Monday, September 1, 2014

Early broad beans and silverbeet chlorosis

As you would have read in my last post, I went to the Hamilton market on Saturday with some more unusual veg, and I sold out of the lot. The scorzonera and kurrajong roots flew off the table. I love this market as the people in Hamilton love to try new and unusual fruit and vegetables.

I know I said I wouldn't but I think I will put in another couple of beds of kurrajong this year. They can be grown quite close together so the beds will pay their way.

After the warm weather we had over the last couple of weeks my broad beans are setting very early. I am going to have a huge crop this year.

I notice that the more unusual varieties like the crimson flowered and black seeded are setting earlier than the 'usual' ones. This should be good to extend my season in future years. It will be goot to have some that set in cooler weather.

Unfortunately I am noticing a lot of rust on my self seeded ones, probably because they started growing earlier than the others and were at a more mature stage during the wetter weather.

I never pull plants that are suffering from disease as I want only those with resistance to grow so this is the best way to select for resistance. Only those that cope well and produce seed breed.

The rust seems severe but doesn't seem to be stopping the plants from flowering and growing, they might be a tiny bit more stunted but not noticably so. It will be interesting to see if they set seed.

With the warmer weather the kohlrabi is extending flowering stems. I took some good kohlrabi to the market and also chopped off the stems of the sprouting ones and sold them separately. The thick extending stems are delicious peeled and either eaten raw or slightly steamed. My customers were happy to buy them - many of them seem to come to the market now just to see what new and interesting stuff I have.

I have noticed over the past month or so that a couple of the silverbeet plants are showing sever chlorosis of the leaves. This is usually caused by an iron deficiency although most of the plants are fine.

I will keep an eye on it and if more plants come down with it I might have to do something about it next year.

Iron deficiency is usually not caused by not enough iron in the soil, but too cold and wet conditions, especially if the soil is compacted, or too much phosphorous in the soil.

If my silverbeet don't start getting better in this warmer weather it will be a phosphorous problem but I think it is the cold and wet. As it is affecting only a couple of plants that is a good way to select against plants that can't cope as well in those conditions if I was going to let this patch go to seed. If I wanted seed from this bed I would pull out those weak plants now.

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