September 2021 – The Blighters!

I tested positive for Covid on Tuesday 1st September so I am banned from going to the allotment until 9th September. This is the second time in 18 months and precisely 4 months after my second jab. Let’s hope this time it’s not going to take me 4 weeks to recover. Looks like my second trip to see Charlton Athletic was the cause of this infection unlike the first occasion, back in April 2020, when I blamed the Central Line.

Speaking of pathogens and all things viruses (no, not computer ones), my tomatoes have been hit badly by the tomato and potato equivalent of Covid 19 – blight.

I first noticed it on the allotment, the leaves on all the plants started dying. I tried to save them by stripping off the dead ones but to no avail as the fruits succumbed soon after. In the end, I had no choice but to dig them up. I couldn’t dispose of them in our garden waste bin because the council have suspended collections. The country seems to be short of HGV drivers for some reason. Therefore, I placed them in a plastic refuse bag, waiting for the collection to resume. It’s not a good idea to put them on your compost heap as it’s not hot enough to kill it.

However, I was still happy as the tomatoes in the greenhouse looked okay and the crop promising. I was very careful not to cross infect but, two days later, the first signs of blight started to appear on those too. Once again, I removed infected leaves and fruits but 2 of the 12 plants had died. For the second time, I placed all infected material in a plastic binbag and am waiting for the garden waste service to resume for those as well.

The plants in the greenhouse are now completely devoid of leaves but I have managed to get some fruits to ripen. As soon as they start to turn orange, I pick them and place on a windowsill to finish off. This at least stops them from turning rotten on the plant. I have managed to save several of the plants and some fruits but sadly, nowhere near as many as last year. This has not just been a problem for me, I’ve heard that lots of growers, certainly in the southeast, are suffering the same problems. Thankfully, it hasn’t affected any of my potatoes.

It’s all down to the weather, while some parts of the planet have had the hottest weather ever it appears my part of the planet has been cooler and wetter than usual, even for England. This sort of weather is ideal for blight. I guess that in the coming years we will see more unpredictable weather, where some years it is extremely hot but others it stays cool, or we get excessive rain and flooding. It just goes to show that none of us are immune to climate change and it will certainly give us much more challenging growing seasons in the future.

However, not all is doom and gloom, my runner beans have been excellent, so have my courgettes, cauliflowers and sweetcorn. Swings and roundabouts as they say.

The last bank holiday of the summer has passed (England & Wales), September is with us and now we get ready for the Autumn. Next year’s garlic seeds have arrived and I have readied a bed for them to be planted in. Only trouble is, I can’t get up there yet. Still, there’s plenty of time. Let’s hope the Astra Zeneca jabs allow me to shake off my human version of blight quickly. In the meantime, my photo gallery page will be a little light on photos. Please bear with me, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible .

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