Allotment Update week ending 31 August

We leave the summer pruning of the fruit until after the Open Day workshop but now we need to finish the job.  The summer pruning of the gooseberries and apples was completed. Now that the raspberries have finished fruiting it is time to cut all the old fruiting canes down to the ground and remove any of the this year’s canes which are small and spindly, aiming to leave 4 or 5 new canes per plant. Pruning is a setback to a plant so after pruning it is a good idea to give the plants a feed and also a water if it has been dry.

Drying off the potatoesThe potato shaws were cut down a fortnight ago so today we dug up the tubers. Leaving them in the ground allows the skins to harden off and helps with keeping. It was interesting to see the difference in cropping between the different varieties: Kestrel was a big cropper but many of the tubers had slug holes, Sharpe’s Express a smaller crop but no slug damage. We’ll sow a green manure on the bed but first it needs a proper dig over to make sure we have found all the potatoes, otherwise we may have a lot of ‘volunteers’ growing next year – a job for next week.

Biochar trial

Biochar cabbages readyThe cabbages, onions and shallots were dug up and weighed. Interesting results again this year with the 3 cabbages in the Biochar bed weighing in at 25lb 12 oz and the 3 control bed ones at 20lb 14 oz.

However the heaviest single cabbage was from the control bed and weighed 12lb 8oz. The heaviest cabbage from the Biochar bed was 8lb 12 oz.

So make of that what you will but the significant overall difference in weight does show that adding Biochar helps to bulk up the cabbage crop and we found this last year too.

[The variety was Kilaton. The beds had compost added in the spring but nothing else and there was no watering done.]

The onions and shallots showed no significant difference in weight.

We shall dig up and weigh the potatoes next week.

Jobs for next week

Dig over potato bed and sow green manure
Dig up Biochar trial potatoes and weigh
Dig up remaining 3 rows of potatoes
New stakes for loganberry still to be done

See you next Thursday

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