Planting out the brassicas

The brassicas we sowed and pricked out a few weeks ago are now ready to plant out. We had a few cauliflowers and one broccoli plant to plant out.

Dad gave us a bit of his vegetable patch to plant them out in as they need a fair bit of space to grow properly. We have tried them in 30 litre pots before (with some success), but they are definitely better if they can get their roots in the soil.

First things first, we had to dig over the soil which had already been used once this year!

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Then, before planting out, we soaked each plant in a solution of maxicrop seaweed. We find that this gives them a little bit of a boost as they start to get established in the soil.

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We then planted the plants out, around a foot apart. Making sure to firm the plants in so that their roots can get away into the soil as quickly as possible.

The plants were then watered in thoroughly to settle the soil around the plants.

Unfortunately, some of the wildlife in the garden is not as beneficial as you’d like it to be. Therefore, we always have to cover the brassicas to protect them from pigeons and rabbits! We therefore built a corral out of pieces of wood and then covered the plants with some netting.

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A quick July update

Now the weather is warm and the days are long, everything grows surprisingly quickly. Here are a few photos of how our various crops are getting on.

The second sowing of radishes are starting to swell, so it won’t be long before we’re eating these! The beetroot are also getting almost big enough to eat – we can’t wait!

The cucamelons have already grown beyond the short canes we gave them in order to reach the main climbing trellis. I love their tendrils which keep them attached so securely to it! The courgettes are also producing lots of fruits now. I would say on average, one courgette every 2-3 days.

The cucumber plant is also growing steadily and was tied up to its batten for the first time at the weekend. You can see that the compost is not kept too wet around the cucumbers, as we find that their stems can often rot off where this is the case.

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The brassicas are also growing on nicely after we pricked them out last weekend. These will remain in the same pots until they’re planted out, so just need to be watered until then and monitored to make sure not pests decide to land!

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Next steps with the brassicas

The cauliflower and broccoli seeds we planted last week are now ready to be pricked out. We prick brassica plants out into 3″ square pots where they will stay until they are planted out in the garden in a few weeks’ time.

The 3″ pots are filled with multipurpose compost, firming this down gently before watering to moisten the compost before transplanting.

The seedlings should be carefully extracted from the 1/4 seed tray by their leaves. It is important not to touch the stems of the seedlings, as this can damage the plant and stunt growth (if not worse!) The compost in the 1/4 seed tray should gently be eased to ensure the whole of the seedling’s root remains intact.

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The seedling should then be placed in a pre-made hole in the 3″ pot made with your finger or a dipper and then firmed in to ensure there are no air gaps in the compost around the seedling’s roots.

This process is repeated until all the seedlings are pricked out.

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Once pricked out, the seedlings should be watered again to settle the compost and then kept in a protected place to enable them to grow and harden off before planting out.

Sowing brassicas

We helped sow some brassicas today: cauliflowers and calabrese. Like with most things, we sow our brassicas and grow them on in pots before planting out to give them the best chance.

Firstly, we filled 1/4 seed trays with Levingtons Seed and Modular compost and dampened the compost with a fine rose watering can. We then gently firmed down the compost with a piece of wood.

 

Next, the seeds were placed on the compost, gently pressed into the surface and then covered with vermiculite. Once ready, they were covered with a sheet of glass and a piece of newspaper to obscure the light, and keep the seeds warm as they germinate.

 

We always make sure to label the varieties we are growing using white plant labels. These labels stay with the plants all the way through until they’re planted out, to ensure the different varieties don’t get mixed up and you can track which ones grow better/worse for you! It also helps you to work out timings for particular varieties so that you can try and time your growing to get a succession of vegetables to eat throughout the season.

The white plant labels also come in handy for moving seeds around in the seed tray. Here, I’m using the plant label to evenly space the seeds out in the seed tray to make it easier when you come to pricking the seedlings out in a week or so.

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