Friday, January 10, 2014

Where there's brass(icas) there are wood pigeons!

This year our brassicas have produced a mixed harvest.

It started off badly as we made the mistake of removing the netting from the overwintering greens. The year before snow had gathered on the netting which had been weighed down and flattened the plants so the netting was removed to avoid a repeat performance. One of the disadvantages of growing on a plot at a distance from home is that we can't react to the weather in the same way as we would be able to if our vegetable patch was in the garden. Anyway the result of removing the net was that the wood pigeons had a field day resulting in no sprouting broccoli or spring greens.

We did manage the odd early cauliflower that had escaped the pigeons.

This year we were resolved to leave the netting in place and some good looking plants were set out.They were growing well until ...... they just started to keel over. This time it was club-root that thwarted us. It seems some of our beds are affected with club root and others maybe not so it looks as though we will have to map out which beds we need to avoid planting brassicas in. No spring greens for us again this year.

Until a couple of years or so ago Brussels sprouts were no problem and then somehow we started to be affected by club root. Whether this was a result of occasionally buying in brassica plants we don't know but the effect was to render us sproutless until we came across a club-root resistant variety called Crispus. Now sprouts are back on the menu.We also planted a variety of club root resistant cauliflowers - Clapton which gave us a few small cauliflowers in August and October.I think the weather this year affected the size of the curds.

Cabbages have done really well producing some monsters,. We are hoping these will last through winter.Some red cabbage has already been braised and added to the freezer and more is to follow shortly.So for next year we will be growing more or less the same varieties of brassicas as last year. Our choices are:

Cauliflower - (club root resistant) and (quick to mature so we will see if it produces before succumbing to club root).

Brussels Sprouts - which is the only club root resistant variety we have found

Broccoli and Calabrese - we have some seeds of Purple Sprouting and will try Calabrese - . We hope it will live up to its name! We may also add another variety at some stage.

Cabbage - (autumn)(spring), (red) and Wintesse (Savoy). All except are regulars. The new (to us) variety islate maturing and harvested February to April.

Martyn spotted another club root resistant cauliflower - on the Unwins website so we may try that too.

We will be making a special effort to try and overcome our club root problem. One strategy will be to identify beds that haven't previously housed brassicas. We are also going to try growing the plants on to a larger size before planting out and it has also been suggested that we should dig out a planting hole and fill with compost before planting.

There used to be a product that you could dip brassica roots in before planting which was fairly effective at controlling club root but this is no longer available. Anyone any other methods that they have found works?

Just as an aside our wallflowers (also members of the brassica family) are growing well other than the few that I planted in the bed where we grow blueberries. The acidity level had been increased in this bed to suit the blueberries but being acid hating wallflowers don't like it! I should have known better.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author by S Garrett
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