Grey mould

by Pippa Greenwood

Autumn has definitely arrived in my hill-top garden. The lawn is soaked in dew each morning and suddenly many of my crops have given up the ghost.

Small aubergine growing on the plantAutumn has definitely arrived in my hill-top garden. The lawn is soaked in dew each morning and suddenly many of my crops have given up the ghost. But oddly enough, the place that I've noticed the seasonal shift the most is in my greenhouse.

Night time temperatures have lowered substantially, and lately it’s been pretty nippy in the daytime too, so I've taken to closing the roof vents and windows of my greenhouse. Now I'm no longer battling the cold, but the mould! Just this morning I had a quick inspection of the peppers and, having been off recording Gardeners' Question Time for a few days, I was horrified to find grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) had taken a hold on several fruits.

The 'Romano' peppers were slow to crop this year, but each plant is now dripping with up to 10 fruits. We've eaten many, but the remainder are now inedible. Sadly I found myself running inside for a large bin liner and, having slowly but surely carried the infected plants outside (I couldn’t rush because I didn’t want to waft any more spores about than absolutely necessary) I confined each plant to the bin bag.

The stems had gone from sturdy bright green to fuzzy and fungal within the space of 48 hours. Tomorrow I will pick all the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, and destroy all the plants. Even dead and dying leaves will be bagged up and thrown out, to make sure no trace of grey mould is left to reinfect next year's crop. It's a job I can't stand, but perhaps I'll make it more bearable by listening to the radio, or singing.

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Gardeners' World Web User 10/10/2010 at 11:00

Thank you for making me aware of the danger. My conservatory where i grow my peppers is tacked on to the house so I have already closed the roof vent to conserve heat and the windows and door to prevent the squirrels from eating my figs. I shall keep the conservatory as dry as I can and keep an eagle eye on it. The large green peppers are just turning orange.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/10/2010 at 08:05

It is getting harder ti avoid as temperatures drop, beacuse it is all too tempting to keep the door, vents and windows tight keep on ventilating whenever possible!

Gardeners' World Web User 17/04/2011 at 17:55

I have had quite some success with just pots of soil and droping seeds in and have slowly got more ambitious over the last few years trying to grow more. i used a propogator last year and created such a moist atmosphere that i lost almost my entire crop for the year. since then i have learnt ventilation is definately key, I was not happy :( I have pulled together what I have learnt from other blogging sites, friends and festivals in a growing guide that may be useful so check it out if you are interested :)

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:41

my peppers have been a bit slow this year too,after loosing the first buds while on holiday in july.I think they may have been over wartered.No trouble with the dreaded Botrytis yet.