September 18 easier watering no dig, plant and sow now, interplant, sweet pepper success
September looks dry for much of the UK: no dig means easier watering, see below. There are still plantings for outdoor veg and sowings for veg under cover.
August gave welcome rain at times, 85mm/3.4in here which is about average, while temperatures were a degree warmer than usual. There is still a large moisture deficit in the soil.
We did a watering test of dig and no dig soil. My word such a difference, so much better water reception by no dig soil. I did it again on the weekend course and everyone was amazed by the difference, from 12l can on each bed.
It’s now worth watering celeriac to help it swell: like celery it’s roots are near the surface. Also autumn salads, spinach, perhaps kale depending on soil condition.
New plantings/sowings outdoors are nearly finished
There is still time just for planting salad rocket, mustards, spinach, perhaps Chinese cabbage and pak choi. No dig makes this very quick: few weeds, no ground preparation, just dib holes and pop them in.
Also now, sow spring onion, spring cabbage.
- Then next week salads to grow under cover such as lettuce (Grenoble Red is my preferred), spinach, land cress, chard, endive.
- And the following week even up to 20th September, salad rocket, mustards and any other brassicas you fancy.
If you can find space between current crops, pop in new plantings. We are converting current lettuce beds to autumn salads, the photos show it.
Or, clear then plant
I ran out of room for new plantings of spinach and considered deleafing Kuri squash that were close to point of harvest, with drying necks and hard, coloured skin. Josh started cutting off leaves, then it was clear that almost all the Kuri squash could be harvested, with careful cutting. Now they are curing in the warmth of my conservatory, curing before winter.
- Most winter squash are best left to ripen! This was exceptional because of needing space and because Kuri ripens so early.
Of the three beds’ harvests, the forked bed gave 12.73kg, the no dig bed with same compost gave 16.28kg and the no dig bed with cow manure compost gave 7.56kg. More details here of the Three Strip Trial. The cow manure bed has given excellent harvests of other veg.
Next we planted land cress sown 30th July, and Medania spinach sown 14th August.
Heat loving crops success
The amazing summer means I even have outdoor peppers (impressive enough) now ripening (impressive x 2!) and aubergines on the outdoor warm-bed are actually prolific (impressive x3) and already there was a ripe melon there (off the scale!).
Heat loving crops undercover
In the polytunnel, it has been easier than usual to enjoy coloured sweet peppers, and to have melons ripening with decent sugar content. If they ripen later in the autumn, the flavour may be less sweet and more like cucumber.
This question on my mid August post:
Q As we are getting towards Autumn, what are your thoughts on green manure – and if you would use it – how would you use it/? (Obviously no digging it in in spring).
A Through September I prefer to keep planting veg from spinach, kale, chard, spring onions, spring cabbage, salad rocket & mustard, to chervil, coriander, lambs lettuce and land cress. If you still have bare ground, sow white mustard (Synapsis alba) which is killed by -5C frost, or can be pulled out in February, perhaps hoed off in March.
Photos from 2014.
Tips for aminopyralid
from Nell Baker email 4th August – I have not tried this:
Currently testing a new batch of manure, this time half the manure has been water with yoghurt. One batch was very warm so I am hoping that is also a good sign. In the past have found contaminated stuff does not heat up. One sample was very cold.
It is my experience that a 500 gm pot of yoghurt will decontaminated a 330 ltr compost bin of manure, about 4.5 wheelbarrow loads. Add the yoghurt to water and pour over the pile on a warm morning.
I have some crimson clover seed and am going to trying testing with that, I am hoping the results will be quicker than broadbeans. Crimson clover germinates in two days and is green in a week.