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Rooko's December Top 10 Tryouts & Tips!!

1. Most Brassica require the presence of Boron in the soil for their healthy growth. Boron deficiency occurs more quickly in dry light, sandy soils and leaches out of soils fairly easily. Some of the ways that Boron aids plant development are in pollination, moving sugars within the plants and fixing nitrogen. A high concentration of organic matter in the soil where Brassicas are being grown will help to retain Boron. If you are having difficulty with your Cauliflower curds not developing or going brown, Boron deficiency could be the cause. Turnips and Swedes also react badly to Boron deficiency.

2. If you are one of those kind people who feed wild birds during the Winter, ensure that they also have a supply of drinking water and that it does not freeze over.

3. Try the following method to keep Wood Pigeons off your vegetables. Place canes/sticks in the ground upright, spaced approximately 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20cm) apart, around the perimeter of the growing area. This method is probably best used over smallish areas, i.e. 2 or 3, 15 foot rows of for instance Cabbages. If you find that this method works it will do away with the need to use netting or other fiddly protection, giving you easier access to any areas needing weeding etc.

4. Although I like to keep my allotments as weed free as possible, weeds can be of assistance in some cases. Birds feed on weed seeds, weeds help to maintain moisture/ nitrogen in the soil.

5. Try leaving a few crushed Garlic cloves around in your shed/greenhouse over the Winter, to deter vermin.

6. December is a good time to remove dead foliage and stems from your perennial plants, if you have not done so already.

7. December is a good time to plant Rhubarb Crowns. Keep them covered with straw, cardboard or wooden boxes. If you use plastic containers to cover Rhubarb (or other plants) it is likely to "sweat" inside, so beware of the moisture freezing.

8. Christmas will be here soon, remember that the discarded packaging such as cardboard and paper can be composted and all those pieces of string/ribbon used around Christmas presents, will make good plant ties later.

9.  Now maybe a good time to check all your garden tools and equipment for damage and clean/maintain them. If any are beyond repair, put the word out to friends and family about ideas for Christmas presents?

10. Most gardeners need more Thyme down the plot or out in the garden. Take some Thyme for family, Thyme for friends, Thyme for each other, Thyme to reflect and leave some Thyme on your hands.

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  1. At this time of year keeping bird drinking warer ice free can be a full time job can't it?

    1. It certainly can be a lot of extra work but one method is to put out water that is warm so that it won't freeze as quickly. Also if you have a fish pond, ensure the water is kept moving with an access area around it for birds.

  2. your advice about deterring pigeons is intruiging. I'm trying to figure out how / why it works! Luckily, though I gets lots of pigeons in my garden they seldom do any significant damage. Surprisingly they seem to ignore the brassica plants, though one year they did discover my PSB and really went to town on it. They would land on the nets I had covered it with, and peck the greenery through the mesh!

    1. Hi Mark, one of my fellow plot holders and I were discussing this method earlier this year. We get lots of problems with Wood pigeons attacking the Brassicas, especially young Cabbage. Most Pigeons land nearby the plants they are going to attack and then walk into the planted area. We put 24 inch canes around the Spring Cabbages in a block. There was no damage to any of the Cabbages. We also think that Wood Pigeons are larger than most other garden birds and need a few feet of clear ground for take off, the canes restricted this option too. Anyway it seemed to work and I will be using this method again, whilst monitoring what happens next time.


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