Blight and possibly a new seed circle

I ditched that jam. The sloe taste really isn’t nice, though it did set very well.

We had a full Smith Period warning in the week and the tomatoes have mostly got blight now. The fruit are pretty acid green so I am not sure that they will turn at home. I’ve decided I’m not growing tomatoes outside at the plot next year – it’s just not worth it. Though saying that now – I bet next year I grow too many, feel lucky and still stick a few out to chance it… As it is, if the rest of the plants in the cave go, at least I can take it down for the year and start prepping for the greenhouse.

My neighbours came over with their little boy on Saturday – we dug up the Desirees, harvested beans, achocha and a few tomatoes, and he went round the field naming every shed. The Desirees were huge, but not numerous (2.5kg from 3 seed spuds, so 1kg behind the yield from the bag). One was the size of Piero’s shoe, but was rotten most of the way through. Most of the spuds have slug holes in, so we’ll have to use them quickly. My nematodes were obviously overwhelmed.

The strawberry beds need a bit of sorting – there are a few plants I want to compost and now I’ve got rid of all my runners the rest really could do with spacing out more. The top strawberry and currant bed has sunk by 6 inches, become compacted and the soil is very deeply cracked. I wonder whether taking all the strawberries out of there, forking over the top and topping with a 50/50 mix of manure and topsoil would be worthwhile. Though this would be a job for next Spring, looking at all the other things I want to get done this year.

The courgettes are nearly all finished – they mostly gave in to a mildew attack a few weeks ago. Next year I’ll try to remember to sow a couple more in July to give me a longer season. And to water a bit more consistently to try and keep the mildew at bay.

After one final slog the 1.2m x 4.8m navy bed has been dug, sifted & weeds removed. Because it’s on a slope which I want to level out, I am adding barrows of my oldest rotted manure with bags of ‘aged’ (ie bagged up last year and forgotten about!) topsoil from further up the plot. So far it’s had 4 barrows of manure and 5 rubble bags of topsoil. I reckon about another 6-7 bags of topsoil should do it. Once that’s done  the last 30 saffron and my broccoli & leftover kale can go in.

I’m also raising the paths with a combination of spare soil and a topping of hardcore from the road I am digging up on the other side. I hope that this will help with drainage and reducing the amount of waterlogging on the plot – though I’ll still get water from higher up the field.

Next up is the second pink bed and the path between it and the navy bed. The scrappy, cheap tarp I put down in January has degraded and is disintegrating into little strips of green plastic. It needs packing up and binning. Going on the experience of digging the plot so far, there will be sheets of old carpet buried under there too. Yay.

In other news, Hampton Court’s Kitchen Gardener has said yes to being in a local seed circle next year, and so has the head of the local primary school which I’ve helped a bit with, so, if all goes well, there will be a local seed-saving circle with a school, an allotment site and a palace! Very, very cool!

Categories: Diary 2014

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