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Frieslanders, harvested 24 juni
Growing Potatoes
Everyone who has ever grown potatoes has their own method of planting and managing them until harvest.The compilation of collected illustrations and text in this segment are meant to aid the first-timer as a guide or to refresh the old hand's memory. The planting schedule is handy for anyone of course, it also gives a good idea of the time needed between planting and harvesting.
Some plots of ground have club-root present in the soil and the growing of brassicas are virtually impossible because of it. Club-root is caused by the fungus, Plasmodiophora brassicae. Plants infected with this illness are typified by signs of grey leaves, retarded growth, root distortion and swelling, with eventual rotting-away of the roots and plant death. It is known that this fungus can stay in the ground for many years and there is no viable chemical agent that is approved to combat it.

Having said this, there are some things that CAN be done if you really are serious about growing brassicas on an infected patch of ground. You can certainly use containers filled with known "clean" soil, but you can also use the technique described below.

I will describe how we grow broccoli. The first step is to plant your seeds at home in commercially bagged seeding soil and let them germinate on your windowsill in a warmed propagator.

Once the seedlings come up, remove the plantlets from the warmth and transplant them - one plantlet to one pot. You let them stay in this little pot (we use plastic coffee cups) until the plants get a couple more sets of leaves and the roots begin to need room. At this point they go into a larger pot (say, the size that small house plants come in).

When they have taken-on the appearance of a larger and sturdy plant with several leaf sets and have roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, plant them in wider pots and begin acclimatising them, moving them outside and placing them under some sort of gauze. They will stay here until they have VERY substantial root systems
(1) and have grown to the top of the gauze tunnel. By this time it should be late spring or the beginning of summer and it is time to set them in the ground.
Soak those plants in buckets of non-chlorinated water,e.g. rain water, while you are planting other ones
Just look at this gorgeous root system. EM was used.
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Contents of this page:
Brassicas in "Sick Soil"
Growing Potatoes
Witloof Chicory
Brassicas in "Sick Soil"
Stall the plants out and organise your working space
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Now, before you set them out, some ground preparation is necessary. The first thing to do is to dig a hole that is at least eight fingers wider than the pot that they are growing in and at least four fingers deeper (2). You fill the hole with commercially bagged fertilized garden soil (3). Mix in a handful or two of
calcium
(4).
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You are now ready to plant your broccoli plants. Water the hole and lower the plant gently down into it (4+5). Fill-in with more of the bagged garden soil and
firm-up
(6). You can plant the plants a little deeper than the orininal soil level. This way they will stand stronger in the earth. DO NOT USE ANY OF YOUR
GARDEN SOIL ANYWHERE NEAR THIS ESPECIALLY WORKED AREA. When all plants have been planted this way, water them in again and re-cover them with the gauze
(7). The gauze protects them from whitefly. If you have a long tunnel you can grow carrots and parsnips under there as well. It will keep the carrot fly
out.

* TIP 1:
The root system is everything. The bigger and more extensive it is, the less chance there is of club-root infection. We used EM to facilitate this and have gotten some exceptional root clumps... in spite of the cool temperatures.
"TIP 2: The main purpose of going to all this trouble is to isolate your plant from infected ground, so be very careful not to let any of your patch soil get mixed-in
with the commercial soil.
All finished...now the rest!
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Tidy up the area when the work is finished
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Witloof Chicory
Chicory, or 'Belgian Endive', as it is also known, is a leafy plant with a long taproot. It is grown for its "new growth" or chicons which are forced in the dark. There are several techniques to attain the chicon, and all are a bit exotic; however, here we will outline the way that we do it. It is important to note that there are two types of chicory seeds to buy - one type requires the covering of the new leaf growth with sand and the other type doesn't. If you use the method described below, you will need the type that does NOT require covering.

STAGE ONE - On the plot
The soil type is not as important as the fact that it must be well-drained, so that it won't interfere with the taproot development and removal. What I mean by this is that ideally you want a single taproot (sort of like a carrot or parsnip…one root with no branch-offs). Further, you want to be able to easily remove your plant without damaging the root in the process. It seems that they tend to like poor soil better than rich.
Just a note about nitrogen: You want to avoid an excess of soil nitrogen because it could cause excessive foliage production which takes away from the proper root formation. It could also be responsible for the formation of loose or open chicons, which is not the desirable goal of chicory production.

Seeding
Select the seed type that you want and plant in the ground where you want to grow it. Thin the plantlets out to a distance of ~15 cm apart, or a handbreadth. The rows should be ±30 cm apart. The looser the soil, the better the taproots can grow straight and deep.
You don't really have to do much until the fall. The plants happily produce leaves and just grow and grow.

Removing the plants
You can lift the plants anywhere between September and December, depending upon the climatic conditions, the plant root rate of development and of course, the plant sort. You can investigate the root development from time to time if you are unsure; however, witloof is lifted usually in October in these parts.
Carefully lift the plants and shake the dirt off of the roots, then lay them out to 'rest' for a period of at least two weeks. We leave them in the field for a few days then take them home to finish this rest period on a coolish and shaded side-balcony. This rest period that I am talking about is quite important if you want to get nice, sturdy chicons. *TIP:
If you have a large crop and room is a problem, you can wrap the bare roots and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to re-plant them.
After a minimum of fourteen days you can then remove the leaves (to 3 cm above the root top) and then remove the tips of the roots (making a root length of ~20 cm) as well as all side root bits, leaving a single, leafless root.
When cutting the leaves off, make a straight cut with a sharp knife. *TIP:
The longer the leaves, the longer the stubble should be.
The harvested chicons, ready for eating.
STAGE TWO - Forcing
Now that they have rested, they are ready to be replanted. There are many different ways to do this - everything from underground to in containers at home, but the one aspect that all methods have in common is that there must be no light available to the newly forming leaves.
We have selected an old, plastic clothes hamper
(1). Fill it to between ½ and ¾ full with soil (keeping in mind that the chicons must not reach the cover). Pack those roots in there good but leave some room for the new leaves (chicon) to form without touching each other, where moisture accumulates, the leaves will brown. Plant the roots to just under the stubble, leaving the crown showing; give them water and cover with a top or a black plastic rubbish bin liner (2). We put a plastic tube in the centre of the 'colony' to add water from time to time (3). *TIP:Staggering the re-planting of the roots will give you chicons throughout the winter, otherwise harvesting them all at once will require some imaginative recipes and quite a bit of eating in a very short period of time. This is where keeping the roots in the fridge comes in.
Airing is important as well, to avoid fungal formation. *TIP: Do this at night when it's dark.
It is possible that you will have your first chicons after three weeks. The temperature determines the speed at which the chicons will develop. It is recommended that the temp range should be 12-15°C (55-60°F)
When removing the chicons to eat, hold the chicon firmly with one hand and make a slanted cut with the other
(4). Do this as carefully as you can as to not bruise or damage the neighbouring chicons.
--Note that some folks use hydroponics instead of soil to force the new leaves to form.
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