Out There: We’re flying high to the Mersey beat

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More on suggestion of vegetable varieties for this season.

Broad beans to grow in containers – the Sutton, the lowest growing broad bean, 18 inches (45cm), a variety which is a little different. Karmazyn, this one has pink beans and grows to two foot (60cm).

Runner beans – Scarlet Empire, not for containers but to either grow up a wigwam of canes in the flower garden or up a fence. Grown either way it is a winner with its beautiful red flowers followed by plenty of tasty beans.

French beans – Montano, disease resistant and gives many weeks of choice beans.

Beetroot – Boltardy can be sown early without fear of bolting and can also be grown in bags.

Radish – French Breakfast, which are very quick maturing and can be pulled after three or four weeks so ideal for getting children into growing plants from seed, and sown ever couple of weeks will ensure a continuous supply.

Tomatoes – Shirley is a very reliable greenhouse variety and is disease resistant giving a very good crop.

For anyone who likes to grow tomatoes outside Ferline has high resistance to blight and other problems.

Some of the varieties I have mentioned people may not have heard of, but the choice I have made have the accent on fewer failures through diseases and other problems that can be annoying to say the least.

The aim when growing vegetables is to get them as early as possible for as long as possible. You can make a start now by planting potatoes in the greenhouse in a 15 litre pot.

Half fill the pot with compost and push a couple of seed potatoes into it. As the plant grows top up with more compost until full. Make sure you use an early variety of potato.

One important thing I have failed to mention is when early varieties of potatoes have grown shoots in the chitting process break off all the shoots except for three or four.

The reason for this is that early varieties grow and mature very quickly and if all the shoots were left on the plant would grow a lot of foliage at the expense of the crop.

If growing a blueberry plant think about pruning during March.

Plants don’t need any attention in the first three years but any older than that and they will need attention once a year.

Begin by removing any stems that are vigorous as well as any growth that is damaged or diseased, then cut back stems which fruited the previous year. Cut back to a strong bud near the base of the plant.

By the time the job is finished you should have removed only about 20 per cent of the stems, so don’t go too mad.

On the allotment you should be making ready for sowing some vegetables, but unfortunately the wet weather is making it impossible to get on the soil.

Cover some of the ground with clear polythene held down with bricks which achieves many things.

It will dry up the soil as well as warming it.

Also with the warmth, weed seeds will germinate, so when the polythene is removed you can run the hoe over the soil and get rid of many of the nuisance weeds before sowing seeds.

Without the polythene the weeds would germinate at the same time as the seeds which would cause more work having to weed by hand.

Another important thing which happens under the polythene is that, again because of the warmth, slug’s eggs will hatch so by putting down slug pellets you will rid the soil of the first batch of slugs.

If anyone wants some free polythene sheets either contact me through The Visitor or personally.

The exceptional rain experienced over the last six months has washed all the nutrients from the soil, and if this trend is to continue we will have to change our ways of treating the ground.

Normally the ideal has always been to apply manure whilst digging in the autumn but if that was done last autumn all the goodness will have disappeared.

In future we will have to lime the soil in the autumn and apply manure in the spring.

So this year, when planting potatoes, it will be best to dig a trench, put manure in the bottom of the trench and place the seed potatoes on the manure.

Then part fill the trench and sprinkle with Growmore, finally filling the trench.

This is the way I have always planted potatoes and this idea goes back to my Dad’s day.

The area where the Growmore is sprinkled is where the potato crop forms.