Slow painting

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Blight, already?

Nothing sweeter than a May evening at the plot? Yesterday evening's quick jaunt to the plot, which I expected to be balm after a fraught working day, turned out to be nothing of the sort. "Never construct", wrote one of the French dudes I wrote my thesis on. Gustave, you were right.

For a start, it was bitterly cold, that bone-chilling cold peculiar to the East coast of Scotland in May (and June and...). We were muffled up to the ears in anoraks and wished we'd worn gloves. We found the grass verges and 'lawn areas' of the plot romping away - well, we'd expected that after two weekends away, but all the same it looked unkempt. We met another plotholder whom my husband knows from church, and her news was all about her husband's stay in hospital and his declining strength. We looked around the plot and knew we had no time to do anything much, but could see so much that needed doing. I hoed between the shallots and onions. I walked to the gate and back with a distraught plotholder who had lost his keys to the site and couldn't otherwise get out. The bitter wind blew.

We stared glumly at the raspberries, and decided to cut our losses with the row that hasn't come through this year. And then we saw a potato plant that hadn't been there two weeks ago, with what looked suspiciously like blighted leaves. And then I noticed that our new season's crop, just peeking through, was also looking rather nasty about the leaves.

We dug out the rogue plant, but left the others for the time being. After checking in my Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, I now wish we'd dug them up too, or at least taken off the affected leaves. It seems that rogue potatoes from a previous year's crop (or 'volunteers' as they're known) are a prime source of blight. I'll have to see if I can steal time to get along to the plot tomorrow evening to whip out the three plants that are affected.

Good news? Well, I got a special offer on pot-grown raspberries from Ken Muir, and ordered a replacement six canes. They're a variety called 'Tulameen', named after a community in British Columbia. This pleases me a lot! Apparently they come through late each year, so are less susceptible to frost, and are pretty winter hardy, having been bred in BC.

But just now, it's slow going indeed.


Darla said...

It is heartbreaking when you lose a veggie plant! So sorry. Congrats on the raspberries though, hope they do well for you.

Dot O said...

Sorry about your veggies. It is sad especially when you work so hard to cultivate/nurture them. Sounds like the raspberries have potential, though.

After planting 14 tomato plants and not getting a single piece of fruit last year, we are only planting six plants this year - and are holding our breath and keeping our fingers crossed1

Peggy said...

It is a bit early for blight to strike yet and we certainly have not had the hot humid conditions for it,I have heard older gardeners here say to expect blight after the 15th June for some reason.I can see why you warned about the volunteer potatoes on my comments! Could it be late frost or wind burn?We have heavy rain and high winds lately which have stopped anything growing in its tracks.

Twisted willow said...

I think it's likely to be frost. After mine got frosted last year in the second week of May, I delayed planting mine til then in the hopes that the yound shoots will be up after the last frost.