We’re back!

We didn’t intend to take August off. It just sort of happened.

Andrew and Sandra posing on the plot

One of the things we do when we’re not on the plot is kite flying. We design, build and make kites. At the beginning of August we had three kite festivals in a row. I had thought we might be able to keep up with our plot and the blog in between but there was just too much to do. 

The good news is that we won a prize for our inflatable day of the dead skull at the festival in Rijsbergen in the Netherlands. Here’s Andrew collecting the trophy:

Andrew collects the trophy we were awarded for our skull kite

Andrew collects the trophy we were awarded for our skull kite

Our skull kite flying at the Rijsbergen festival

Our skull kite flying at the Rijsbergen festival

We also one a prize for our courgettes in a small produce competition at another kit festival. Here’s our entry of yellow, orange and yellow courgettes:

Our prize winning courgettes in the produce competition at a kite festival

Our prize winning courgettes in the produce competition at a kite festival

But, of course, while we were doing that, we weren’t able to do as much on the plot.

We did harvest basil and some of our first early potatoes, and kept our kite friends fed with pesto pasta and potato salad.

We even harvested a little rhubarb and Andrew made rhubarb and ginger tartlets for everyone:

Andrew with his rhubarb and ginger tartlets

Andrew with his rhubarb and ginger tartlets

We also began picking tomatoes:

Our tomatoes looking ripe

Money maker looking ready to eat

And a few of our climbing beans started to look ready:

A few climbing beans ready to pick

Our prize winning courgettes in the produce competition at a kite festival

We tried to keep on top of our courgettes although quite a few of them turned themselves into marrows.

Fortunately, we had some friends and a local vegan cafe who were glad to take the courgettes off our hands because we also didn’t have time to eat them!

A monster tomato and some monster courgettes

A monster tomato and some monster courgettes

We were finally able to get back to the allotment in earnest on the bank holiday weekend. And that’s when disaster struck some of our crops.

We were hit hard with late blight on our tomatoes, potatoes and aubergines. Some plants had only the start of the brown patches on the stems:

Brown patches on the stem are an early sign of late blight

Our prize winning courgettes in the produce competition at a kite festival

But elsewhere entire beds had been devasted:

Tomato plants devastated by late blight

Tomato plants devastated by late blight

So, to we had no option but to harvest our entire tomato crop there and then.

We were forced to harvest all our tomatoes

We were forced to harvest all our tomatoes

As a result, we’ve been cooking, freezing, pickling and otherwise processing tomatoes all week – we’ll give an overview of all the ways we’ve dealt with them in a later blog.

We also cut all our potato plants to the ground. The aim is to stop the blight washing into the soil. But, of course, it may already be too late. We discovered that some of our first earlies which looked fine from the outside were affected by blight:

Home guard potatoes which were found to have blight

Home guard potatoes which were found to have blight

The first earlies should have been fine because the hulmes died back weeks ago. But clearly the blight had other ideas.

We’ll leave our main crop in the ground for a couple of weeks to give the tubers a bit more time to mature, then we’ll dig them up and see what we’ve got. We’ll let you know how we get on.

We also found that some of our basil has been affected by what we think may be fusarium wilt.

Basil which may have been affected by fusarium wilt

Basil which may have been affected by fusarium wilt

 

The stems of plants in the affected area have gone brown and the leaves are turning yellow.

If it is fusarium wilt, we won’t be able to plant basil in the same space for some years.

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8 thoughts on “We’re back!

  1. Rotten luck with the blight! I’ve had basil look like that, but not grown it in same place following year. Our herbs all loved this years weather. We had three festivals in August so didn’t grow tomatoes this year…Sweet Peas climbed up the fence instead! Good luck getting it back under control! S x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Planting out seed potatoes | The Quest for Veg

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