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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Matron's Maggoty Apples

 I have two beautiful apple trees in my new garden.  They are so lovely and I have enjoyed sitting under the shade of the trees this hot Summer.
 One is definitely a Bramley apple tree, but I don't know the eating apple identity.
 So last week I sent off 3 apples, a twig with a bud and some leaves, and a cheque to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent.  They provide a fruit identification service this time of year.  I wait eagerly to find out what I have in my new garden.
 Meanwhile, although I put up my codling moth pheromone trap at exactly the right time of year, I do seem to have a problem with maggoty apples.  These are fairly old trees, perhaps the infestation was quite severe, perhaps the hot Summer had an effect on the numbers?  I don't know really. 
I'll put a grease band on both the trees this Winter to catch some of the Winter moths climbing up the trunk (hopefully I won't catch any passing Labradors!!!)  and I will put up the moth trap again next year and see if it improves.  Any ideas why the codling moth trap didn't work? Anyone?

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Matron goes to the Village Show

 I moved down to the New Forest in April this year, to a beautiful Village called Sway.  So of course one thing I did straight away was to join the local Gardening Club.
 So for the first time here, I decided to put an entry in to the show.  Lots of wonderful fruit, veg and flowers on show.  I've not done this before so I had quite a few of my lovely Delistar cucumbers in the greenhouse to choose from.
 So these two were the pair that matched well for size, shape and appearance.
So I displayed them in the village church first thing in the morning... then I had to wait until 2pm when the show opened.....


Powdery Mildew

 I bet all of you out there suffer from powdery mildew at this time of year.  It is inevitable really, in dry weather it tends to become more prevalent, but just makes these courgette leaves look scruffy.   But just recently I was at a local cheese and wine party, and one of the speakers used to work in an organic vineyard where grape vines suffered from powdery mildew.
 I am just itching to try this remedy, but organic wine growers used a tea made from either mares tails, or stinging nettles to help combat mildew.  Boil up the mares tails in water for about 30 minutes and make a weak tea, then when it is cold spray it on the affected leaves, or on unaffected leaves to prevent mildew.  The active ingredient is salicylic acid (aspirin!)  Makes sense with stinging nettles because they do make a nice tea which is said to have healing and anti inflamatory properties! Maybe that is why! -  Can't wait to try this remedy next year and see if it makes any difference!
 Meanwhile, about a week ago I planted some of these specially prepared Charlotte new potatoes for harvest at Christmas.  I suppose these have been kept refrigerated to fool the tubers into thinking it was Winter, then when I planted them they think it is Spring!
 Just look at the growth in just one week!  A nice potato bag in the greenhouse, with some nice compost will keep it warm enough.  I've left a few inches at the top of the sack to earth up when they get taller.  Looking good for now.
 Looking forward to New Potatoes at Christmas!
Meanwhile, I don't think my Pheromone codling moth trap is working.  I hung out the pheromone trap as advised at the right time of year, and still many of my apples have maggots.  I have two beautiful, full size apple trees which may have had a long term infestation.  This Winter I will try a grease band at the bottom of the tree to catch the Winter moths, as well as a pheromone trap next Summer.