Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Growing Up

 So this is the South Facing wall in my small courtyard veggie garden.  To make the most of the available space I allow climbing veggies to make their own space up against the wall.
 Up until just a couple of weeks ago my runner beans were not doing well at all.   Then we had quite a bit of rain and they have set really well now.  Runner beans need wet conditions for the flowers to set.  Better late than never!  These beans just wind their own way up among the squash and tomatoes.
 Meanwhile on the patio, these beefsteak tomatoes have done well in a growbag, a ring culture pot and some support frames.  As yet unaffected by blight.
 Every gardener should experiment.  I took a chance in making a really late sowing of courgette seeds.  There is still some warm weather around and these seem to be coming along nicely.  When my main plants slow down in a couple of weeks, I might have some more doing nicely.
 These Joe's long Cayenne chillis are starting to ripen.  I really love these!  Just the right amount of heat for my taste, and just two plants are so prolific they provide all I need for freezing or drying.
These Uchiki Kuri squashes were also climbing up my wall.  I have left them on this sunny shelf outdoors to cure the skin.  If the skin is dried well in the sunshine they keep much longer through the Winter - assuming you don't eat them!

Friday, August 04, 2017

Blight Watch!

 I spotted this on my tomato plant today!  A sure sign that the plant is affected with blight.   Tomato blight  strikes in warm, wet conditions.   These conditions are right for the spread of the disease.  There must be two consecutive days with a minimum temperature of 10degrees C, AND each day has at least six hours with a relative humidity at 90%.  This period of time is known as the 'Hutton Criteria'    You can subscribe to a free warning service by the Met Office known as Blight Watch  where you will be notified when the Hutton Criteria is met,
 The only thing you can do is good housekeeping at this stage.  Remove all affected leaves and destroy them. Don't put them in your garden compost or you will be spreading the disease. If tomatoes are ripe then pick them and use them quickly.
 Don't spread the disease further by watering the whole plant, just the soil and the roots if you must water.  The tomatoes will be fine to eat as normal, but the fruit may develop brown marks as well if left to be affected.
 Meanwhile on the plot, a couple of my Joe's Long Cayenne chilli have started to ripen.
 I am doing a little bit of trial and error here.  A few weeks ago I planted a second planting of courgettes and cucumbers.  It may work or it may not.   As long as the weather stays warm well into September (it may well do) then just as my first crop is getting old and tired, then I may just have a couple of new plants to give me a bit more of a crop into Autumn.  If I don't.. then nothing lost... just a couple of seeds.
Here is one of my second crop cucumber plants ready to climb up a warm, South facing brick wall.  Let's see what happens!