More Root Crops
The main root crops may be sown in June or early
July––beet (earthly June), maincrop carrots (June or early July) and swedes
(mid-June). The sowing of beet and carrots was dealt with in the
April Guide (p.3), so the details will not
be repeated here.
Bear in mind, too, that the above times for swing are merely
general reminders, and that gardeners must have regard to local conditions
and advice from the experienced. For instance, as to carrots, in the
midlands and the north, mid-June is regarded as the latest date to sow with
an assurance of a good crop; while in the south and west, sowings may often
be made with safety up to mid-July. Another point is that late-sown carrots
are less liable to attacks by the "fly" than those sown earlier in the year.
Swedes are a safer crop in some districts than turnips. They can
stand the cold better and can be left in the ground until after Christmas.
Though there are garden varieties of swedes, the field sorts such as "Best
of All: and "Eclipse" are really the best to grow.
Swedes are usually sown in mid-June (earlier in the north) in
drills 15 in. apart and 1 in. deep. The Ministry's plan provides for two
rows, but don't grow them if you don't like them. The seedlings of field
sorts should be thinned to 9 in. apart.
For those who like to try out unusual vegetables, Kohl Rabi is a
useful crop to grow on very light soils where turnips are risky owning to
drought or flea beetle attacks. You can still sow it in June in the seedbed,
transplanting to rows 15 in. apart with 8 in. between plants. It is better,
however, to drill in the ordinary way, like swedes and turnips, and thin
out. Kohl Rabi should not be stored for any length of time, but
should be eaten soon after lifting.
A word about
Before the full spate of summer vegetables begins, a few words
about gathering crops may not be out of place. Gather in the morning or
evening, when they are fresh and not limp from the sun; handle them
carefully, so that they come into the kitchen fresh and tempting. More
important, however, is to gather crops before they are past their prime. It
is a mistake to leave batches of cabbages, lettuces, peas and other
vegetables until the whole crop is ready for use. So often the gardener
cannot bring himself to gather his vegetables before they are fully matured,
with the result that when they are ready, he is unable to cope with them all
at once and many go to waste. Use your vegetables on the young side; they
are more tasty, and the scientists tell us they do you more good than when
they are old and tending to be tough. On the other hand, of course, don't be
extravagant about it. There is no sense in picking them so young that a
whole crop is used up in a meal or two.