Out Of Doors

The Voice of the Allotment

By mid July harvesting of crops was in full swing and our kitchen was filled with the scents of midsummer from bowls of large strawberries and vases of sweet peas. The rain of previous weeks had done wonders so that the growth of both vegetables and weeds was amazing.

We were able to pick peas from our four rows of Hurst Green Shaft every 3-4 days. Most of these went in the freezer. The Carouby De Maussane mangetout and Purple Magnolia Snap both grew to about 6 feet providing abundant pods for salads and stir fries over a period of four weeks.

Haulms were removed from Foremost, Charlotte and Elfe potatoes during the first week and then dug about ten days later. All three varieties gave good yields. On the 19th the first blighted leaves were seen on the remaining rows of maincrop varieties (Picasso and Rooster). Neither of these varieties have high scores for blight resistance. As  rain and thunderstorms were forecast we decided to remove the haulms as conditions were perfect for the disease to spread rapidly. On surrounding plots most varieties had the beginnings of the disease while Cara and Carolus were quite free of blight.

With the exceptional growth experienced during the month we had to remove the net cloches from all the Brassicas as the rows had become very weedy. We were pleased that only two plants had succumbed to the dreaded Swede Midge (Contarinia nasturtii). These were destroyed and replaced with spare plants. Normally we lose more plants to this insect pest. Was it because the very weedy rows had made it difficult for the flying midge to detect the plants on which to lay its eggs ?

Our broad beans had all been harvested by the 11th and the plants removed. Two rows of Musselburgh leek were planted in their place. More leeks (Tadorna) were planted on the 25th on ground where the early potatoes had been lifted.

During the month we picked our first French beans and gherkins and lifted carrots and beetroot as required.

Our Moonlight runner beans are a mass of flowers and are setting well.

The first tassels have appeared on the sweetcorn and the squashes have a lot of flowers.

All our fruit bushes are giving good yields and go to making jam and wine.

By: Barry Cuff

Sponsored by Thorngrove Garden Centre

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