We didn’t intend to take August off. It just sort of happened.
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:
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:
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. We also began picking tomatoes:
And a few of our climbing beans started to look ready:
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!
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:
But elsewhere entire beds had been devasted:
So, to we had no option but to harvest our entire tomato crop there and then.
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:
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.
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.