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Monday 2 September 2019

The Vegetable Plot - September

"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves." Mahatma Gandhi

Crop rotation in the vegetable plot is important to avoid soil nutrients becoming depleted. It also helps reduce the spread of soil-born disease and lessens the need for pest control. You decide what crops you want to grow and plant the same type in one area. Then every year the type of plants grown in that area are changed.

Traditionally four main areas have been used but considering potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers are of the same family for example, you may want to investigate further. They don’t look anything like each other but they should be in the same area of rotation.

You might consider brassica (cabbage) family in another area, bean and pea (legume) family in the next; onion (allium) family, including garlic, shallot, leek and chives, then carrot and root (umbeliferae) family and in another area squash and marrow (cucurbits) courgettes, cucumber, melon and pumpkin. That leaves you looking to put your beetroot (Chenopodiaceae) family including spinach and Swiss chard in another bed.

Then there are a lot of plants that are more flexible, such as fruit, many herbs, lettuce, asparagus and so on. So it’s worth digging deeper into the whole rotation thing. But right now you’re probably harvesting the vegetables of your labour.

  • Vegetables this month: runner beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, lettuces, cabbages, courgettes and cucumbers, carrots, potatoes and turnips, courgettes and marrows and maincrop beetroot 
  • Freeze the ones you can: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet corn, beans and cauliflower cut into sections
  • Bag potatoes in paper sacks and store onions in a cool, dry and frost free place.
  • Store carrots and parsnips in hessian or thick paper sacks

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