Vegetable Garden Year (Agralan)

The table below contains information from “The Vegetable Garden Year” by Daphne Ledward who has been involved in horticulture and gardening for over 25 years. She became known to gardeners all over the country as a regular member of BBC Radio 4 ‘Gardeners Question Time.’  The information was published as a leaflet by Agralan. It is reproduced with their permission. As an advertising leaflet the text refers to Agralan products but it also serves as a general calendar for the veg grower.

There are alternatives to all the advice given and it is up to the gardener to make suitable choices.  All I can say is that I have used Enviromesh for many years to keep brassicas clear of caterpillars. I also use a finer netting for carrot root fly control. It as always best to find ways of keeping pests off crops rather than trying remove the problem. Prevention is always better than cure.

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Plant Japanese onion sets and protect from birds with Enviromesh or Envirofleece 30 (winter weight) well secured with Tri-Pegs. Clear fallen leaves regularly front Enviromesh covers before they damage crops beneath.Sow early broad beans and first early peas and cover with Clevercloches or Enviromesh. Cover globe artichoke plants loosely with Envirofleece 30 winter weight to protect crowns from frost. discourage moles by attaching vibrating Buzzline Birdscarer to canes driven into the ground near tunnels. Cover late summer-sown early carrots with Clevercloches for an early winter crop of tender young roots. Cover celery tops and chicory in frosty weather with Envirofleece 30 winter weight. Lift some maincrop carrots, swedes, parsnips, salsify and scorzonera and store in a cold, dry shed in boxes of sand insulated with Permealay for use when the ground is frozen solid. Cover maturing calabrese and cauliflower with Enviromesh to protect against autumn frost.
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Prevent pigeon damage on overwintering lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and spinach beet by covering with Enviromesh. Alternatively Buzzline Birdscarer will discourage birds from attacking vulnerable crops. Protect winter beetroot and carrots ‘stored’ in the ground with Permealay For early crops of autumn-sown peas and beans cover with Clevercloche.In late January, sow exhibition onions under glass also tomatoes for planting later under heated glass. For an early crop of rhubarb, cover the crowns with Permealay.
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Sow leeks and lettuce under glass for early crops, also cucumbers for greenhouse cultivation. Sow early broad beans, peas, radishes, parsnips and turnips under Clevercloche. Cover well-dug and levelled soil with Permealay to ‘pre-warm’ it before sowing. Plant shallots and cover with Enviromesh to prevent birds pulling them out. Early spears of asparagus may be encouraged by covering beds with Permealay.
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Things are starting to move in the vegetable garden now. sow into soil prewarmed with Permealay, broad beans, early peas, land cress, leeks (in seed bed), onions, radishes, spinach, spinach beet, beetroot, parsnips and turnips. Cover with Enviromesh or Envirofleece ‘Plus’.Sow celery, celeriac, and early Brussels sprouts, cabbage, calabrese, cauliflowers, peppers and aubergines under glass. Continue sowing cucumbers and tomatoes under glass. Sow early lettuce, carrots and spring onions under Clevercloches. Continue planting shallots and start planting onion sets. Cover with Enviromesh to deter birds.

Plant first early potatoes late in the month and protect from frost with Envirofleece 30. Alternatively, surface-plant the tubers under Permealay. Cut a cross in the sheet above each seed potato to allow haulms to grow through. Protect emerged haulms with Envirofleece 30.

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Sow early crops of endive and main crops of broad beans, peas, leaf beet, “good King Henry”, beetroot, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, spinach, turnips and radish, also salsify and scorzonera. Complete sowing leeks in seed beds and finish sowing and planting onion seed and sets.Plant out leeks and lettuces sown indoors earlier. Sow broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and calabrese outdoors in seed beds. Clover immediately with Enviromesh to guard against insect pests, cats and birds, and provide a sheltered environment for germination. Enviromesh will also help to reduce water loss and decrease capping or
puddling of soil.

Plant second early and maincrop potatoes (as in March). Sow French beans for early cropping and outdoor tomatoes under glass. Continue sowing celery and celeriac indoors as in March.

At the end of the month, sow runner beans, sweetcorn, marrows, courgettes, squashes, pumpkins and outdoor cucumbers under glass and Florence fennel outdoors.

Plant out peppers, cucumbers, aubergines and tomatoes in pots and growing bags in the heated greenhouse.

Install Agralan Soaker Hose to ensure growing crops do not suffer during dry spells in spring and summer.

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Make sowing of broad beans, beetroot, carrots, endive, chicory, lettuce, radish, spinach, swedes and turnips for succession, and protect with Envirofleece or Enviromesh. Sow kale, kohl rabi, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower in seed beds outdoors.Plant early sowings of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery and celeriac in their cropping positions. clover with Enviromesh, allowing enough slack in the material for the plants to develop. Late in the month, sow outdoor cucumbers, marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes in situ and plant out outdoor tomatoes and French beans raised under glass, using Envirofleece (or Clevercloches) in case of late cold spells. Finish planting, in pots and growing bags under glass, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Pick turnip tops protected from flea beetle with Enviromesh or Envirofleece.

Remove Envirofleece when crops have become established (after about 6-8 weeks).

To protect against cabbage root Sly, cabbage white butterfly, cabbage Whitefly, aphids, carrot fly, celery fly, onion fly, leek moth, pea and bean weevil, pea moth, fruit fly, marigold fly, birds and cats, Enviromesh should be left on throughout the growing and cropping season, apart from brief periods for weeding and harvesting. Slugs and snails will be deterred by burying the edges in the soil.

Remove Enviromesh while broad beans are in flower to allow pollination.

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This is the month when the use of Agralan products begins to pay dividends, with early pickings of pest-free produce. Continue to make successional sowings as in May. Plant out runner beans, celery and celeriac, outdoor cucumbers and tomatoes, marrows, courgettes, squashes, pumpkins and sweetcorn raised under glass. Plant through Permealay to conserve moisture and cut down on weeding.Transplant brassica (cabbage family) plants raised in outdoor seed beds to their cropping positions, planting through Permealay and covering with Enviromesh to control cabbage rootfly and other pests. Plant out leeks from seed beds and cover with Enviromesh to reduce transpiration until reestablished. Liquid feed all crops regularly until harvest – this can be done without the need to remove Envirofleece, Enviromesh
or Permealay.

Tie newly planted runner bean plants to canes (in exposed areas make a curtain of Enviromesh around the canes to protect from cold winds). Tie in greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers to supports as they grow, using Agralan Plant Ties. Ensure potato haulms fully cover holes in Permealay to avoid greening of developing tubers. Maintain soil moisture during dry weather with Soaker Hose to prevent a check to growth, especially in root crops.

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Sow turnips, quick-maturing beetroot, carrots and French beans for an autumn crop, and winter- radish. Cover with Enviromesh tunnels or Envirofleece. Finish planting out late brassica crops and cover straightaway with Enviromesh. Begin harvesting potatoes. If grown under Permealay, turn back the sheet and remove enough tubers for immediate use, then replace the sheet to exclude light from the remainder.
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Make sure brassica crops are completely covered with Enviromesh to exclude cabbage white butterflies. SowJapanese onions, endive and winter lettuce under Envirofleece Plus’. Do not neglect to Water with Soaker Hose during hot, dry periods. Covering delicate crops with Enviromesh will prevent rain and hail damage to leaves during thunder storms.
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Harvest maincrop potatoes grown under Permealay before the haulms die back, to prevent light reaching the tubers through the slits in the sheet. Cover leaf beet with Enviromesh or Clevercloches to provide good winter pickings. Make bags of Enviromesh for storing marrows and clean, dry onions and shallots over winter; these will allow the air to circulate. Cover August-sown lettuce and endive with Enviromesh later in the month for an early winter crop.Clean and dry Permealay not required until the spring (for example, after use with sweetcorn or summer brassicas) and store in a dry, vermin proof place out of direct sunlight. Wash spare Envirofleece and Enviromesh after use in warm water and mild detergent and dry thoroughly before putting away.