Allotment hits and misses

by Jane Moore

The plot is pretty much reaching its peak around now, and that always strikes me as a good time to take stock.

Blight on tomatoesThe plot is pretty much reaching its peak around now, and that always strikes me as a good time to take stock. I can sit back on the step of the shed and soak up the successes of the summer. But I can also reflect on what didn't go so well, and analyse what went wrong.

Top failure prize this year has to go to parsnips - I only have about half a dozen. I know what went wrong, though: I sowed old seed that was past its sell-by-date. I've learnt my lesson, and it won't happen again.

Second prize goes to my tomatoes, which I grew at home in an attempt to keep them clear of the dreaded tomato blight. No chance! They've succumbed to the horrible fungus yet again. What's worse is that the fruits on 'Marmande' were looking so lovely and swelling so beautifully that anyone who saw them passed comment. It's a lovely variety to grow and the fruits did look fantastic, but I can't tell you what they taste like!

My third 'failure' is less severe. This year my onions are decidedly patchy performers. I've got a few that would be worthy of the village show and more than a few that would be best pickled as they're so tiny. Again, I think I know what the problem is. The weeds got a bit out of hand in June when I was on holiday, swamping the onions at a rather delicate stage of their development and they never really recovered. My shallots, however, are fantastic!

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Gardeners' World Web User 16/08/2009 at 22:06

I and my fellow plot holder's also had a bad year with tomatoes thanks to Captain Blight, the only survivors on our site this year are in greenhouses, I wonder what i will be building over the winter lol

Gardeners' World Web User 17/08/2009 at 16:23

What is wrong with our potato's. We grew them successfully but when we boil them they fall apart. Can anyone suggest a reason why? The type are Maris Piper. Anyone else had this problem?

Gardeners' World Web User 17/08/2009 at 16:39

Hi there, could somebody tell me why my tomato plants have flowers but are producing no tomatoes after flowering is over? is there a way to hand pollinate the flowers?

Gardeners' World Web User 18/08/2009 at 10:45

Yes, strawberry pixie, you can with a soft paintbrush. You need to have plants near your tomatoes to bring in the pollinating insects. Have a look in an open garden or the neighbours and note which flowering plants are buzzing with insects and beg or buy one of those.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/08/2009 at 15:41

I tried to grow Marmande for the second year in pots in a different area of my garden but they also got blight. I am hoping that it has not spread to my other varieties which unfortunately were in the same area. I am cutting back all the foliage and keeping my fingers crossed

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