Helping crops grow well in winter
- Our celery plants are doing fine, but they’re not growing as quickly as they could, despite the fact that the soil is rich with nutrients.
- Rob has decided to apply liquid humic and fulvic acid to our plants to give them a boost. Humic and fulvic acid helps release fertilisers in the soil that are locked up. Use at the rates of 20ml per litre as a soil drench as required and 10ml per litre as a foliar spray once or twice a month.
- Structurally, humic acids are large molecules containing a huge amount of oxygen and carboxyl groups. These oxygenated areas on the molecule attract and bind with trace minerals in the soil that would otherwise be unavailable to the plant. Humic acid improves the quality of the soil by increasing its ability to retain water and helping to facilitate the movement of nutrients from one soil particle to another. Fulvic acid accelerates the absorption of nutrients by aiding the transport of these nutrients across the pathways by which they enter the plant. The result is more rapid growth and bigger yields.
- Rob then removes the bird netting over the celery and leeks and replaces it with Mikroclima to create a cloche. This cloche protects crops from the damaging effects of heavy rain but lets the water in. And Mikroclima cloth over your plants can increase soil temperatures by 3-4 per cent.
- The leeks, at the end of the celery bed, are at their maximum height now. They don’t need hilling up any more. The extra warmth created by the cloche will help them fatten up.
Making a winter salad
- The watercress we planted as a companion plant around the celery is growing well and needs cutting back, so we’ve decided to make a winter salad with watercress as one of the ingredients. Rob also picks a few stalks from the cutting celery (make sure you use the leaves of cutting celery as well as the stalks).
- The winter salad greens bed is looking fabulous after 10 weeks of growing. See here for how to plant a winter salad bed. It’s not too late to get one in.
- Rob picks red and green mustard to provide a bit of heat, red and green Mizuna for colour and bulk, a few leaves of radicchio and endive to add bitterness which aids digestion, then English spinach, plantago, Miner’s lettuce and Corn salad.
- Rinse the leaves, then chop them up and pop in a salad spinner (if you have one).
- Rob dresses his salad with locally-produced Extra Virgin Olive oil and Honeygar (apple cider vinegar with honey). The addition of honey offsets the bitter taste of some of the winter salad greens.
- Top the salad with sunflower and pumpkin seeds (toast them first if you have the time). And enjoy the goodness of your own wonderful produce!
Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
Production equipment and post-production services provided by The Black Forest Breathes