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Mark Saunders' A to Z

On April 26 2010, Mark Saunders gave COGS a highly informative, and entertaining, presentation of Vegetable growing tips. These were given as an A to Z list, which Mark agreed for COGS to reproduce here.

Asparagus - stake growth after June to ensure a better crop next year.

Aubergine - sow in January/February as it needs a long growing season.

Brocolli/Brussel Sprouts - needs protection from Pigeons all the time.

Carrots - protect from Carrot Root Fly with fleece.

Chard - try growing amonst flowers/annuals in a border.

Compost - essential addition whatever the soil.

Cucumber - indoor varieties hate any cold draughts or temps in early development.

Diary - keep a diary of sowing, planting and harvesting to aid memory.

Easy veg - Radish, Shallots, Beetroot, Kale, Potato, Pumpkins, Courgettes.

Feeding - base dressing before planting, Tomatoes are hungry feeders.

Fennel - goes to seed easily if left to dry out or stressed as a seedling.

Fleece - useful addition for Carrots, Cabbage and early Lettuce.

F1 hybrids - bred to give superior, even growth and disease resistance.

Garlic - divide bulb in November and plant in a 3" pot before planting out in March.

Greenhouse - allows you to get so much more from vegetable growing.

Hoe - many types of which the SWOE is superior.

Intercropping - catch crops of quick growing veg planted amongst slower types.

Jerusalem Artichoke - persistent re-grower if not dug up thoroughly first time.

Kale - cheap easy to grow alternative to Cabbage that lets you pick 1 leaf.

Leek - making holes for leeks is so much easier with a metal crowbar!

Lettuce - try loose leaf or picking lettuce which again let you harvest 1 leaf.

Marrow/Courgettes - will crop better if picked every day (even if you don't need them).

New varieties - Pak Choi Rubi, Broad Bean Karmazyn, Runner Bean St George.

Onions - do not feed as roots are sensitive.

Organisation - being organised is key to successful vegetable growing.

Parsnips - slow to germinate so mark ends of the rows.

Pepper - sow early for longest growing season and give sunny site for growth.

Planning - draw out your plot and plan your rotation in early Autumn.

Plug trays - multiple advantages for indoor sowing over direct sowing outdoors.

Potato - if Blight strikes remove all top growth immediately.

Question - what do you do, what you grow, what advice you are given.

Radish - try different colours - purple, white, biscuit, pink, black.

Rotation - helps to prevent a build up of vegetable diseases and pests.

Seed companies - using more than one gives you better choice and more variety.

Shallots - keep the best for sowing next year and eat the rest.

Sweet Corn - if growing super sweet types only grow 1 variety to avoid starchiness.

Tomato - if blight strikes remove all fruit immediately and ripen in trays.

Understanding - light, heat and water requirements will help improve yields.

Vegetable shows - a good way of increasing knowledge and finding good varieties

Watering - less watering helps improve flavour and makes for stronger plants.

eXercise - vegatable growing is a very good way of keeping fit and healthy.

Yellow Tomatoes - colourful vegetables are very good for your diet.

Z - if you manage all that then the zzzzzz's will come easily!