DWARF BEANS AND CABBAGES

My plan seems to work – I keep adding seedlings of cabbages, curly kale and kale Cavolo di Toscano to the latest net cage (close to the shed) and find that I still have some room.

There will be crop rotation between the cages, three will have brassicas in and the other two will have ‘other’ veg – the heritage peas, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and whatever else might need home.

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The next to be planted were the dwarf French beans – these went in one of the raised beds. I purposefully didn’t fill the beds to the top and it is very handy because small plants are protected from the wind. I also covered the bed with an old net, not quite against pigeons or butterflies but to give it a ‘blanket’ against any frost we might still have during the nights.

It was a busy day on my farm today, the weather was just perfect. I had a look at my second early potatoes and they are all coming through so they had to be earthed – quite a slog, the sun was blazing down (not complaining!)

As I had a look at my lovely apple trees I noticed that some of the branches needed better support. The Egremont Russet is covered in blossom and it would be great shame if the branches couldn’t carry the weight of the fruit (I hope there will be plenty, it looks good). I made a couple of t shaped props and hammered them in the ground. The ties are old socks cut into strips, they’re nice and soft, also quite stretchy so it won’t damage the branches.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

It all started with one bought net tunnel. Now they are multiplying like the proverbial rabbits!

A couple of years ago I was given as a Christmas present a net tunnel. Our allotment area is plagues by pigeons who try to eat any kind of brassica leaf – why don’t they nibble on weeds or even lettuce? They even devour small swede or radish seedlings so I have to cover them until they get a bit bigger then the birds seem to lose interest.

The only ‘problem’ with having one net tunnel is crop rotation. I know I shouldn’t grow brassicas on the same patch of soil two years running. To move the tunnel is beyond me – life is too short to complicate it with that.

A simple answer – have more tunnels, or cages as it happens. Today I finished my last creation and I’m very happy with it. All it took was some wood, netting, nails and a couple of hours of my time. Job done.

I even went round all the other cages and fixed some small problems – the wood holding the ‘door’ had to be wrapped in the netting and secured with zip ties to stop it unravelling when I’m opening the door to get in and out. A small problem but quite a nuisance really.

That means that I have enough space to plant all my brassica seedlings – cabbages, cauliflowers, kale, sprouting broccoli and kohl rabi and I don’t have to worry that I’ll run out of space. I will have two net cages where I have to plant ‘others’ – outdoor tomatoes, lettuce and perhaps dwarf beans; next year I can swap. As long as I don’t plant the same plants of brassica family in the same cages I should be fine.