We’ve never had it so good! | The Voice of the Allotment


The warm, wet summer hasn’t been a pleasure for most of us, but the veg approve – Barry Cuff has never had such a good harvest

A very damp July was followed by a damp August – perfect conditions for potato and tomato blight. Coupled with high humidity and warm nights, it was inevitable that there would be an outbreak of the disease. First signs on the potato leaves were spotted at the end of July, but the spread from plant to plant was unusually slow. However, by 15th August it had spread to all the potatoes on the site. This disease can be difficult to spot and can be confused with magnesium deficiency, which was common this season and probably due to the high summer rainfall. Once blight is seen it is best to remove the haulms* to prevent the disease from reaching the tubers.
We always plant our potatoes early in the season so as to avoid the worst of the blight, and we remove the haulms ten days before lifting. Our maincrop varieties were all dug and stored by the 20th, and the earlies and second earlies were dug in July.

Crop round up
The wet summer has ensured there was good growth of vegetables and fruit – in more than 30 years on the plot I cannot remember such good yields from most of our crops!

  • Beetroot: these have simply been harvested as needed for salads and pickling.
  • Brassicas: All are doing well and protected from pigeons by a net! There has been less Cabbage White caterpillar damage than some years – these are just removed by hand when seen.
  • Carrot: We are lifting good roots of Early Nantes. We made a last sowing on 18th.
Bees enjoying a large Echinops on the allotment flower border
  • Celeriac: The plants growing well. We mulched with compost on 20th.
  • Celery: Loving the rain! Dug one plant on 20th.
  • Chinese Leaves: Sown on the 13th (Mustards, Mizuna) after potatoes were lifted.
  • Chinese radishes: Four varieties were sown on 13th – will need to keep an eye out for flea beetle.
  • Courgette: Plentiful harvest!
  • French Beans: Finally slowed down by 25th.
  • Gherkins: Plentiful picking every third day.
  • Leeks: Growing well.
  • Lettuce: Excellent hearted plants of Little Gem from successional sowings.
  • Mange tout: Still picking twice a week.
  • Onion: Excellent bulbs of both Golden Bear and Bonus. Harvesting over a period to allow to dry.
  • Parsnips: Amazing tops, so we should have good roots for late autumn and winter.
  • Peas: Our single disappointing crop, the peas finished producing in early July.
  • Raspberries: Very plump fruit picked every third day. Bees and hoverflies have been doing a wonderful job pollinating the flowers.
  • Runner beans: Production has now slowed down.
  • Spring onion: The last lot sown is doing well and simply being pulled as required.
  • Sweetcorn: We had our first cobs on 23rd – and they were delicious!
  • Squashes (winter): The patch is actually a jungle, but I have managed to spot two Crown Prince and one Butternut!
  • Sweet Peppers: All varieties are doing well in the greenhouse. First fruits were picked mid month.
  • Tomatoes: Large pickings from the greenhouse!
    *the stalks or stems

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