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Potato Blight, Allotment Competition Predictions

Thursday

Blight has struck the tomatoes and before someone says it’s not the right time of year – which it isn’t ? this is the worst year I’ve ever known for fungus type problems. So resorted to the dreaded Dithane and gave them a spray to hopefully arrest progress. I removed the worst affected leaves, which went into the rubbish rather than compost and, since I had to make up 2.25 litres, I had loads over so gave the roses a spray and the crab apple tree. They all have various problems like blackspot and scab.


Friday


I’ve been really pulled out with work, it’s incredible how some simple tasks take so long. I’m off to Alicante, Spain on Monday for a meeting and I had to book flights and also book my Norwegian colleague from Oslo to Alicante and then Alicante to Heathrow. Since money wasn’t the prime concern you would think no problem. Web sites where some clever programmer has decided that since my IP address is in the UK so I couldn’t possibly want a single from Alicante to Heathrow and these clever people have never heard of Firefox. Rant over, job now done.


Potatoes


By 4pm today I decided to call it POETS day (if you don’t know the acronym, it’s rude and means leave early, tomorrow is Saturday) and headed for the plot. We have new potatoes, although most are not quite ready yet. I’m pretty pleased to say we still have a sack of last year’s maincrop so we have achieved self-sufficiency in potatoes.


The maincrop on plot 5 are not doing as well as those on plot 29 by a long chalk. I had a talk with Steve from plot 2, who is a very good grower and we agreed to split a load of manure at the back-end of the year. Apart from nutrition, it should help improve the soil structure. Despite the leafmould, which I reckon I make more of than anyone else on the site, and compost added to the soil it is cracking and like concrete plus hard to get a fine tilth on at the best of time.


To try and boost their performance the main crop and second earlies all got a fair handful of fish, blood and bone per plant.


There is nothing to compare with the taste of your own new potatoes, just a few hours out of the ground. Delicious!


Onions


The Japanese onions at the top of plot 5 are quite small ? not spring onions despite Larry’s humorous comments but more pickling onions than prize winners. This leads me more to the conclusion I need to get a load of manure this year. Lifted the ones at the top and they’re on the drying cage now then partially lifted those further down to break the roots, Quite a few have bolted, but they will keep us going until the main crop is in.


The Ailsa Craig onions look really good and I’ll be growing those again next year if the taste is anything like,


Garlic


Took up a few garlic that looked ready in a deep bed on plot 29 but they’re not. I’m more than a bit concerned, as they haven’t really bulbed up. Not my best year so far on the site. Another crop I normally do pretty well with but not this year.


Broad Beans


The bean plants are a little feeble but I think I will end up with enough. Next year I’m going to go back to autumn sown Aquedulce I think. My broad bean crops are usually amongst the best on the site. Definitely losing my touch.


Watering and Weeding


Most of my time was spent watering and whilst the sprinkler was going I weeded a couple of beds on plot 29. It’s incredible how dry the soil is now, cracking like a desert riverbed. Goodness knows how people are coping with hosepipe bans in the south. Considering that just a month ago I thought about planting rice because things were so wet and that we’ve had a few nights of rain it really is amazing. Anyway, both plots had a fair soaking.


Site Walk


I took a little stroll around the site and was really impressed how Pete has built a little garden around a sunken half-barrel pond. It’s really quite beautiful and the pond is ecologically sound as well. He’s doing an excellent job of his plot that he jokingly calls Glastonbury because of the tent cloches.


Allotment Competition


The judging is on Tuesday and I’ll be away, which is a real shame, as I would have liked to pick brains about things that aren’t going well on the plot. This year it doesn’t look half as well as it did last year. I was hoping to have a go for a first this year but I am sure I’ll get third as there are only three entrants! Lucky for me, there aren’t four in the running or I would be unplaced. I don’t know why more people don’t enter because there must be half a dozen plots better than mine on the site.

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