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Summer Starts, Potato Harvest

Finally a promise of summer in the weather forecasts. In fact there’s a big yellow ball glowing in the sky as I write, although it won’t be long before the mass of grey cloud hides it again.

My parsnips seem to be doing well in the barrel slices but the carrots are nowhere to be seen. I’ve re-sown carrots (using different packets of seed) 4 times this year. If the latest batch don’t germinate then we won’t have any apart from a few sown in a trough in the greenhouse.

Slugs

I’ve never failed with carrots before. Yes, I’ve had poor crops and twisted odd shapes in the past but never just nothing. Perhaps it’s not just the weather, it could be slugs. This is the worst year I’ve known for slugs.

I’ve been using the Growing Success pellets, which are safe for wildlife and pets. OK, they’re a expensive but, used correctly, a tub should last a season. I’d never forgive myself if I poisoned one of our cats. Maybe I’m a little paranoid, used correctly even the metaldehyde (ordinary) slug pellets shouldn’t be a threat to pets. Used correctly means scattered very thinly, not piles around the beds or used that thickly that the soil appears blue.

The first season we were here we had very few slugs, thanks to the really cold winter killing many of them off. This year, following a mild winter they’ve proven how quickly a pest population can recover.

Harvesting Potatoes

Luckily our first early potatoes seem to have escaped the attention of the slugs. Not a very heavy crop, but very clean so the net effect is a good one. It’s annoying when you get a really good quantity of spuds but they’re full of holes, sometimes with a slug sitting in them.

I’ve had about 20Kg from the 10′ x 4′ bed, which isn’t brilliant but better than many have achieved with this rotten weather. I can really feel the pain in some of the posts and emails I’ve read about ruined crops.

I love harvesting potatoes, you never know what you’ve got until you start digging them up. Bit like gold prospecting, sometimes there’s just the odd nugget and then you hit the motherload – a bagful just clustered whitely against the dark soil.

Once emptied the bed had general fertiliser added to restore the soil from the greedy potatoes and will have leeks and possibly some more brassicas in next week. I’m just hoping we have a long late summer so things catch up. Often the best weather in Wales is in September, so I may be lucky.

In the Greenhouse

So far we’ve had two rather nice cucumbers, both variety Carmen. The seeds are pretty expensive but the fruits are excellent so worth it. Cucumber seeds will keep for 7 years (in the right conditions) so I don’t use the whole packet in one year.

The Burpless Tasty Green has a lot of immature fruits so I reckon next week we’ll be wondering what to do with them all! One of the cheapest cucumber seeds, but we think the flavour is superb. It’s a spiky fruit so you have to peel it, but that’s no trouble.

There’s a couple of Sungold tomatoes ripe. If we have a week of sun, then I think we’ll be in for a glut with tomatoes as there’s lots of green ones ready to turn..

 

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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May 2019
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