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Tomatoes
This section will feature one way of planting tomatoes. The steps are as follows: You seed them in pots at home or in a green house. When they have their second set of leaves, you transplant them into a larger pot. This step can be repeated as often as necessary until they can be planted in their final place.
You can use milk cartons or liter bottles if they get really long. You just remove all leaves except the very top ones and more roots will be formed along the stem that is under the soil.
Now, when it is time to plant them in their final place (the ground) you make a shallow trench with a deeper place at one end. This is where the main root ball will go. Lay the plant on its side and cover it completely except for the very top leaves. Prop these up and place a plastic cup or an empty flower pot over the root ball and partially submerged in the soil.
You give water in the cup to the deep roots and along the underground stem. I have read that the deep roots take-up water and the roots nearer the surface take up nutrition.
The reason for planting the plants in this way is that the tom's roots like warmth and when planted this way, they get extra. By laying the plants on their sides the covered stem roots are closer to the surface. When plant gets this extra warmth it will grow faster than plants that have their roots planted deeper in the still cold soil. This is helpful, as here in the north we have a shorter growing season.
Leave the tom facing the sun for a couple of days to get a "bend", making it easier to plant properly.
The "bend" makes the foilage naturally curl upwards putting less stress on the tender stem tip.
TRANSPLANTING TOMATOES
When you transplant tomatoes, remove all leaves except the very top ones.
When transplanting tomatoes, always plant them deeper than they were. Only the top leaves should be sticking-out above the soil.
When you are transplanting the toms out, lay them on their sides in the little furrow that you have made so that it will form roots all along the stem.
This is the way the planted toms should look with their watering cups. Don't forget to water over the horizontal stems underground. You can mark them with sticks for so you won't forget...see the pic on the right. We have used cane segments.
The toms are planted amongst the butterleaf lettuces, maximising the space available. The lettuces will be picked in a couple of weeks and then the toms will have all the nutrition for themselves.
We make little newspaper planter pots for seeding with this wooden impliment.
I just fill it with my compost, insert the bean and cover that with a fine seeding soil.
Runner Beans
There are all kinds of ways that one can seed and plant their beans, I will show just one of them here below.
We begin by making paper seeding "cups" out of newspaper with a special little paper roller that we found in Britain. These will be filled with garden soil, the seeds will be planted in this and then covered with a fine compost.
You water them once then place them together in a container in the green house to germinate.
They should be up within a week. Wait a few days to to give the roots time to form a decent clump, then plant them in the place where they will grow.
We select a place where the beans will come the year before the planting time.
Once a place has been selected, it is a good idea to make a trench, fill it with compost or weed cuttings (earlier in the year), and work it through with regular ground.
Use a tulip planter to make the holes (it should be like a hot knife cutting through soft butter if the soil texture is correct), fill the holes with water then lower the plantlets in and cover. When you have finished planting the row, water it once again...then let Mother Nature do her thing and do YOUR thing: defrost and clean the freezer.
Ready to plant
Runner beans with a nice root clump in the newspaper seeding "cup"
The trench mixed and raked... bean-ready.
Lower the root clump into the hole that has been filled with water.
The beans planted and watered- in, it is a question of time and weather before they begin climbing and blooming.
Just water liberally and cover, placing a "watering cup"over the root ball.
Don't forget our rule of thumb: the frost threat is not past until after the IJsheiligen (11 May - 14 May).
Even then you should be aware of weather changes for a couple of weeks more.
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Asparagus
The cultivation of asparagus on our complex is not widespread, but there are a few folks that are making the effort.
I visited Gerard Schepers, Lottie 262 and he explained how he does asparagus.

The process of growing asparagus is a long and sometimes tedious job. Having said that, the hardest work is in the beginning stages with the ground preparation and development of the mound; after that, it is a relatively simple matter of maintenance. Perhaps the best aspect of all is that once the bed had been made, it can be used for 10 - 12 years.
When it comes to harvesting…well who's going to complain about that! One must only be careful when removing the stalks.
The procedure that is described here is one that you follow every year until the bed has finished producing.

PREPARATION
The first thing to do is to decide if you want green or white asparagus.
Next decide if you want to buy seeds to plant (which will cost you an extra year before the first harvest) or buy
klauwen (root clumps). Gerard chose for the latter.

PLANTING
You choose a sunny location with sandyish soil if at all possible.
(1) In March, dig a trench about 30-40 cm deep (± the depth of a spade). The length depends upon how many plants you want to have.
(2) When the trench is dug, make a small "ridge" in the middle on the bottom of the trench. You then place the klauwen(roots) flat on top of this ridge, with the roots spread-out like a spider and space them four per meter. Fill half the trench with the sandy soil that you dug out to make the trench. The plantlet roots (klauwen) are to be covered completely…and then just wait.
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WAITING/MAINTAINANCE
Let the plants grow until October, at which time; you clip the plants off just above soil level
(3). Add a little sandy soil as necessary. When March rolls around again, mound-up your plants (4) before the asparagus grows out of the soil. Just wait until about early May.

HARVESTING
The time from first planting to the first harvest is fourteen months.
You know it's time to begin harvesting when you see the points breaking-through the soil on top of the mound.
The first year you harvest you can only harvest for about two weeks, then you must stop in order not to "wear-out" the plants. Harvesting in the following years can extend to ± 21 June before terminating the harvest.
Gerard harvests about eight asparaguses from his bed per day; however, he says that when things are really going well, it is better and in fact necessary to harvest TWICE a day.
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HARVESTING METHOD
In early May you will see small, thick, white points protruding through the top of your mound
(5). It's time to harvest!
Begin removing the soil around the asparagus point with your index fingers. To work deeper, use your index and middle fingers forked-apart
(6). Carefully remove more and more soil until you have reached the depth that you want (7). You can then cut it with your special tool (8). You may notice other points working their way upwards; just leave these, as they will be ready the following day or perhaps the day after (9).
When you have removed the stalk, refill the hole so that the other upcoming stalks won't become discoloured.
Sometimes you see that the stalks are a bit reddish-coloured or "blue" as they call them here, and this means that they have had some light exposure. You can't sell these to a restaurant, he says, but the flavour is not affected, actually.
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SAVING THEM
When they have been removed from the bed place them in a bucket of water for one or two days, then wrap them in a moist cloth and place them in the fridge until you have enough for a meal
(10 & 11).

YOU CAN DO IT THIS WAY TOO
There are a couple of other allotmenteers that are cultivating "green" asparagus. Here we see a pair of fotos from two different plots.
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They say that good tools are half the work. This is the a specialized tool that is used to cut the asparagus stalks below the soil.
Asparagus cultivated above ground has a slightly different taste.
This shows a proper mound, but it was taken at harvest time.
Runners coming up
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Planting Calender
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Contents of this page:
Monthly Comment
Tomatoes,Runner Beans, Asparagus
This plastic covering has a white and a black side. White for sunny and warm weather, black for cloudy and cool weather
SEPTEMBER Well, harvesting is drawing to a close for many things, but not all by a long shot. Some folks' freezers and larders are completely full already but there's more to come. You may think that planting and sowing has finished for the year, but that isn't true…there are plenty of things to sow, plant and harvest still and I shall mention a few below. Freezing-in isn't the only thing that's being done to preserve fruits and veggies from our gardens, some are making jellies, jams and sauce with their fruits. Allotmenteers are also drying herbs and grinding them up in some cases for use later. Hot and sweet peppers are being processed and put away for later use as well.
Let's take a look at what can be done this month:

SOWING
Perpetual Spinach - The last sowing for winter harvesting should be in late September. Lettuce - in short rows. Witloof/Chicory - And you can begin harvesting from off November. Endive - can be harvested from October.

PLANTING
Spring Cabbages - Take the little pots that you've seeded them in and plant them out. Like all plants in this family, be sure that you firm the soil quite well around them. The soil may also be a little above the previous soil line on their little stalks. All these measures are suggested to improve the plant's chances in combating clubroot.

HARVESTING
Runner beans and French beans are still producing on my plot so continue to harvest those. Beetroot, carrots, courgettes, cucumbers , kohl rabi, lettuces, sweet corn, toms and turnips are ready as well as the leeks, pumpkins and celery. Butternut squash will be ready this month as well. If you didn't finish harvesting your main crop of potatoes in August then you'll need to get the rest out in September.

FRUIT
Apples, plums and blackberries are dominating the fruit category this month. Our Reina Victoria doesn't have another plum on its branches, but I have seen plenty of trees that still do and these plums are still for sale along the country roads in this area of West-Friesland.
Pruning is something that needs to be done to your Reina Victoria plum trees now when the picking is over. Pruning and tying-up of the blackberry bushes can be done after fruiting towards the end of the month. Summer raspberries can be pruned as well.
Finish planting your summer-fruiting strawbs if you still have a few to do.

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© Sjoerd 2006-2015