Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
Potato Blight often hits at the
end of June, or the beginning of July, but our odd weather seems to have
been kind to the crop this year with very little sign of it anywhere on
the Allotments. However, if your Potatoes do get Blight, remove the top
growth and leave the Potatoes in the ground where they should be safe if
they are not already infected. Indeed they say that taking the tops off
the Potatoes, and leaving them in the ground for a couple of weeks
afterwards, thickens their skins making them keep better. The dry spell
earlier on did mean that the tops on my Potatoes were not so big, but as
July finished I did start to dig a few up and the Potatoes were OK, if
perhaps a bit small.
Some years my Potatoes get holes eaten into them by pests, which in the
past I have put down to “Earthing them up,” with part rotted compost.
This time I didn’t use additional Compost as I hadn’t got any ready, but
simply used the soil around the rows to “Earth them up,” and the
Potatoes are fairly clear of any damage. I guess the woody material in
the Compost used to encourage the pests.
Talking of problems with pests, my Gooseberry bushes did not get
stripped of their leaves by the Gooseberry sawfly this year, as usually
happens. The leaves stayed on the plants, all through the development
and ripening of the berries, right up until when they were picked. It
was a good harvest with the berries having plenty of redness to them
making them quite sweet in pies and crumbles so they did not need much
Next to harvest was the Black Currant crop which again had no real
problems. Occasionally, if it is very wet, you sometimes get what look
like Leeches, maggots and other assorted grubs on them, but this year
there were no signs of any pests at all. I even managed to pick my Red
Currants before the birds got to them!
The row of Grape Vines had put on masses of growth by the end of July,
so I got my Secateurs out and cut great armfuls of foliage from them
which exposed lots of embryo bunches of grapes all over the vines.
Although many of the stems that I was cutting were yards in length I had
to be careful not to cut the stems too close to the bunches, or else it
would have caused them to wither and die. It won’t be for a few weeks
yet, but it looks like being another bumper crop like last year. What
the crop really needs is a late Autumn for best results which will give
the Grapes a bit more time to ripen before being spoilt by frost as they
don’t really mature until Autumn is well upon us.
Even my Turnips and Beetroot were not eaten by the mice this year,
although many of the Turnips were a bit woody as they started to go to
seed which was probably due to the dry spell we had earlier on.
My Parsnips are developing nicely as well with few spaces in the rows. I
sowed the seed quite thinly which meant that I didn’t need to thin them
out. Anyway the odd one gets pulled out when weeding so they do get
thinned a little.
I have been picking a bountiful supply of Courgettes that are doing very
nicely with the Squash plants growing slowly to follow on much later -
hopefully. It won’t really be until the Autumn comes before they will be
The Onions that I planted between the Runner Bean rows are also doing
well and swelling nicely, although the beans have now starting to put
some growth on and will shade them out in a couple of weeks. One thing
that has been a failure was my dwarf beans where the seed did no good at
all with none coming up. Admittedly, I did sow them in my greenhouse in
the middle of the very hot spell that we had and that may have literally
The Early – Summer raspberries, did much better this year with much
better sized berries, although they are over now and the autumn ones are
nearly ready with a few being picked already. Yet another success were
my Tay berries which did quite well but never reached the freezer as I
ate most of them while I was up there with a friendly little bird having
the rest while I sat and watched from the bench situated next to them!
The birds used to love my Goji berry bush and strip it bare every time
as well, so that in the end I took it out. Although they favour red
berries they also seem to love Black Berries that are starting to ripen,
as you can seen from all the dark purple stained droppings everywhere
round the bush!