleece at the end of February. To chit them, lay them out in egg trays or seed trays in a cool (frost-free) room, in good light. a north facing widow sill in an unheated room is ideal. 

 

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Winter Digging 

 

For those who haven't yet managed to finish the Winter digging, try to complete it this week, if weather and soil conditions are suitable. If not, wait for now, there is no panic. 

 

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