Words of wisdom are to be heeded by vegetable-growers

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Vegetable-growing is littered with words of wisdom.

‘Never plant brassicas on the same piece of land two years in succession’ is more than a warning against a build-up of pests that home in on specific crops, such as cabbage root fly.

We can take steps to prevent this for a season, then safely return to the same spot if crops are rotated.

But if the more serious club root disease appears, growing brassica plants on that land is out of the question for several years.

Helpful disease-busting methods include operating a three-year crop rotation plan, offering a dressing of dolomitic lime or similar before planting brassicas, making plants firm by heeling them in and putting felt discs around their base.

Add a few slug traps, plus netting to deter pigeons and butterflies, and you’re well on the way to success.

‘Sow radishes every fortnight’ is a super hint for those who grow salad crops, but I confess to taking my eye off the ball occasionally, distracted by plant demands from all corners of the summer garden.

Do heed the warning that ‘from seed to lettuce takes 90 days’. That applies to hearting lettuce, of course, something we gave up growing years ago. Why wait for them to mature when leaf lettuce can be sown and germinated within two weeks?

A fortnight later, we’re harvesting small leaves for salads and continue picking on a cut-and-come-again basis for two months, given regular watering to keep the leaves sweet.

‘Stop harvesting asparagus spears on the longest day’ works well for me.

Tempting though it is to keep feasting on new cultivars, the plants must have time to build up reserves of food and further develop root systems in preparation for next year’s crop.

Don’t forget the organic mulch in autumn as it works wonders.

‘Soak parsley seeds to speed up germination’ is really important to end dormancy and does work pre-sowing, but make the water warm rather than piping hot.