Clive’s Tips for April
- As the soil warms weeds will grow more vigorously. Hoe and hand weed regularly to keep them in check. If you use cloches or fleece to protect your seedlings, check underneath for weeds and slugs!
- If you’ve just taken on a new plot and can’t cultivate all of it, cover the unused ground with cardboard. Soak the cardboard with water and weigh it down with bricks or other heavy objects to stop it from blowing away in the wind. This will stop weeds growing until you have time to dig them out. “Volunteer” potatoes that have grown from previous years should be removed and composted because they carry the risk of spreading disease.
- If you have planted your potatoes already, keep track of the weather forecast, and be prepared to cover any emerging shoots with soil, leaves, grass cuttings or fleece if there is any risk of frost. In any case you will want to earth up potatoes once their stems begin to emerge from the ground.
- Green manure that has overwintered should be dug into the soil three to four weeks before you plan to plant your crops.
- Aphids flourish during warm weather, so check fruit bushes and remove them by hand or by spraying water (not washing up liquid solutions which will harm beneficial insects too). Gooseberry bushes will need to be inspected for gooseberry sawfly caterpillars. They too may be removed by hand, or by shaking the bush. If you pruned your gooseberry bushes during the winter and created an open structure, this will encourage birds to eat the pests.
- Continue to weed and mulch around trees, bushes and canes. A small amount of well-rotted manure, compost or grass cuttings will all be useful. Ensure that the mulch does not make contact with the stems of plants because this may encourage fungal diseases.
Thank you everyone who helped last week to install the extended water system. It was a lovely morning followed by fabulous food. We’ll be running the same type of event next month. Keep your eye on the newsletter for details.
One of the new water-cisterns
Last Wednesday we had a big clean-up
This Sunday: one to one advice
We still have some half-hour slots available between 10.30am to 12.00pm which you can book for a one-to-one consultation with Mahesh. He will come to your plot and advise you on anything you want to know. Booking is essential! Just hit the reply key and say which slot you’d like. First come, first served.
We still have several pairs of wellington boots: come and claim them.
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