Gooseberry problems

Yesterday, I put the washing outside on the line and noticed that some of the tips of the gooseberry bushes were a bit white. So, I got the secateurs out and pruned this out (as well as another plant nearby). I brought the clippings into the house so I could spy on them with my USB Digital Microscope and took some photos.

mildew1Is this American Gooseberry Mildew? Not many shoots were affected and these have been removed. I’m not the world’s greatest pruner but the 3 gooseberry bushes all had been pruned last year (for the first time!). 


Perhaps I need to be more brutal and prune harder (or more). Overcrowding (poor air circulation & increased humity) encourages this mildew.

sawfly2Another problem was spotted – the Gooseberry Sawfly larva. I think I spotted them later last year. Only saw a couple of the larvae – now squished. Last year, I noticed them when I spotted the “poo” on the lower leaves. This time, it was just sheer luck I spotted a partially eaten leaf.
sawfly1On the other plant I pruned, I spotted some caterpillars.

caterpillyAnd while it was crawling on my desk… it left something behind….




Cabbage, clubroot, cucs and critters

After another break from the allotment, went down yesterday. OH had been down during the week to lift some spuds, etc – the Edzell Blue are lovely, especially in mash and was a good cropper. The blight had spread onto the Golden Wonder plants, and as for the Sarpo – the plants looked “old” though not blighted. I chopped down all the haulms.  
Red Cabbage
The lone Kalibos red cabbage looks good, albeit a bit slug eaten on outer leaves. However, other brassicas, apart from a sprouts plant, look the worst for wear:- cabbage white caterpillars (found some eggs which I squished), slugs, white blister rot, and then clubroot which I found as I pulled up the bolted pak choi. I pulled a couple of slugged brassicas but they showed no signs of clubroot. Apart from the bolting, the pak choi looked healthy!
The Crystal Lemon cucumber plants look healthy – fruit have been set. However, other curcurbits – the squashes, look pathetic. Compared with last year where the one pumpkin wandered across the allotment, this one wouldn’t reach across the length of a computer keyboard!
The beans are being battered by slugs/snails though there are a few french beans set and untouched in the picture above. The other french beans on the plot look healthy albeit with a few slime trails across them. The runner beans have started to climb and there are flowers on – will we get runner beans? The neighbour’s plot has loads of runner beans – he uses the same patch every year for them.
Broad beans have been a bit of a disaster this year. The chocolate spot has affected the broadies badly this year – only picked half a dozen bean pods from 2 sowings – there were flowers but the beans hadn’t been setting well. The blackfly has gone though. Chopped the plants down.  
Spoke with one of the plotholders – he was collecting seaweed to put on his beds. That, he said, was the answer to his harvests – he gave me some big onions. He’d harvested loads of potatoes and still has more to lift.

What am I going to do with this?
I bought this fleece for £1 a fortnight ago (before the F&M outbreak) at a farm which was open as a tourist attraction – they keep some sheep back for sheep-shearing (including manual shearing) for demonstrations. I do not have a spinning wheel. Suggestions welcome. Should I wash it in the bath with soap flakes/other detergent for washing wool? Perhaps I could felt it?

End of July update

After a week or so absence from the allotment, the second early potatoes look sad: they have blight though it hasn’t completely killed off the foliage. The spuds themselves look ok, a few holes and scab, though not as much mollusc damage than in previous years.

Having said that, molluscs have been a problem above ground – most of the french beans have been affected, though the early sowing has escaped total decimation: just a few holes in the leaves rather than chomped down to ground level. There are beans on them, but I might leave them for drying.

Only one runner bean has made it half-way up the canes, whereas on the neighbouring plot, have gone skywards and have even got harvestable beanpods on.

Broad beans have been a bit of a disaster this year what with all that chocolate spot – I saw one flower on two May sowings!

One oversize courgette as well as some beetroot, spuds and turnip accompanied the Sunday roast. Potatoes were nice – Early Rose, I believe. Another tasty variety this year was Witchills.

The squashes look pathetic, though the Crystal Lemon cucumbers look reasonable and have flowers on.

Back in the garden, while hanging out the washing, I spotted a snail. I picked it up by the shell to discover it was in the middle of laying eggs!  

Taking seeds to bed!

I took all my seeds to bed – I wanted to find out what I actually had left, and also what was possible to still sow in July.

One packet that caught my eye was the Calabrese – Corvet F1. It is still not too late to sow some calabrese. This is the variety of calabrese that we harvested. It can be touch and go, along with the other brassicas facing problems:

  • Slugs/Snails – these munched on a number of brassica seedlings this year. I did sow plenty plus replacements. I guess I need to go mollusc hunting more often braving the weather. I don’t like slug pellets. I’ve tried beer but if you forget to empty it regularly, it stinks – plus OH likes the “slug bitter”! 
  • Cabbage whitefly – horrible looking aphids (even greenfly is “prettier”!) that had to be squashed. Have also used an insecticidal soap with seaweed foliar feed.
  • Cabbage rootfly – well, those so-called cabbage rootfly collars aren’t all that effective as the flies still managed to get to the roots… Lost a few brassicas to those this year.
  • Cabbage white caterpillars – well, there haven’t been that many this year but I have squashed a few eggs.
  • Disease-wise, white blister rot had affected brussel sprouts quite badly a couple of years ago, but the younger brassica plants have started to get it this year.
  • Clubroot – well, I’ve heard it is on the site, but am not sure if I have it on my plot. However, one tactic was to put an inch of rhubarb stem in the hole before planting out a brassica. The aroma and chemicals of the rhubarb stem may mask the brassica aroma and fool the clubroot.

So, shortly, I will be sowing some in rootrainers or pots. I intend to sow lettuces, spring onions, perhaps the Eight Ball courgette and other things this week.

Mixed Bag.

The detection of sawfly larvae in April with vigilance, then hardly any sawfly in May, I became complacent thinking “no more sawfly this year!” At the beginning of this month when there was a lot of rain, I didn’t check frequently. I knew they were munching on currant leaves and I couldn’t reach a number of them. When the rain had stopped and I was able to put the washing out – I saw the damage was done. Stems stripped of leaves. Popped out today, and the gooseberries are ripening.
The birds have free access to the soft fruit in the garden – I don’t mind, as some of the fruit is unreachable. I prefer birds to eat the fruit than those pesky molluscs that leave slime trails all over the place. A young female blackbird is the main culprit. Although some red currants are ripe, I haven’t picked any yet.
Three Little Raspberries are we
At the plot, more peas were harvested (and mainly eaten there!). Broad beans have been harvestable, though the leaves are now quite badly infected with chocolate spot. Blackfly although present on some of the plants, isn’t widespread. I had sprayed earlier with insecticidal soap, plus there are a load of ladybirds around.
The first calabrese was cut! It survived the slugs/cabbage root fly/cabbage white fly/cabbage white caterpillars to give a relatively decent size head.
Also harvested one turnip! Don’t know why just harvested one, when there are others…
A couple of carrots and a potato plant were pulled.
However, the spring planted garlic didn’t look too healthy.
Somewhere under there, is garlic. I don’t know if this is white rot as it seems to start more at the top of the bulb. Also, we’ve had rather a lot of rain. I don’t think the rust helps matters either. Under the soil and layer of skin – the garlic looks fine.
Not all the bulbs are affected. I tried to guess which ones would be “damaged” but couldn’t tell – some stems were thin but showed no sign of “fur”. Also, the soil was clinging to the affected ones – drainage?
These 2 purplette spring onion things look nice. The rest of the sowing succumbed to slugs/snails or something – perhaps 6ft+ weeder?

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