Friday, December 19, 2008

Spotty Sprouts

I finally made it out to the plot on Wed morning!It was sunny and mild(ish).The leeks are growing fine and I pulled these 3, there is a nice length of white flesh on them.The parsnips will get a post of their own and also the celery, this is the saga of the Sprouts.
This is how I left them after clearing all the damaged leaves and spotted sprouts, and re netting them as some rabbits had found a way under the net!
The sprouts on the end of the plants were nibbled and had opened as they should have been picked some time ago!I pulled off all the end ones and added them to the compost in the no dig patch.I pulled any sprouts suitable to pick to give the upper ones a chance to develop in time for the Christmas dinner,which is the whole point of growing our own sprouts.
This is the black spot close up. It did not look pretty,a lot of leaves were yellowed which I think is normal, but a lot of them were covered with black spots. Some of the sprouts had black spots on them. Once the outer leaves were taken off it had not worked into the inside of the sprout, and they were usable.
I thought some hideous pest had taken over, but having discovered the problem, I also discovered the answer quite by chance!On the way home I picked up a gardening paper I had never seen before called Garden News. There on the garden Question page was a query about Black spot on Brussels Sprouts!This is the answer given:This is a fungal disease known as 'Brassica dark leaf spot'It is caused by Alternaria brassicola and is associated with wet, rainy conditions and with sites sheltered from the wind.If there are lots of densely planted brassicas, the disease is likely to continue spreading.There is no fungicide available to private growers but increasing the spacing between plants will help to prevent the problem.Soft over fed crops are more susceptible than ones grown a little harder.Avoid using too much high nitrogen fertiliser and watering plants from overhead as the spores get washed down in the water splashes.A lot of disease problems relate to the cold wet summer and hopefully will be less prevalent next year.it is also very important to clear away all brassica debris.Our sprouts are very close together. ( a major fault on our part this year, the plants never look as if they will ever need 5 ft between each plant),and the cold wet summer was a factor here also.I have to say when I cooked them they were delicious, and cooked in half the time. I am still amazed at the difference in taste in homegrown and shop bought.Picking and eating as soon as possible is the key I think.
On a lighter note our strawberries moved in to the unheated greenhouse,I think they should have enough frost by now, we will wait to see the result of this idea.

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