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Organic Gardening Week 3. Brassicas , Weeds and Natural Regeneration. pH (power of hydrogen). Measures acidity and basicity in aqueous solution Pure water is neutral 7.0 Less than 7 is acidic, more than 7 is basic Ideally slightly acidic (6.5), phosphate can become locked up below 5.0

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organic gardening week 3

Organic Gardening Week 3

Brassicas, Weeds and Natural Regeneration

ph power of hydrogen
pH (power of hydrogen)
  • Measures acidity and basicity in aqueous solution
  • Pure water is neutral 7.0
  • Less than 7 is acidic, more than 7 is basic
  • Ideally slightly acidic (6.5), phosphate can become locked up below 5.0
  • Affects availability of nutrients
  • Affects micro-organisms and bacteria
  • Affects root cells
  • Affects solubility of toxins
  • Obtaining many yields from one element
  • E.g. A Tree can provide shelter, mulch, bark, wildlife,, Wind-break, fertility, prevent erosion, raise water table, provide food, sap, etc

1. Rosemary

  • 2. Oregano
  • 3. Sage
  • 4. Tarragon
  • 5. Thyme
  • 6. Coriander
  • 7. Parsley
  • 8. Chives
  • 9. Violets
  • 10. Chamomile
  • 11. Parsley
  • 12. Marigold
  • 13. Mint
  • 14. Watercress

  • Intensive production
  • Output exceeds input
  • Highly bio-diverse
  • Natural – beyond “organic”
  • Based on natural systems
  • Structurally diverse
  • Deep, middle and flat rooting patterns
  • Growing area develops over years
  • Annual, perennials and trees all have places

Benefits of Polyculture

  • High Yields
  • High density
  • Security
  • Use of space
  • Low maintenance
  • Resilient

A Nine-Plant polyculture

From Patrick Whitefield’s EarthCare Manual, p.202

  • In early spring, broadcast a mixture of radish, pot marigolds, dill, parsnip and a selection of lettuce varieties.
  • The radishes will grow fast, and help the germination of the other plants by shading the soil and keeping it moist.
  • Harvest them as soon as they are ready and plant a selection of cabbages in the gaps
  • Start picking lettuce when the plants are small (after six weeks). With a good selection you could have lettuce all summer.
  • As the soil warms up plant French beans in the gaps left by the lettuce
  • All other crops can be harvested as they come ready, with parsnips and late cabbages extending into winter
  • As gaps appear in autumn you can fill them with overwintering broad beans or garlic, or let them be filled by self-seeders.

1. Broadcast radish, lettuce mix, parsnips, marigolds and dill

  • 2. Harvest radishes and replace with cabbage mix
  • 3. Harvest lettuce and replace with French Beans
  • 4. Harvest anything that can be harvested and replace with overwintering broadbeans and garlic

Patrick Whitefield – How To Make A Forest Garden

  • Martin Crawford – Creating a Forest Garden
  • Edible Forest Gardens – David Jacke & Eric Toensmeier

Sepp 5 – 15

  • Bill 11 – 15
  • Farm 36 - 43
poached egg plant limnanthes douglasii
Poached-egg plantLimnanthesdouglasii
  • Annual
  • Up to 1’, frost hardy
  • Flowers May to August
  • Seeds July – August
  • Noted for attracting wildlife, particularly bees and hoverflies
  • Grows in any soil, needs sun
  • Edible
nasturtium flower tropaeolum majus tropaeolum minus
Nasturtium (flower)TropaeolummajusTropaeolum minus
  • Flowers from july to September
  • Edibles leaves, flowers and seeds
  • flowers contain about 130mg vitamin C per 100g
  • mature seed can be ground into a powder and used as a pepper substitute
  • whole plant is antibiotic, antiseptic, aperient, diuretic and expectorant
  • useful in breaking up congestion in the respiratory passages and chest during colds
  • attracts aphids away from other plants
  • insecticide
tagetes patula tagetes tenuifolia
  • Up to 0.5m, frost hardy
  • Flowers July – Oct
  • flowers are used in refreshing drinks, leaves are used as a food flavouring,
  • used internally in the treatment of indigestion, colic, severe constipation, coughs
  • Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs
  • has an effect on asparagus beetle and bean weevils
  • Dyes, perfumes
chives allium schoenoprasum
  • mild onion flavour
  • good source of sulphur and iron
  • beneficial effect on the digestive system and the blood circulation
  • similar properties to garlic
  • juice of the plant is used as an insect repellent, it also has fungicidal properties and is effective against scab, mildew
  • growing plant is said to repel insects and moles[
borage borago officianalis
  • Up to 2’ high
  • Edible leaves and flowers,
  • leaves are rich in potassium and calcium
  • dried stems are used for flavouring beverages[
  • domestic herbal remedy, for its beneficial affect on the mind, being used to dispel melancholy and induce euphoria
  • soothes damaged or irritated tissues
  • treatment of a range of ailments including fevers, chest problems and kidney problems
  • rich source of gamma-linolenic acid, this oil helps to regulate the hormonal systems and lowers blood pressure[
  • growing plant is said to repel insects
calendula officinalis
Calendula officinalis
  • Up to 2’
  • Flowers March to November
  • Edible leaves and flowers
  • very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacumofficinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value
  • High in vitamins A and C
  • one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine
  • above all, a remedy for skin problems and is applied externally to bites and stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins
  • cleansing and detoxifying herb and is taken internally in treating fevers and chronic infections
  • insect deterrent, reduces the soil eelworm population
  • Attracts slugs
comfrey symphytum officinale
  • Perennial up to 1.2m
  • commonly used herbal medicine, external treatment of cuts, bruises, sprains, sores, eczema, varicose veins, broken bones
  • contains a substance called 'allantoin', a cell proliferant that speeds up the healing process
  • can be used to provide 'instant compost‘
  • liquid feed can be obtained by soaking the leaves in a small amount of water for a week, excellent for potassium demanding crops such as tomatoes
  • Chinese Broccoli/Chinese Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Perennial Broccoli
  • Broccoli raab/Asparagus broccoli
  • Sprouting Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Calabrese
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kohl-rabi
  • Very valuable brassica, particularly winter-hardy, supplying veg for teh hungry gap
  • Normally easy to grow if protected from birds
  • Very few pests
  • Side shoots and leaves can be steamed or eaten raw
  • Can be eaten small as cut-and-come-again salad
kales brassica oleracea var acephala

Curly Kale

  • Grow up to 3’ high
  • Space plants 30-75cm apart

Red Russian Kale e.g. Ragged Jack

  • Up to 70cm tall, very productive CCA salad
  • Space 60cm apart
  • Can be sown in late winter, and successionally for year-round crop
  • Black Tuscan Kale
  • Over 2m high in 2nd or 3rd season, usually grown as annual
  • Space plants 40 cm apart
  • Less prone to bolting than other kales
cabbages capitata group
Cabbages – Capitata group
  • Spring cabbage (plant mid autumn)
    • E.g. Spring Hero, Durham Early, Pyramid
  • Summer cabbage (sow early spring)
    • E.g. Duchy, Derby Day, Castello
  • Autumn Cabbage (sow mid-late spring)
    • E.g. Freshma, Colt
  • Winter cabbage (sow late spring)
    • E.g. January King Hardy Late Stock 3, Marabel, Tundra
  • White cabbage (winter storage)
    • E.g. Lion, Impala
  • Red cabbage (summer.autumn)
    • E.g. Primero, Red Rookie
cultivating cabbages
Cultivating cabbages
  • Can be sown under cover for earlier crops
  • Needs open, unshaded, rich, moisture-retentive soil. Liming reduces the risk of clubroot
  • Needs high nitrogen
  • Needs firm soil, not freshly manured or freshly dug
  • Keep weed-free, remove rotted leaves
  • In dry weather, water well, heavily water before cropping
brussel sprouts
Brussel Sprouts
  • Sow under cover late winter, early spring or direct mid-spring
  • Very hardy (up to -10)
  • Up to 75cm high depending on variety
  • May need to be staked or earthed up
sprouting broccoli
Sprouting Broccoli
  • Biennial, up to 90cm
  • Perfect hungry gap veg
  • Sow mid-early summer
  • Space 2’ apart each way
  • Harvest from late winter to late spring
  • Pick regularly to encourage more cropping
  • ‘nine star perennial’ – many varieties of early purple sprouting to stagger harvesting – “Red Spear”, “Claret”, “Cardinal”
major problems
Major problems
  • Cabbage root fly – (Anthriscucsylvestris)
  • Cabbage white/caterpillar – Yellowy eggs underside leaf needs to be squashed
  • Cabbage whitefly
  • Birds
  • Slugs
  • Clubroot