Sunday, 7 July 2019

Average Weather and Tomato Problems

A week into July and the month's weather so far hasn't been anything special. Daytime temperatures have been around average for early July but night time temperatures generally have been a little below average.
Rainfall has been limited to just 0.4mm (0.02in) which fell in the early hours of Saturday morning. Despite a wetter than average June the garden and allotment would like a decent drink but there doesn't look to be much rainfall on offer over the next few days. We've had very little rainfall now for the last couple of weeks.

On the allotment, we've got tomato problems with what looks like weed killer contamination of the compost in the growbags.
The fern like shape and cupping of the leaves is typical of damage caused by compost contaminated with weedkiller. Sue has contacted Levingtons the growbag manufacturers and we are supplying a soil sample from the growbag for analysis. I have my doubts  about this testing as it involves finding a sample of contaminated soil in the growbag. Two of the three tomatoes in the growbag appear at this stage to be unaffected so only part of the growbag compost appears to be contaminated. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the discussions with the manufacturer and testing reveal.

On a brighter note, our new strawberry bed has produced some decent strawberries despite us only having planted it up this spring. The best of the varieties this year has been "Elegance" which has produced a some large tasty strawberries.
The start of July has also seen us begin harvesting our First Early Potatoes. We've dug the first roots of 'Casablanca' and 'Rocket' both of which have produced a decent crop of new potatoes. At the moment we are edging towards Rocket producing the tastier of the two varieties. Amongst this year's trial varieties is one First Early potato 'Premiere' which was planted later than 'Casablanca' and 'Rocket' but it will have completed its 90 day growing period in the coming week so we will need to lift a root to see how it compares in quantity and taste. Even at this early stage, I think it's safe to say that this year's potato crop will be much better than last year's but it is getting to the stage where they need a decent drop of rain to keep them growing strongly. Despite that wet June, the ground has dried out quickly as I discovered digging a root of potatoes on Saturday afternoon.
The forecast is for average temperatures and remaining mostly dry for the next week so the potatoes might not get the rain they require.


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