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Growing Questions & Answers 2 June 2019

I’ve had quite a few questions so far this month, so a second page of gardening questions and answers. In this one, a question about crop rotation – do you need to do it? – and what is lime for? Then a show grower asks for assistance with propagating leeks from grass and finally, why aren’t my peppers growing?

Crop Rotation & What is Lime For?

Crop rotation has been practised since Roman times in various forms, But do you need to?

Greta Westwood asked:

I have a small allotment, please can you tell me if I can plant white sprouting in the same place as previously, it has been rough dug and mucked. What is lime used for?

What is Lime Used for in the Garden

To answer the second question first, lime is used to reduce the acidity of the soil. Vegetables tend to grow best when the soil is slightly acid or neutral. There’s a couple of articles on the subject on the web site which explain in depth.

Can I grow the same plants in the same place, year after year?

To address growing the same annual crop in the same place year after year. Generally not a good idea due to build ups of pests and diseases and nutrient depletion. Having said that, it won’t make any real difference for a couple of years. Especially as the ground has been dug and mucked.

This all comes under crop rotation – once again, there’s quite a bit of information on the web site. The best place to start is here: Crop Rotation – History & Principles of Crop Rotation That links to another 10 pages on the subject.

Growing Show Leeks

I have a very good Pendle leek that I put to flower last year, as I want to try to get grass/pips from the flower head. It has produced a very good flower spike which is about 3 ft tall and i have it well supported.

The other day I noticed a second strong flower spike starting to grow. My question is; do I allow this second flower spike to continue to grow and hopefully get grass/pips from both or do I remove this second flower spike?

I have looked on the web but cannot find anything about it. Perhaps you can advise me on what to do.

Ross on Wye

Leek Grass growing from a head – see Vegetative Propagation of Blanch Leeks

Well I’m not a show grower so it’s not a method I’ve used myself but if it was me, I think I’d let the second spike grow as well. I could be wrong though. You might like to post on the forums in the The Show Bench – somebody there may well know better than me.

For those wondering what leek grass is, there’s an article in the show growing section by John Trim about Vegetative Propagation of Blanch Leeks

Peppers Not Growing

Jean asked:

Hi, I am not sure if I should have done this! I changed the soil in my greenhouse. I used home made compost. My toms & cucumbers are doing OK but the peppers are not happy. The Pepper ‘Hot Chenzo’, which I purchased from my local nursery, is just not growing. Any ideas? I did ask them and he said it is the soil. Tks.

I’ve got both sweet and chilli peppers growing in the polytunnel border, pots and Chilligrow Planters. They’re all OK but none are growing very quickly at the moment. I think this is down to the low temperatures at the moment. The daytime temperatures aren’t too bad but night-time temperatures are still quite low.

I doubt it’s your soil as you say tomatoes and cucumbers are growing well. I don’t know what you’re feeding your peppers but you could try giving a feed of a high-nitrogen fertiliser like Miracle Gro or Nutrigrow rather than a standard tomato fertiliser to see if that kick starts them

Basically though, give them time and some warmer weather.

Incidentally, you did absolutely the right thing in changing your greenhouse soil. If you use the same soil year after year it will build up pest and disease problems as it runs out of nutrients and micro-nutrients.

Adding home made compost, especially compost made from many different materials, is ideal. The reason is that it will contain all sorts of different trace elements and beneficial soil microbes.

Please Note:

Comments on the above topics are welcome but please don’t post unrelated questions via the comment box. If you have a question, please send it to me via email. Try to include as much information as you can such as: your location, type of soil etc. Photographs are always helpful.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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