If you have queries or questions about growing in Shetland please add it in the comments box below the Transition Turriefield team will answer soon.
We welcome answers, hints and tips from all growers if you’d like to add to the discussion too.
If you’d prefer to contact us directly please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
Here are some we have had recently:
Question: Some of my brassicas have fallen over and wilted, what’s causing this?
Answer: My guess would be storey worms (daddy longlegs larvae) or cabbage root fly attacking the roots. Pull one of the floppy ones up, they’re done for anyway and have a look at the roots. If it’s snipped off it will be storey worms (you’re not likely to see them still at it) and if you see white maggots, it’s cabbage root fly. Slight chance it could be clubroot, but that would be a really severe infection. That would look like swollen white lumps on the roots.
Storey worms- there’s not much you can do, maybe get hens or ducks to do other the plot before planting.
Cabbage rootfly-cover crops with mesh, or use collars around the plants. This has to go on at transplant time, no later. Clubroot-keep the soil pH at 7+ and rotate crops with at least 3 years between brassicas preferably 5. Using wood or peat ash in the transplant holes before setting the plant seems to work well at reducing its spread. Enough anyway, to get the plants big enough to cope with it.
Question: What’s wrong with my soil? I don’t see any worms, or flat worms. I’ve dug it over and put bone meal on, but nothing is really growing except creeping buttercup. It’s so annoying.
Answer: If there are no worms and compacted lumps with poor drainage you likely need to add organic matter-seaweed, manure, compost and possibly sand. Creeping buttercup suggests too acid, so get some lime in there too. It’s difficult to know without seeing it exactly what might be the problem and the best way to cure it. Doing what you’ve done is a good start. Beware too much bone meal it can lock up other nutrients. It will take a few years to remedy so don’t expect miracles in the first year.
If you take worms from the other area, they will only stay if there is sufficient organic matter for them to feed on. Creeping buttercup, you only have to remove to just below the root/stem junction. They won’t rejuvenate from just the roots, the creeping comes from runners which are obvious. But yes they are annoying. They don’t like a more pH neutral soil and will reduce as the ground improves.