Monday 12 May 2014

The weather and Tomato Blight

Hello from warm, wet and windy Derbyshire.

I'm really pleased to welcome Compostwoman to my follower bar. I've been following you for a long time now and am chuffed you are here.

Say hello everybody to ...Flump, our new cockerel. He is a week off a year old and, as you can see, HUGE!!!  D. calls him Flump the Lump (  mmm  pot / kettle / black comes to mind!) At he moment he is in the barn with the rabbits and sundry mummy hens with chicks and a couple of broodys all running free, apart from the rabbits of course and he is such a gentleman.

As they say, there's a lot of weather about at the moment. The weeds and grass are growing apace as would the veg I am sure if I had any planted! I have some in but not much and the ground is so wet I shall have to be patient. The warm wet weather has meant that our bees are taking some looking after. We have now had four swarms!!! Here is a picture of D. passing down  a collected swarm to me. D. Has just swept the swarm into the box with his hand, which is why there are quite a few bees flying about. They are not aggressive just a little excited. Within half an hour of this pic being taken they were nicely settled in the box. This tree appears to have become a "Swarm Tree", so we will prune it to make it a little easier to collect any future swarms from it.
Talking of the weather, if it continues like this we will be at risk of Blight on the tomatoes and potatoes. I grow Sarpo Miras, which so far has demonstrated it's blight tolerance and in the greenhouse I use Bordeaux Mixture at the first signs of blight. We escaped it in the greenhouse last year, but it did wipe out the outdoor tomatoes. So I was very interested to read an article in "The Sunday Independent" of research into the use of aspirin to prevent Blight. James Wong states that aspirin can induce a state called "Systematically Acquired Resistance" he suggests spraying  the plants with a solution of  2 soluble aspirin to 4 litres of water 2 to 3 times a month. recent studies have shown a 47% reduction in Blight. An alternative is to make willow water (Willow is naturally high in salicylic Acid) from the fresh branches of willow.
I shall definitely have a go at this. I have determined to try both methods, as we have a large stand of willow here. I shall put the willow through the "muncher" and steep the munching in water for a couple of days. I shall then spray a section of the greenhouse, with Aspirin water, a section with willow water and not treat the rest. I shall start this week as it is a preventative measure not curative.
Here is a pic of one end of our greenhouse taken last week. it is easily divided into four parts as it is really four greenhouses bolted together! In the pathways are the dahlias waiting to go out as soon as the risk of frost is over. Notice the Dimplex radiator, bought down from the spare room and put on low, as frost was expected.
Here I have planted a few Little Gem lettuce as a catch crop, on the other side of the path I have planted Lollo Rosso. I'd like to be able to say that I left those buttercups outside the greenhouse for the bees, but in reality it is one of the many "Corners of Shame" we have here on our holding.
 Can you see the similarity of our Greenhouse base to yours Kev Alviti (English Homestead)? We have to step over a highish step to access inside too.
 That's all for now, off to prick out some seedlings, which is a job I really enjoy.
Back Soon


  1. Your greenhouse makes mine look tiny! It looks an amazing space to grow in. Your base is bricks so it looks much smarter than my blocks!
    As for the willow that sounds like a great idea. I've so far avoided blight here bit I know ot will get me one year soon.
    Talking of james wong he recons that dahlias roots are lovely to eat and the Spanish hrow them as a food crop. Have you ever eaten them? Do you grow them as a food crop?
    As for corners of shame I still think I could beat you!

    1. It's on concrete blocks Kev with broken paving slabs to make the beds for one half of the house and wooden boxes for the other.
      No I have never eaten dahlia roots I had always assumed they were poisonous, I don't know why.
      Hee Hee we could have a competition for the corners of shame, tho' I wearn you we have over thirty years worth of C*** stacked up around the place.!

  2. Thanks for the tip about aspirin & tomatoes, I'll definitely try that. I don't have a greenhouse so all my toms are outside & therefore very susceptible.

    1. They are particularly vulnerable outside aren't they? Though one year we lost all fifty plants in the greenhouse. The aspirin spray has to be worth a try doesn't it?

  3. What a handsome cockerel ! I miss my chucks. I had a lovely colourful boy once and I called him 'Mr McCawber' !

    1. Good cockerels are never forgotten are they. I thought that we would never get another cockerel as kind and handsome as our Hugh, but Flump is very like him. Tonight I peeked in the barn to see how they were all doing and he was calling a baby chick over to a tasty morsel he had found Bless him!

  4. I saw that in the paper last night and thought of you, so glad you've seen it and I don't have to find the article to pass on!

    Love Flump, he is a muckle big laddie. And a great colouring too. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does and your tomato experiment goes. I'd originally planned to plant veggies but I don't have the time or the energy to wrestle with the constant care they need so it will be good to know if a wee touch of aspirin would do the trick in getting tomatoes to fruition.

    1. Thanks for thinking of me!
      Isn't Flump lovely and such a gentle giant.
      I'll try to keep giving updates re. the tomatoes and potatoes.

  5. I don't treat my (outdoor) tomatoes. I have White Fly and Green Aphids, that I treat with soapy water, but that's about it. I used to grow Potatoes that attracted Colorado Beetles, but now I buy them from a Bio grower.

  6. I've never treated outdoor toms or potatoes before, but HAVE lost crops to blight. I plant french and pot marigolds amongst the tomatoes to help deter whitefly.
    Colorado Beetle! Defra would be at our doorstep with the a SWAT (hee hee) team if those little blighters turned up!

  7. Getting caught up on your blog. I had to find this post once you mentioned the blight prevention. I have the same problem and must try the aspirin spray! I also need a greenhouse, LOL.