Vegetable advice | Allotment & Kitchen gardens
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Vegetable advice about purchasing seed
Allotment preparation/vegetable advice- Not always the most popular chore in the garden calendar, digging is done for three reasons: to ensure that annual weeds are buried; to introduce manure or compost into the ground, and to aerate the soil. Fortunately, this is only a once a year task, best tackled in autumn or early winter, leaving rough soil exposed to be broken down by the winter frost. By the spring, soil that has been well dug should merely need superficial attention - raking or a light touch with the fork - in readiness for sowing or planting.
Always plant vegetables to a line and use a measuring rod to mark the correct in - the - row spacing. Plant with a dibber, a hand fork, or a trowel depending on the type of transplant being handled.
Purchasing seeds and plants -
Planning the next seasons cropping in the vegetable garden begins in the winter with the arrival of the new editions of seed catalogues. Many seed firms produce excellent catalogues which contain much valuable information.
F1 hybrids -
The advantages of these hybrids are that they are often more vigorous than their parent, and they tend to have more uniform characteristics of height, form and colour as well as maturing at the same time. F1 hybrids are produced only after a considerable amount of selection and careful crossing over a number of years and they are invariably more expensive than conventional varieties. Never save seed from F1 hybrids because the next generation of plants will have lost uniformity.
Conventional varieties -
Conventional varieties mature over a longer period and they are preferred by many gardeners. One advantage is that seed can be saved from them, but it must be selected from healthy, true type plants only.
Seeds should be stored dry in paper bags or packets rather than polythene or plastics bags because these tend to conserve dampness if it is present. Store seeds in a cool, dry place, such as a cellar or a refrigerator, and keep all the packages clearly labelled. If they have been stored correctly most vegetable seeds remain viable for at least two years. But because there are exceptions - parsnip seed, for example, rapidly loses the ability to germinate once a packet has been opened - it is wise to buy several small - sized packets of seed.
Buying garden plants or vegetable plants -
- The same can be said about both plant types.! Some vegetable plants are purchased from nurseries or garden centres: This is probably most convenient for tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, aubergines, celery and celeriac, but care is needed when purchases are made. Trust and goodwill between the nursery owner and the customer are essential so always return where good service has been received. With vegetable planting be very careful when buying plants, that could introduce a persistent disease to the garden. This is particularly true for the club - root on brassica plants and white onion rot or leek plants, and the warning is even more applicable to plants which friendly gardening neighbours may provide.
Buying perennial vegetables-
perennial vegetables such as rhubarb, globe artichokes and asparagus are purchased as plants rather than as seed. Again, they could be infected with virus diseases which gradually reduce the vigour and productivity of the plants, and so only virus-free or tested material should be purchased. This is also true of seed potatoes which are likely to be brought every year. Virus-free seed tubers are produced in areas where aphids that spread viruses are not a problem. After three months with care, you will see your results.