GROW YOUR OWN with Debbie Pendle from Brunswick Organic Nursery Growing your own fruit and veg is rewarding, good for the planet – and your pocket. Here’s how…
Pretty Tasty... This month the emphasis changes from preparing and sowing to growing and nurturing, as we start to see some returns for all the planning and effort. Container-grown plants are especially vulnerable to drought, as are recently planted crops that have not had chance to put roots down into the soil. Water each crop thoroughly to ensure the water soaks well into the soil where it’s needed - it encourages the plant to form a deep root system. If possible, water in the morning or evening when it is cooler as this will reduce the amount of water that evaporates off the surface of the soil.
or grated raw into salads. In addition, it produces bright green foliage which is incredibly tactile and brings an ornamental element to the vegetable, plot and can be used as a herb for flavouring dishes.
To help reduce water loss from evaporation, consider applying a layer of mulch to the soil surface. This also has the added benefits of suppressing weeds, maintaining soil temperature and reducing soil erosion. The use of organic materials such as leaf mould, compost or grass cuttings will increase earthworm activity at the soil surface which will improve soil structure and reduce compaction caused by heavy summer rain.
Seed can be started off in pots under glass and grown on until ready to plant out, but as they do not like transplanting, it is best to sow in situ. Sow thinly in rows 1cm (½ in) deep and 45cm (18 in) apart, and once germinated thin plants to 25cm (10 in) apart. Fennel looks like it should handle dry conditions with its fine feathery foliage, but it does not! So keep well-watered especially during dry conditions. Earth up the bulbs as they begin to swell as this will blanch them and make them taste sweeter. Allow some of the crop to flower as they are very attractive to beneficial insects which help control pests.
Florence Fennel Even if the aniseed flavour of this vegetable is not to your taste, it has great decorative value. It is grown primarily for its white bulbous base, which can be braised in casseroles
Fennel thrives in a warm climate so summer-sown crops are less likely to bolt than those sown in spring and will provide harvest well into autumn. This crop requires an open sunny spot sheltered from the wind and light, well-drained soil. A light sandy soil with well-rotted manure dug in the previous autumn is ideal. Heavy clay soils should be avoided.
JOBS FOR JULY 3 Plant out leeks 3 Sow spring cabbage 3 Lift garlic and allow to
dry before storing 3 Harvest summer fruits 3 Regularly check plants for pest and
Local Suppliers: Brunswick of York CIC, Appleton Road, Bishopthorpe, York YO23 2RF
n Brunswick Organic Nursery is a growing charity that provides opportunities for adults with learning difficulties in horticulture. Visit the online shop www.brunswickyork.org.uk