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  • Your work rate is prolific, hats off to you, a garden/plot to be proud of.
    If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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    • Penellype, my veg. garden is in 2 halves and I have white rot in one half. I find that Autumn planted sets do best where the problem is and it has been lessening over time, the last 20 years. This year for instance, I planted 2 20' rows, 1' apart and onions 6" apart, so 80 bulbs. Half a dozen didn't make it through the winter and of the rest I lost 3 to white rot. I still ate most of them but they were pulled early and a good spadeful of the soil about them was disposed of. I still have 12 in the ground ripening. The comment in my log read '3 with white rot so far 12/06/20'. I haven't found any since though if a bulb is not very firm in the soil a pull it out so a few were lifted early. You need to keep a close eye on them from the start of June, any with yellow tips to some leaves, give a gentleish pull to check the roots are OK.

      In beds, Robert Milne recommends 15cm. between bulbs where white rot is present as this should prevent any localised infection spreading from plant to plant. The onion tops should be fine for eating or composting but the base where the infection is needs dealing with.

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      • I love reading your journey! I can't wait to get an allotment one day, I can only hope to do as well as you!

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        • Plots looking great Pene,so productive

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          • Thank you all for your kind comments

            Originally posted by Mark_Riga View Post
            Penellype, my veg. garden is in 2 halves and I have white rot in one half. I find that Autumn planted sets do best where the problem is and it has been lessening over time, the last 20 years. This year for instance, I planted 2 20' rows, 1' apart and onions 6" apart, so 80 bulbs. Half a dozen didn't make it through the winter and of the rest I lost 3 to white rot. I still ate most of them but they were pulled early and a good spadeful of the soil about them was disposed of. I still have 12 in the ground ripening. The comment in my log read '3 with white rot so far 12/06/20'. I haven't found any since though if a bulb is not very firm in the soil a pull it out so a few were lifted early. You need to keep a close eye on them from the start of June, any with yellow tips to some leaves, give a gentleish pull to check the roots are OK.

            In beds, Robert Milne recommends 15cm. between bulbs where white rot is present as this should prevent any localised infection spreading from plant to plant. The onion tops should be fine for eating or composting but the base where the infection is needs dealing with.
            That is interesting - thanks for the info. I noticed the tips of all the leaves were going a bit yellow at the beginning of June, but put it down to dry weather - I had deliberately not been giving them much water in the hope of suppressing the white rot. Then it started to rain... The odd thing is that the infected onions seem scattered through the bed, although there were more of them at the end furthest from the tunnel. I'm going to run out of space in the freezer if I am not careful, and need to have room for tomatoes, so this is a nuisance. I have managed to find 12 so far that don't appear to be infected and these are in my garage, hopefully drying. Last year I did manage to keep some into January, but they were a little further developed than these.

            When I got the plot there were onions and shallots still in the soil in various places, most of them rotten. It didn't occur to me that they might have white rot and they went in the compost heap which didn't seem a problem as I had no white rot in the first year. I think I am probably going to have to accept that it is there and do what I can to prevent it causing problems, but I can't see myself being able to dig out a spadeful of soil per affected onion as I would soon have a mountain of the stuff to dispose of, and big holes where the onions were!

            Its useful to know that the tops are ok to compost as this will help with the volume of rubbish that I have somehow got to dispose of.

            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • Sunday
              No water to collect in the morning for the first time in a week. I went down early and spent nearly an hour harvesting raspberries and red currants from the hedge. There are a lot more raspberries with beetle grubs in now, but I still brought home 2 tubs of them to freeze. I noticed that something was making a hole in the hotbed where the spinach used to be, so I put the compost back and covered it with one of the squares of roll up path that I use to keep cats off, and made a note to sort it later. I also trimmed all the long bits off the hedges, including some brambles that seemed to almost be growing as I watched them.

              After a stint at the stables and an early lunch I spent another hour at the plot pulling out a few weeds, trimming off strawberry runners that were encroaching on the paths and growing through the tunnel net, tying in and removing sideshoots from the tomatoes and cutting down 2 of the cauliflowers in the tunnel which were well beyond salvaging to eat. I also harvested a bag of strawberries (plenty of rotten ones too thanks to the rain). The strawberries are providing a quandary. When the weather was dry I found the ones in the soil were much better, the plants looked bigger and healthier and the fruit was better, while the ones in troughs, pots and towers needed watering and looked less happy. Now I find that the fruit on the plants in the soil is getting eaten by slugs and rotting whereas the fruit from the plants in containers is much less damaged and some of it is really quite big. I think the combination of the 2 methods is a good way to go as it covers all eventualities!

              Mr blackbird was busy looking for worms and it was he who was digging up the hotbed near the melon. He was in serious danger of disturbing the plant, so I found a piece of butterfly net and draped it over the bed as a temporary deterrent. This is no good in the long term as the melon will climb through it and attach itself to it creating all sorts of problems, but it will do until I think of something else.

              I noticed that a 2nd cherry was beginning to split, and as it had turned red I ate it. This one was not as ripe as the first, but I think in the current weather it would probably have rotted if I had left it where it was. There are another 6 cherries on the tree. The gooseberry bush is again infested with sawfly larvae. I really don't know what to do about this as they have already defoliated half the bush, which was fine when I took the photos less than a week ago.

              On Thursday I had taken the first 4 courgettes to my brother's as they like to make "courgetti". I had left a small one for me to eat, which was now quite big so I took it home to make soup, along with some more of the onions.
              Last edited by Penellype; 06-07-2020, 08:18 AM.
              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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              • Monday
                Not a bad day and a reasonable amount of time for gardening. The first job was to sort out the hotbed as the net I put over it was far too near the melon plant. There are various bits of weed matting around strategically placed to cover bare soil so that the cats don't dig it up. I reorganized things so that I could use 2 of these to cover the hotbed leaving the melon growing between them. Hopefully this will also help protect any fruit later on.

                Next job was to plant the leeks and the last romanesco plant in the tunnel, which meant removing some horsetail and cauliflower roots. There are still a lot of whitefly around in the tunnel.

                Most of the rest of the time was spent picking raspberries and sorting more onions. I cleared most of the half of the onion bed furthest from the tunnel, and found that most of the onions were ok, although there were a few with white rot. The ones nearer the tunnel look generally better so I may leave them for a while to ripen more.

                Tuesday
                The main job was to cut the grass before it rained, as some bits were getting rather long. I went down early, but the grass was too wet to cut straight away, so I cut back some overhanging elderberry branches and chopped them up for the compost bin. I then decided that wet or not the grass was going to be cut, and got on with it. I knew that it was going to rain and the sky was getting greyer by the minute. (When I got home the radar implied that it had been raining for some time, although it hadn't).

                Before I went home I harvested one of the buckets of Lady C potatoes and loads of raspberries - almost half of what I picked had beetle grubs in, but there were still 2 tubs full to take home. I spent the rest of the morning cooking and freezing things and reorganizing the freezers to deal with the results.

                After lunch there was a drier slot, although it had really hardly rained at all. I took some potato water down with me and sprayed the whitefly on the brassicas with it. Interestingly all the leaves that were round the outside (which I had sprayed before) had very few whitefly, whereas the newer inner leaves were seriously infested. This appears to at least be preventing them from reinfesting the sprayed leaves, and is probably worth doing.

                I harvested another bucket of Lady C potatoes as the foliage had completely died down in these. I decided to use one of the buckets and compost (originally from last year's hotbed) to plant the french bean seedlings that were in the growhouse. I'd been going to put these in the hotbed behind the growhouse, but Mr Blackbird had turned his attention to digging for worms in this area and I though it best to leave him to it. By the time I'd finished it was raining again.

                I went back in the evening to water the Desiree potatoes and fruit bushes in buckets as there had been nowhere near enough rain to water them properly. I also tied up the top of the nearly full bag of onion waste and brought it home to go in the dustbin.

                I probably should add for completion that I did water the old cauliflower bed with the onion water on Sunday. I won't know if this has any effect until next year, but I may well give it another dousing in a week or 2, as it costs nothing.
                Last edited by Penellype; 08-07-2020, 07:55 AM.
                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                • Wednesday
                  The empty cauliflower bed was annoying me. Onions won't be planted in it until February and I don't like leaving beds empty for 6 or 7 months. I decided to grow some salad greens in it, something I would not normally do outside at this time of year because of pests and lack of space. I chose green and red veined spinach, Lollo Rossa and Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, Pak Choi and pea shoots. Some of the seeds (particularly the green spinach) are old and may not germinate, but nothing lost if they don't. I will continue to water the bed with onion water, and if the salads taste vaguely of onion it doesn't matter! The bed has a nice, fine mesh net and I put some copper mesh around the edge to deter slugs.

                  That done I spent some time removing horsetail and various weeds and tying up secondary shoots from the runner beans which were trailing on the ground. The first flowers have opened on the beans.

                  I went back in the afternoon and harvested a couple of courgettes, a bag of peas, all the ripe strawberries (most were damaged) and 2 tubs of raspberries (after throwing away about half which had beetle grubs in). Quite a few of the blueberries are now blue, but they weren't quite ready as they didn't come off easily. I watered the melons under cover, but left everything else as it was clear from the radar that rain was about to arrive. The melons have lots of male flowers and Alvaro has some female buds.

                  Thursday
                  An absolute deluge over night. The bin lids were full, as were the bucket that catches drips off the roof and the water butt (which had had a good 8 inches space when I checked on Wednesday) and the trays each contained a good inch. The bottom corner of the plot was also under about an inch of water. I tipped everything into the dustbins and bucketed about half a dustbin full from the water butt into the last dustbin so that all the bins were full but there was space to collect rain in the water butt and blue barrel (which catches rain from the east facing roof, therefore wasn't full). It felt strange leaving all that water lying on the floor, but I saw little point in spending time and energy scooping up muddy water when more rain is forecast.

                  A quick check showed that 3 of the ripening cherries were splitting (they seem to hate this weather) so I took them home in the hope that they will ripen a bit more without rotting. No time to do anything else, and it rained/drizzled all day anyway.
                  A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                  • Friday
                    A nice morning but showers forecast for the afternoon. I went down early and picked a tub of raspberries and spent a while assessing what needs doing. One of the things that irritates me is that the green dalek has no lid. For the first couple of years I used an old plastic tablecloth tied on with string, which worked well until it started to disintegrate, and I attempted to replace it with a split open beet pulp sack. This really didn't work as it couldn't support the weight of rain water and for the last few months the sack has been inside the bin, covering the leylandii clippings I store in there (for use as a mulch). However it was collecting water and I noticed mosquito larvae in there, which is bad news as I have been known to have an allergic reaction to mosquito bites. I certainly don't want to be breeding the things.

                    I took the sack out and considered options. I could leave the bin open (which would continue to annoy me), I could get rid of the bin (how?), I could attempt to get a replacement lid (already tried), or I could make something. My preferred option would be to replace it with something better, but as I doubt very much that it would fit in my car, I don't see an easy way of disposing of it.

                    I had another beet pulp sack, bigger than the compost sacks I use and big enough to cover the opening with a bit to spare. I got a couple of pieces of 2x2 inch stakes (there are plenty of these) and put them inside the sack, one at either side. There is a stake at the back of the bin which the string was tied to when I used the tablecloth, and I wedged one of the pieces of wood between this and the bin . The other rested on the front edge of the bin. However I wasn't happy that this would cope with heavy rain, so I put a piece of plank inside the bag in the middle, resting on both ends of the bin opening, then I folded the open end of the bag over so that it doesn't fill with water. Hopefully this will be strong enough to withstand water and heavy enough not to blow away. Time will tell.

                    I went back after an early lunch, having checked the radar as some heavy showers were bubbling up in the area. I reckoned I had about an hour before I would get wet. I dug a bit of horsetail out of the tunnel and removed the last cauliflower which wasn't edible. I picked some peas for tea then removed the meteor peas and their supports, leaving the nasturtiums where they were as much as possible. I'd about finished this when something made me look up at the sky. Although the sun was out, to the north it was inky black and looking very threatening indeed. I quickly put everything away, grabbed the bag of peas and legged it home just in time to beat the rain and a crack of thunder. I really, really don't like being out in a thunderstorm and was very glad I'd noticed it when I did.
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                    • Could you re-purpose the lidless dalek and use it to grow spuds in or something similar?
                      If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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                      • Originally posted by burnie View Post
                        Could you re-purpose the lidless dalek and use it to grow spuds in or something similar?
                        Not easily - Its very big, so there are limited positions for it. The opening at the top is really quite narrow so you wouldn't get many potato plants in - probably no more than in one of my 30 litre buckets. Its ok as a compost bin where it is, but because it is narrower at the top than the bottom, it would not be my choice of bin as it seems like a waste of space. I prefer straight sided bins which give more volume per footprint. Anyway the DIY cover I made yesterday has survived the night (including heavy rain from yesterday's thunderstorm) so hopefully it will do the job for a while.

                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                        • Is it really that long since I updated this thread? Where did the time go?

                          Saturday and Sunday
                          Very little time and most of it was spent pulling and dealing with the rest of the onions, which were keeling over after the rain and clearly about to get white rot. Out of a total of 100 sets planted I have 38 bulbs that look like they may not have been infected. These are drying in the garage. The remainder have been chopped and frozen or turned into soup etc, with a few remaining (with all suspect parts removed) that I intend to use soon.

                          Harvested baby turnips, a bag of peas, loads of raspberries and the first few blueberries.

                          Monday
                          Considering we are supposed to be in a drier spell, there was a remarkable amount of water in the bin lids on Monday morning. I'd intended to cut the grass edges and possibly trim the leylandii in the hedge, but everything was much too wet. I picked yet more raspberries (loads have beetle grubs in now) and some more peas and spent most of the rest of the gardening time at home.

                          Tuesday
                          A better day and I managed a couple of productive visits. I'd noticed yesterday that one of the houses opposite the allotment had a skip at the front which appeared to be filling with building rubble. One of the things I always need more of at the allotment is bricks for holding down weed matting, nets, covers etc. I don't like just taking things so I summoned up the courage to walk up the drive and ask. "Take what you like" was the answer, so I got my barrow and collected a couple of (small) loads of whole and half bricks .

                          One of the calabrese plants on the shelf in the tunnel was doing a cauliflower impression (leaves going brown and floppy) probably because it has got too wet. I decided it was time to plant out the calabrese and PSB, but went round the tunnel weeding first. I had a couple of bags of 2 year old leaf mould so I used it to mulch a couple of the PSB plants - there wasn't enough for more.

                          I also trimmed some of the long bits of grass along the sides of the area near the fence. I've noticed recently that the people the other side have put some board along the bottom so there isn't such a big gap under it, which is good.

                          The seeds I sowed in the empty raised bed have mostly germinated, although there is no sign of the green spinach (very old seed).

                          Harvested the inevitable raspberries, but for the first time for ages there wasn't quite enough to fill a butter tub. These have been absolutely superb, and there are still plenty left, beetle grubs permitting. Also harvested the last bucket of Lady C potatoes (0.75kg after quite a few had been removed for very early potatoes in May), the last beetroot from the hotbed (lots of ants in the hotbed) and the first of the cucumbers (about 3 inches long) from the tunnel.

                          Wednesday
                          Not much time or enthusiasm today, partly due to rain/drizzle a lot of the time and partly due to having my credit card stopped because someone had used it for a fraudulent transaction (which had been declined, so nothing lost). It is very unsettling and I found it hard to get anything done today. I did go down after lunch when the rain stopped for a while and collected a small amount of water. I took the packet of red veined spinach down with me and sowed another row alongside the green which is unlikely to appear. Other than that I harvested a couple of courgettes, decided that the raspberries and peas would wait another day, and went home.
                          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                          • Hello Penellype, I remember reading your that you had used strulch on your strawberries? and wondered if you would recommend it and if it was your strawberries did it help keep them clean, also when I am using a spray for my veg I add a some liquid soap to the water as I think it helps hold the spray to the plant and just to say your photos are very good but I would be better not to look at them as you put me to shame with how tidy your plot is and as said before a great read many thanks.

                            Last edited by rary; 16-07-2020, 10:51 AM.
                            it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

                            Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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                            • Originally posted by rary View Post
                              Hello Penellype, I remember reading your that you had used strulch on your strawberries? and wondered if you would recommend it and if it was your strawberries did it help keep them clean, also when I am using a spray for my veg I add a some liquid soap to the water as I think it helps hold the spray to the plant and just to say your photos are very good but I would be better not to look at them as you put me to shame with how tidy your plot is and as said before a great read many thanks.
                              Yes, I use Strulch a lot as a mulch. I used to use cocoa shell, which was absolutely fabulous and miles better than anything else I have found, but unfortunately it is no longer available, probably because being made from chocolate it is poisonous to dogs. I don't have a dog...

                              Anyway, Strulch. I use this primarily as a weed suppressant as strawberries are devilish things to weed. I also use it on my ornamentals and pots as I get a lot of liverwort, moss and another weed that I have never been able to identify, which between them take over if I don't mulch. It is reasonably good at the job, but less so than cocoa shell. Strulch also claims to deter slugs. Its better than nothing, but in very wet weather its not great. As far as the strawberries go, it does protect them from getting gritty soil on them, although instead you get bits of straw sticking to them if it is wet. I also found that after the wet weather started the strawberries in the ground were almost all eaten by slugs. Ordinary straw will be much cheaper, and may well do the job just as well (I haven't tried it), although it will probably blow about more than Strulch, which is finely chopped.

                              I may try adding a little soap to the potato water, although to be fair it seems to be doing a reasonable job without. I will probably be applying more today.

                              Thanks for the kind comments. My plot is small as allotments go, and I usually have a fair amount of time so keeping it tidy isn't too difficult.
                              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                              • Hello Penellype, I met my daughter and grandson at the London Wetlands Centre a couple of days ago, first time since January. Walking round, a lot of your posts came to mind. The place has a lot of waterfowl but the main thing I noticed was how healthy the horsetail looked. The whole place seemed just full of weeds and horsetail in particular (and July apparently is the best time to see them), a bit like most neglected allotments that people display here.

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