After what seems like months of wet and cloudy weather the sun has finally put its hat on this weekend. A little sunshine is just what the allotment has been desperate for. Despite it being almost August it feels like the season is only really just getting going in earnest. With a list of jobs to do as long as our arms we took the opportunity to make hay whilst the sun shines.
The wet and warm weather of late has bought disease and pestilence to Plot 18a. With a blight warning being issues for the area since back in mid June. As we do not spray on 18a, trying to be as organic as possible their sitting ducks waiting for blight to strike. Blight infection is dependent on a specific combinations of temperature and rainfall periods or Smith Periods. Which involves at least two consecutive days where the min temperature is 10ºC or above and on each day there is at least 11 hours when the relative humidity is greater than 90%. So… that’s pretty much been the weather in the UK for most of the summer! Tomatoes are particularly susceptible to Blight. For the past 3 years our tomatoes have succumbed to blight inevitably. Doomed almost from the moment their sown to fungal early death. Most reasonable years we manage to harvest a modest crop of toms. The memory of the handful here and there of super sweet Sungold cherry tomatoes, warned by the sun is usually enough to help to forget the previous years heartache. This year however despite growing some of the healthiest, strongest outdoor tomatoes we’ve ever managed, we’ve had no ripe tomatoes, not a Dicky bird.
Not only had we lost our tomatoes but it had also spread to our potatoes, something that hasn’t happened to us before. In particular it had struck the International Kidneys. preferring to grow first and second early’s to avoid the blighty months, usually most of our potatoes are up and out before the tomatoes start to suffer with blight. But not this crazy season. This years spuds are pretty shabby. Losing half to rot during the heavy rains and the rest looking dog-eared and slug attack ragged our early’s have still been sitting in the ground. So to prevent the spread of blight we cut all the halums down to the ground, harvested our early’s and left some second early’s, Kestrel and some main crop, Pink Fir Apple in the ground for a few more weeks. Fingers crossed they remain safe, especially the Pink Fir whom are particularly susceptible blight.
But it wasn’t all disease and pestilence down the plot. This weekend we finally got see some sunshine! In fact it was shh, don’t say it too loud a bit too hot! I know I know it’s all or nothing with the summer weather this year. Between lazing under the umbrella and watching the bees buzzing around in the flowering marjoram we had some very productive pottering about.
Transplanted our Leeks (Bleu de Solaise) into the final position.
Tidied up the sweet peas that were looking tired and bedraggled.
Summer pruned the Soft fruit minarette trees.
cut back and tidied up the companion plants so they don’t overrun the joint. Nasturtiums and Poach Egg plants are running a mock down the plot.
The Dahlias are beginning to bloom.
Harvest a modest crop of tatties, not bad with blight and all.
Feed the courgettes, pumpkins and squashes with Comfrey tea.
With the sunny hot weather set to stay in the South-east for the rest of the week the ripening of fruits and a good growth spurt should be in order. Just a real shame it’s too late for our tragic tomatoes. Green tomato chutney anyone?