Weeding out the brassicas

We planted out our cauliflowers and broccoli plants a few weeks back now, but the plants require a little maintenance throughout their growing period. A couple of weeks ago, some weeds had started growing around the base of the plants, so we carefully removed these with an onion hoe. However, this isn’t the best method of weeding (as you don’t remove the weed and, more importantly its roots, from the soil). Therefore, the weeds still come back quite quickly). Nevertheless, it does tidy the bed for a short while.

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When we checked on the plants today, they were almost being overtaken with weeds again. So we set about tidying them back up!

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It didn’t take long – about 20 minutes, and the plants looked so much nicer afterwards. They’ll also be able to enjoy much more of the water we give them now they don’t have to share it with chick weed!

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We also had a lovely surprise – we spied a broccoli head forming! The cauliflowers are still a little way off, but they’re coming along nicely so we hope to give you an update before long!

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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.

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