Down to the plot late afternoon to water the potatoes. Set up the sprinkler and decided to have a go at the compost heap on plot 5. Val had loaded me with her garden plant trimmings and the four carrier bags full of empty broad bean pods.
The bin on the right was empty so dumped it all into there and then a layer of comfrey leaves. Nest I started forking out the left hand bin into the right hand bin with a layer of comfrey leaves every six inches or so.
Comfrey is so rich that it acts as an activator on its own and should promote the final rotting down of the materials. Turning a compost heap is beneficial as it allows air in which the microbes need to do their work.
Got most of it moved before it was time to water it prior to leaving to change for the National Vegetable Society meeting.
Growing Great Cauliflowers
The NVS meeting was well attended and we had a talk from Mr B Herbert, FNVS whose specialty is growing cauliflowers for show on his allotment, which is on the North Derbyshire side of the border to South Yorkshire.
His methods are quite ‘chemical’ in that he uses artificial fertilisers and a range of chemical controls and sprays against every problem that can befall them or bug that might eat them. Having said that, his results are marvellous.
The base to his method is a large dose of rotted cow manure applied in November followed by pH testing in March and an application of lime, which is perfectly organic. You could replace his application of artificial fertiliser with an organic one but the systemic insecticide sprays would be harder to substitute.
Although the NVS experts tend to be old school chemical users, I think organic growers would find the talks of great value.
After the meeting we discussed my abysmal cauliflowers and he thought the main reason was probably due to insufficient nutrients in the soil. I’ve felt that a dose of manure is needed on the plot this year so I think he has hit the nail on the head.
I also asked him about why the leaves went purple on some of the brassicas and, quick as a flash, he asked if this was in early May. I said it was and he said it was the change to cold weather we suffered. At least I’m not to blame for the bad weather!