Weird and wonderful crops

I think our mutant rabbit (Donny Darko if you’re under thirty, Dylan from the Magic Roundabout if you’re over thirty!) is about as weird an allotment crop as I’ve ever seen. He was very tasty too, but perhaps you have a better mutant to share with us? Send them in, I’ll feature anything really peculiar on the blog …

Why do these things happen? Well ….

Twisty, woody, or multi-branching carrots occur because carrots are a root crop and must penetrate deeply into the soil. This means the type and texture of the soil will influences their shape. Heavy, crusted, or overheated soil effectively prevents them from germinating, and rocks and clumps or clods of dirt will cause developing carrot roots to split and distort into a forked shape as they grow around these obstacles. To avoid these problems, prepare the seedbed for carrots well before sowing seed. Dig it up thoroughly, turning it over and breaking up lumps into small pieces. Cover the newly sown seeds with sand or fine soil that will not crust over when dry and keep the surface moist. Provide shade for seeds planted in mid-summer so that the soil does not heat up.

Tomatoes that are misshapen, with scars and holes in the blossom end are caused by cold weather during blossoming and perhaps also by overly high levels of nitrogen. To manage this, avoid setting out plants too early in the season. The Americans call this catfacing – but I haven’t managed to track down any research on rabbit-facing yet!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, August 17, 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll be pleased to know I've finally moved off compost questions (although I put a dollop of sheep shit into it today).

I've spent the afternoon putting four plastic trellis up against the retaining wall, fixing it with curtain hooks, which seems to have worked very well: certainly looks nice and tidy (the first big wind will be a bit interesting though).

Anyway, beans will fill four of twelve available spaces up the retaining wall, so I'm wondering what vegetables could be grown up the other eight areas. Given I'm on a hill, and the flat area is not so big, the climbing areas will allow me to grow much more crop than otherwise.

Keep up the good work :)

Mark Hubbard

August 18, 2007 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

You might want to think about pollinators: sweet peas etc, to bring insects and bees - and what about some kind of vine? The famous kiwi fruit perhaps - makes 9 m in length/height, with large heart-shaped leaves. Its young shoots and leaves, covered with red hairs, give the plant a very attractive appearance, so it serves a double job as an ornamental climber and the white blossoms that turn yellow are fragrant. N B - for fruit production you have to be aware that that each plant bears flowers of one sex, either male or female. Both male and female flowers have a mass of stamens although the female flowers do not produce viable pollen. In commercial plantations one male vine is planted for every eight female vines.

There's also okra if you like it ... personally I love the look of the plant and can't bear the taste, but you may find the plant (aka) ladyfingers, more to your taste ....

August 20, 2007 at 12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good ideas, (I eat two kiwi fruit for breakfast every morning, with a slice of pineapple or a banana) and it's just struck me this is a post about tomatoes, so them also. I wonder if they'll climb up plastic trellis? Or just you a bit of string?


August 20, 2007 at 2:21 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Depends on your tomatoes, but some will grow with just a cane for support - they are great up trellis though!

August 23, 2007 at 6:52 AM  

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