Zwena, our allotment owner and motivator arranged for Susan Taylor to visit us, give a talk and have a look at our plots.
The photo shows most of us gathered around what was a table of home made goodies provided by Zwena. At the end of the talk I don't think even crumbs were left!
Susan is originally from South Africa and has an impressive pedigree in horticulture.She married an Irish man and so ended up on our wet and windy Isle!
In Ireland she teaches and has worked in the famous Ballymaloe gardens and is also involved in the restoration of the walled vegetable gardens in Blarney Castle .
Susan is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable on all aspects of organic gardening the time flew by. She even made composting and slug eradication interesting!
I wont even try to cover all the topics she covered in this post but will add them in future posts, as they become topical. Susan brought a number of interesting books and catalogues for us, also some equally interesting websites, some of which I have added links to at the side. I would have to make special mention of Irish Seed Savers, its a charitable trust, of which I was unaware. The web site is well worth a browse.
Susan was able to tell me what had decimated our gooseberries, it is aptly called the sword fly. It can strip a bush in one weekend,I can vouch for that! Summer pruning may have helped by opening up the centre of the bushes and in doing so I would have noticed the first tell tale signs of blackening on the leaves, opening up the centre of the bush also impedes the spread of powdery mildew.
Susan recommends pruning twice a year, in summer back to 5 leaves from the main stem and in the winter back to 2 leaves.
For newbies to blogging like myself...double click on the names in coloured italics, a little light bulb pops up, click on it and it takes you to the web pages for the relevant name. There is another way of doing it but I have not figured it out yet!!