Pea Frames, Windproof Broccoli + Garlic Prep

pea frameFor climbing crops like peas, sno peas, beans and indeterminate tomatoes, it’s all about the frame.

Those of you who’ve been with me a while will be familiar with my love of reinforcing mesh – the best all round garden frame ever! Easy to store when not in use, easy to put up and take down, and long-lasting.

My go to pea frame is 2 sheets of mesh, leaning together teepee style. The trick is that slight slope. Peas seem to be happier this way, and it makes sense to me – going up is always easier on a gradient.

String has been the my only successful straight up and down pea frame. Maybe it’s grippier? This I don’t know – I’m not a pea. I have however spent alot of time attempting to wind them round many types of frame. Compared to trusty, 2 second construction mesh, complicated string frames don’t get a look in around here.

Garlic Prep – Rust On My Mind

Is there too much garlic talk about town at the moment? I hope not! Cause here I go again…

Rust has stirred me up. For 20 years I’ve been growing the same garlic, harvesting amazing bulbs year after year. Two years ago rust came along and blew my cosy rhythm. What a learning curve! Trail + error, screes of reading and discussions with wise gardeners has bought me here.

  • Plant April/ May. Rust hits mid spring so planting now ensures your bulbs are fat and sassy by then.
  • Crop rotation is super important. Keep alliums off the same spot for as many years as you can muster. I usually manage a 3 or 4 year gap.
  • Aerated soil is important (forksta!) for big resilient roots.

time to harvest

 

  • As is making ridges to grow in should you be on heavy impenetrable clay especially if your garden is squelchy in spring. Garlic needs to be up, out of the heavy stuff. I have to say, in this situation I’d grow my garlic in containers.

My Bed Prep Looks Like This

  • A midsummer sown lupin greencrop kicks things off. Chop it down early May, and add homemade compost + well rotten manure + lime flour. Give the bed a watering with EM and/or seaweed. Mulch it with the chopped down lupin and leave it to settle for a few days.
  • Soak the bulbs in liquid seaweed pre planting.
  • Plant at generous 20cm spacings, which is half as much garlic per bed as I’m used to (grumble grumble), but I’m doing my best to roll with it.

And that my friends is that. Your best shot at growing a beaudacious garlic crop.

A Variety of Varieties

Variety plays a big part here. If you can, grow a mix of varieties to make up for seasonal preferences.  Kakanui and Spanish Red were less rusted last year in my garden than Printanor. I’ve heard good things about hardneck garlics re rust resilience and though they don’t have the long storage of the softnecks the flavour is banging. Extend the harvest with one of the early garlics (although get them now! today! they need to be planted).

Check out Setha’s seeds. She has a slightly different style to me (same same but different) and has early garlic bulbs for sale.

3 Ways To Windproof Your Broccoli

I was at Fiona’s the other day for a consult (I’ll never forget that outside bath with a harbour view), and she was joking about having to stake her broccoli. You’re not the only one Fiona! Such top-heavy, lanky plants – broccoli are sitting ducks for blowing over. Here are my how-to-windproof-your-broccoli tips.

Whatever style you choose, start well by planting your seedlings right up to the first set of leaves.

Broccoli seedlings

  1. Dig a trench and plant your broccoli seedlings in the bottom of it, as if you were growing leeks. As the stalk grows, fill in the trench so that by time the broccoli has reached ground level its solid as.
  2. Pile up mulch/ soil around the stalk as they grow. The bonus of this is there’s no digging, but you do need a massive mulch collection.
  3. Push the broccoli over when it’s about 30cm so it’s laying on the ground. Cover the stalk with soil and mulch. Give it a few days and the leaves will turn right way up as they seek the light. The stalk will put out new roots along its length – look at them all in the pic below. I’ll cover that wonderfully robust stocky stalk up to the leaves et voila! Windproof broccoli 🙂

sideways broccoli

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hi Kath. How long would you leave the bulbs in the liquid seaweed before planting?

    Thanks,
    Zoe