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Good Ground September 21, 2016

1. If growing pumpkins for the largest fruit, pinch out the growing tip once shoots have set one fruit.

2. Green manures offer a great way to improve and replenish the soil. Include them in your crop rotation plans for the year and you should be able to reduce the need for artificial fertilisers.

3. Don’t have room for a full-sized greenhouse or polytunnel? Invest in a mini version which can still offer many of the same advantages of frost protection and extending the season both in the spring and autumn. There is a massive range available in all shapes and sizes or you can make your own if you are okay at DIY.

4. When growing aubergines under cover, place a bucket of water next to the plants to raise humidity, which they like.

5. If you have a very overgrown patch or are turning a patch of lawn into a vegetable garden, place a natural fibre carpet (or carpets) over the area in early autumn. This will kill off most weeds and also be easy to dig over in the spring.

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6. When planting onion or shallot sets, nick off any long tapers at the top so as not to attract birds who will want to pull them out of the ground.

7. Use grass clippings as a mulch between rows of vegetables. This will keep weeds down (for a while) and help the soil to retain moisture.

8. Sow a line of radishes (which are fast growing) along rows of slow-growing veg such as carrots and parsnips so you can see better where they will come up.

Tight for space but want to grow scrambling squashes? Grow up a trellis or wigwam of posts. Tie stems regularly.

9. Do not make the holes at there will be more evaporation out of the compost where you want to keep moisture in thriving bags large.

10. Tie cauliflower leaves together with twine to cover the crown. This will cease the crown yellowing in the sun and together they’ll stay in place if it gets windy with them tied.

11. At the end of the season, hang up trusses of green tomatoes inside against a window and they will ripen.

12. Place them in a box if you’ve got unripe tomatoes and add an overripe banana. The ethylene emitted in the banana will cause the tomatoes.

Sow a few seeds of nasturtiums when planting your hanging baskets tomatoes up to give a little colour.

13. Plant chives round the sides to protect from carrot fly which won’t be able to pick up the scent of the carrots if growing carrots in a container.

14. Sow sunflowers (medium height) and French climbing beans in the same large pot. The sunflowers will provide a colourful display and the beans will use the sunflower stems to climb up.

15. If you have a herb patch, let your herbs flower and you will find that they are a magnet for butterflies, bees and hoverflies. Cut them back in autumn.

16. To prevent bent and knobbly parsnips, make a deep hole with an iron pole, fill with multi-purpose compost then add seed.

Categories: Gardening

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