‘Organic Fruit and Vegetable Gardeners Year, The A Seasonal Guide to Growing What You Eat’ by Graham Clarke
Yesterdays Gardeners Question Time on radio 4 featured many questions on this subject. The main advice that appealed to me was to concentrate on growing more fruit. (We all more likely to take the advice we want to hear.)
Gardeners Tips on Organic Fruit Growing
Organics should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animals and humans as one.
Organic growing is based on ecological systems and cycles that are worked with and sustained.
Organic gardening should be done in a precautionary manner to protect the health and well being of current and future generations.
Organics promotes the concept of fairness with regard to common environment and life opportunities.
Chemical fertility is the availability in the soil of all the elements, nutrients, ions, traces and inorganic chemicals that plants need to grow.
Biological fertility includes micro organisms that help nutrient recycling’ including fungi, bacteria and protozoa that clean up bacteria. It also covers macro organisms such as arthropods that break down organic matter in the early stages of decomposition, worms that help drainage and aeration and nematodes that help in various ways but occasionally act as pests.
Physical fertility is the mix of sand, silt and clay that makes up the soil and determines texture, ability to hold water and sustain life.
Couch grass is an invasive perennial garden weed.
In the north of England it is called twitch but elsewhere it is called quick grass, quitch, dog grass, quackgrass, scutch grass, and witchgrass.
The latin species names are Elytrigia repens or Elymus repens.
What is Couch Grass
Couch spreads under ground and can get amongst your other plants.
Couch grows on most soil types except those with a very low pH.
It prefers heavier land but is able to spread by rhizomes in lighter soils.
Couch growth is especially vigorous on uncultivated land.
Common couch can form dense clumps that exclude other vegetation. The pointed roots will invade new areas.
If left undisturbed a mat of young rhizomes forms in the upper 4″ of soil.
Solve the problem of seedlings ‘damping off’ by watering your compost before sowing seeds with Cheshunts Compound a soluble fungicide. Damping Off is a fungal disease that attacks seedlings causing them to suddenly wilt, keel over and die. Damping Off is a particular problem when sowing seed indoors or under glass.
Damping Off can affect most seedlings, particularly under levels of high humidity, poor air circulation, low light and temperature that makes seedlings grow slowly and if seed is sown to thick.
Preventing Damping Off
* Raise seedlings in commercial growing compost, which is usually free of the key fungi.
* Ideally, use new pots and trays whenever raising seedlings. If they must be re-used, wash them thoroughly and treat them with a disinfectant such as Jeyes Fluid.
* Never reuse pots and trays in which damping off has been a problem.
* Sow seedlings thinly to avoid crowding.
* Use mains water when irrigating seedlings grown in pots and trays. If using rainwater, ensure that the water butt is covered to prevent the entry of leaves and other organic debris that could harbour some of the damping off fungi.
* Keep seedlings well ventilated to reduce humidity. Do not over-water.
* Can be used on all seedlings whether edible or non-edible.
* Easy to use, dilute and water the solution onto compost before sowing and repeat after the emergence of the seedlings.
* For transplanting, water seedlings with the solution before and after the transplanting.
* Suitable for organic gardening.
* Cheshunts Compound uses inorganic salts copper sulphate and ammonium carbonate so it is the same type of copper-based fungicide as Bordeaux mixture.
You have grown some bush fruit in an organic garden and as the berries ripen all the birds you have fed through winter decide to feast on your well grown crops. What a good job you protected them in a fruit cage!
If you do not have a fruit cage yet, you can buy a Two Wests Standard 6′ High Fruit Cage 6′ x 12′Cage from Amazon.
Blackcurrant and Jostaberry
Blackcurrants prefer a cool, clay-loam soil which is not too acidic pH 6.5.
They are gross feeders and like a rich fertile soil.
Blackcurrants are shallow rooting and require irrigation or good watering when dry.
Protection from frost may be needed for early flowering varieties.
Redcurrant and Whitecurrant
A potash rich, moist, well drained soil with a pH 6.0 is optimum. …