Monday, July 28, 2008

Of Potatoes, Blight and Pumpkins

The last of our second early potatoes! We had a very good crop of all sizes and shapes, but at least we did not lose any to blight, which was a worry for a while. Anyone I gave some to and our own verdict was 'Great balls of Flour'!












Ben, one of my grandsons picking out the last one! I had cut back the stalks to stop the blight going down to the tubers. Ben like the others was fascinated to see the potatoes in the ground.














This is our main crop of potatoes towards the middle of July. They have been sprayed with 'bluestone'. The Bordeaux Mixture is a commercial product of this old time spray for potato blight. While the Bordeaux mixture
is convenient there is not much coverage in one box. It only mixes 7litrs for approx 5.95e. The Bluestone can be bought in the farmers co ops. It is bought loose and mixed with washing soda.The ratio is; 10lbs washing soda to 8 lb bluestone to make 44gallons.

I used 2 1/2 lbs washing soda to 2 lbs of bluestone. It made 10 gallons for approx 7.00e! You also get free advice as there is always a few old timers around and the staff know what they are talking about too. We bought ours in a farmer's co op in a place called Inchy Bridge in West Cork. (I hope my spelling is right).


This is the bed of main crop potatoes now. I have cut away the stalks ( haulm) and left the pops in the ground. Zwena our allotment owner said this was a way of saving the crop.

Potato blight forms spores on the underside of the leaves which then drop down in to the ground and so affecting the potatoes underneath. Spraying the foliage stops the blight spores from forming and dropping on to the ground.


Hopefully this will allow the pops to continue growing, I will leave them in and see what happens. Note to self for next year ; check for blight resistant types of potatoes, one old farmer asked me what type of spuds we had in, I said british queens and he said ' they're hoors for the blight'!!

Our courgette has been moved out of the greenhouse and is now by the scarecrows feet. We have lost a lot of courgettes, it may have been the heat and humidity in the greenhouse. Rosie harvested an armfull of marrows from one out door plant on her plot after being away for a week, which she generously shared with us. I stir fried it with some of our new pops and it was lovely! I have been very conservative with veg over the years as, trying to feed 8 children it was a case of the lowest common denominator, carrots, turnips, parsnips broccoli, because anything else and it was a case of 'I hate them'!

This year thanks to our fellow allotmenteers I have sampled Spinach, marrows, globe artichokes, white turnips and swiss chard! That is definitely a big plus for allotments as we may not ever have tried growing them, convinced we would not eat them. So anyone just thinking about growing your own try an allotment its a social, healthy outdoor lifestyle. It does not have to be every day either,a few hours during the week and maybe some at the weekend.


In front of the scarecrow is the white turnips put in on 16th June to replace our red onions which went to seed.


Behind him are our onions, with tops bent over to dry out. After about 10 days according to Christy, (on the allotments for years and our gardening guru)! I can pull them up and dry them off. I need the bed anyway to put out our purple sprouting broccoli which is coming on at a great rate, but needs to go out now.





The pumpkins growing on top of the heap of horse manure on 24th July. (See last photo taken on 18th July) They have grown quite a bit and some long tendrils are moving down the bank. There are lots of flowers visible too.


We have lost our baby pumpkin which was in previous photo too!! There is another one coming on and lots of sterile ( male ) flowers. It may have been due to replanting it from the pot.

3 comments:

ga.farmwoman said...

Hi Peggy,
My potatoes didn't do well this year because of the early drought and heat here.
Everything is looking good there and I hope you beat that blight.
Did you like the Swiss Chard? I planted a small amount in one of my raised beds this spring and it did well. I prefer the spinach over the chard though.
Good luck on all your vegetables.
Pam

Lynda said...

Peggy, I still remember the joy of 'looking' for potatoes & digging them out when I was a child - looks like your grandson had great fun !

dreamwalker said...

You guys are amazing - we love potatoes but can only get them at the supermarket!