Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Toms are at peak

GLASSHOUSE tomatoes are reaching their peak.

Attend carefully to supports, making sure that these are strong enough to take the weight off the plants.

Pinch out he side shoots on a regular basis and remove the bottom leaves as they grow old. Regular feeding is still very important, using a high potash tomato fertiliser.

As fruiting trusses develop, on middle-sized and large tomato varieties, they can be thinned down to obtain optimum size fruit.

Small varieties like the delicious 'Red Robin and Red Alert' can be left to grow and fruit at random.

Watch for whitefly attack and red spider. Water freely, damping down for the floor of the greenhouse to reduce red spider problems. But avoid spraying the fruit directly as cold water could split their skins.

The year is on the turn now and onions should be ready for harvest now. If they are lo last in store, their skins must be completely dry and crisp. After lifting, they can, be strung together and hung up in an airy spot.

An alternative to stringing is to use the legs of old tights, tying a . knot between each large onion so that they are separated. The onions must be kept as cool as possible during winter but will not tolerate frost. Use them up before they begin to sprout in spring.

As vegetables crops are lifted, there will be an increasing area of spare ground. It is still not too late to sow a few late lettuces, if you are unable to cover the young plants with cloches towards the end of the month.

Swedes and turnips can be also sown now and, after a mild autumn and winter, will provide edible roots early next year. The cabbage-like leaves of Swedes are edible and, if sown thickly and then singled out to one plant every six inches in late October, the thinnings make tasty autumn greens.

Spring cabbage plants should be ready for planting outdoors. These are usually on sale at good plant centres about now but it is not good late to raise some from seed.

Sow in drills outdoors, or in a cold greenhouse and plant the young plants out in late October.

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