Celery is a popular salad and soup vegetable but is not the easiest vegetable to grow. With lots of care and attention it can be grown successfully. Although celery has traditionally been grown in deep trenches to produce white stalks, there are varieties now available which do not need this special treatment
Because celery seed is tiny and slow to germinate, sow it in seed trays and then transplant the seedlings into the garden when they're 15 cm high. Alternatively, you can buy established seedlings. Celery must have constant moisture so add plenty of compost and well rotted manure to the soil before planting to increase the water-holding capacity of the soil. Do not add lime because celery prefers a pH of 5.8 to 6.0 (slightly acid).
Plant out celery Into the garden between March and April, placing the plants approximately 30 cm apart. Mulch them well. Stalks can be harvested when fully developed. Leaf spot is the main disease to affect celery — control it with Bordeaux mixture.
Choko is a useful climbing plant to grow over the chicken yard, or on a trellis or fence. It will produce well if planted in a sunny spot in medium-rich soil. Start from a sprouted tuber which should be placed eight cm below the soil level. Water it regularly and the fruits should be ready for picking in four to five months. One plant is generally sufficient for the average family. Years ago, poor families cooked sliced choko in sugar and water to produce 'mock stewed pears'. The result does actually taste like pears.
Cucumbers are a welcome addition to summer salads and they're easy to grow in the home garden. Crystal apple is a heavy yielder with apple shaped fruit Green gem also produces well. Allow quite a large area for this crop because, being a vine it will spread rapidly as it grows. In the centre of the bed dig a hole 30 cm square and fill it with a mixture of compost and well rotted manure.
Sow four to six seeds in this prepared area and apply a light mulch. Thin out the weaker seedlings when they're 10 cm high, leaving three plants to grow on. Plant seeds from September to December. When the vines are well established mulch them heavily to keep the fruit clean. Foliar fertilise them with seaweed every two weeks to help control moulds and mildews. Delicious cooked in stir fries!
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