'‘Take away the flea beetle, and we will do the rest" I fancy I hear many harassed kitchen gardeners groaning this. Well, I have said my say in an earlier chapter about the arch-enemy, and I can add no more now.
When we have a cycle of dry summers Turnip-growing is difficult; when we have a series of wet ones it is easy. That sums up the story. Even in dry seasons we may be able to get Turnips by going to work early and late in the year. A sowing in February or March will often give a crop when a sowing in April, May, or June results in failure. Again, a July sowing may come to grief, and a patch put down in August or September will yield well.
Turnips love coolness, and anything that can be done by deepening the soil, by shading, and by watering, to give them the conditions they prefer is likely to be rewarded. Further, dustings with soot and wood ashes in early morning, when the young plants are probably wet with dew, will help them to fight the enemy. It is a great thing to keep them moving when young, and so get them quickly into the rough leaf stage. This is not everything, for I know to my cost that there is never a stage when the beetle will not attack them, but it is much. Sowing broadcast, in the shade of Peas or other crops, is preferable to sowing in exposed rows.
Those who have a warm border should certainly try a February sowing, say, of Early Milan. A little protection can be given if a very cold spell comes after the plants are through, even if it consists in nothing more than laying bushy Pea sticks over the bed. In March, Snowball, or one of its class, may be sown. For April and May sowings I prefer Red Globe and Green Round. They may not be quite so delicate in flavour, but they are far less liable to run to seed. For late summer sowings Cannells' Model, Dobbies' Model, Orange Jelly (Golden Ball), or Chirk Castle may be sown. The two first named are good varieties for pulling to use in October or November. The others are varieties which may be stored over the winter.
Fig. 88. A Vegetable Marrow On A Wire Frame.