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How to Grow Sprouts and Cabbage

Both of these need a very long season of growth and can be sown as early as September of the preceding year and over-wintered in the seed bed and planted out in early April or they can be raised in heat in the greenhouse in January and pricked off into boxes and hardened off in frames. To provide continuity, further sowings may be made in a cold frame and again later outdoors in March, but for the ordinary householder a small sowing in early March and another at the beginning of April will usually suffice. Any sheltered odd corner will provide a seed bed, provided the soil is well-drained and open in texture. No animal manure is necessary for seedlings, but an egg­cupful of superphosphate per sq. yd. dusted on the surface and raked in will promote root formation. This preparation should be done a few days before the actual sowing to allow the soil to settle naturally. When larger quantities of seedlings are required special seed beds may be made-see under Seedbeds. Do not leave the plants in the boxes or seed rows too long but get them out into their cropping quarters when from 4 to 6 inches high. how to grow sprouts and cabbage

On a well dug, well manured soil which has been limed within the last two years, allow 2ft. 6ins. between plants and between the rows. Plant with a dibber and firm each plant well in by treading rather by jabbing with the dibber. During the growing season keep the soil well hoed, not only to prevent weeds developing, but aerate the soil which will stimulate root growth. Sprouts are a grand crop for cleansing and breaking up new land, the regular hoeing will check the weeds and later when the leaves grow big they will smother out any competition whilst the strong fibrous roots will frustrate and break up the stiffest soil. In the autumn, remove dead and yellowing lower leaves to allow air to circulate and also cut ofT any hopelessly blown or burst rosettes. There is no point in allowing useless foliage on the plant to drain away nourishment. Always keep the soil firm around the plant as the wind and rain will rock the heavy-topped plant and loosen its hold in the soil. To offset this tendency, draw up soil around the stems with a hoe in late September. Even on good soils sprouts will benefit from two or three appli­cations of a complete organic fertiliser, such as National Growrnore, during the growing season. Fit this in the period extending from a month after planting out until the end of September. Later application will result in soft growth which will not stand up to wintry weather. When gathering sprouts remove the bottom ones first leaving the tops until last when they make excellent spring greens. When the crop has finished do not allow them to flower and seed, but pull up the plants and chop all the soft parts up into small pieces with a sharp spade and dig into the ground and follow on with potatoes. The green material in the soil will keep the potatoes free from scab which disfigures the skin. Discard, of course, the tough woody root and put aside for burning or bury deeply, as they may be affected by club root.

Common Probelms

Caterpillars.

These are all too well-known to need description and are the progen: of those white butterflies which flit aimlessly about the garden 01 sunny days. They lay eggs in clusters on the underside of the leaves bright orange in colour, which can be easily detected if the leave are turned up every few days. If these are rubbed over with the finge it will save a lot of grief in a few days' time when they hatch out an, eat steadily everything before them.

Cabbage Root Maggot.

The maggot or grub is the result of the eggs laid by a small fly near the stem of the plant at intervals during spring and early summer The eggs hatch out and burrow into the underground portion of the stem, destroying the root system, and ultimately the foliage turns, steely-blue green and the whole plant collapses and dies. Usually b) the time this happens the plants are beyond hope and little or nothin] can be done about it. Tn this case, prevention is absolutely essential and there is nothing better for this purpose than peat impregnatec with neat Jeyes' fluid at the rate of about a pint to a two-gallor bucket of granulated peat. Scatter this in a six-inch circle arounc the stems of the seedlings after planting and renew the applicatior at intervals until the end of June when the risk of attack is reduced In some areas where this pest is very bad and especially in dr~ weather, this will be found to be the only way to grow cauliflower: which are particularly susceptible. It will also keep slugs away.

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