Top Tips

How many of us have been in despair, having lavished hours of TLC on our seedlings and carefully planted them out, only to find a few days later that the slugs have decimated them – or perhaps found our cabbages destroyed by club root (sadly, endemic on our site)?

Well, this page has been launched so that by pooling our knowledge and experience, we can improve our growing skills and hopefully avoid the sort of disappointments mentioned above. If Top Tips is to take off, we need your contributions – so, please, share your tips, however small, so that the whole of our community can benefit:

Here are just a few to get the ball rolling:

Kale is resistant to club root, but very attractive to slugs. Organic slug deterrents are often ineffective. Solution: place a cabbage collar (fabric disc, coated with copper) around the base of each stem. As soon as the slug comes into contact with the collar, it will get a tiny shock, retreat and never come back!

Most brassicas (cabbages, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower..) are highly susceptible to club root, a fungal infection leading to swollen and distorted roots, which unfortunately is widespread on our site. Solution: pot your seedlings on, at least twice, so that they become strong, before planting them out in holes lined with compost. The compost will protect their roots against the fungus until they are established, and when it does reach them, the plants will be robust enough to resist it. It works!

It’s all too easy to overwater seed trays before placing them in the propagator. Overwatering can cause the seed to rot. Solution: use a fine spray to dampen the compost, rather than a watering can.

Try companion planting – plant courgettes/cucumbers for ground cover and spiky protection around sweetcorn, with beans/peas growing up the corn, rather than stakes. Or plant carrots and onions together – confuses the scents detected by both carrot and onion flies.

Now it’s over to you… keep them coming!