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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Is this the start of potato blight or just something of nothing?

Posted: 24/06/2014 at 10:47

Claire, your description sounds very like my potatoes. You're supposed to remove the blighted leaves and destroy them. I do find that with Charlotte, the potatoes themselves are unaffected even when the whole top.has died off, and they will stay fresh in the ground until you want them, although they won't grow any bigger.

But some other varieties of potato tuber seem to succumb to the blight, so maybe lift and store them, or eat them first?

Is this the start of potato blight or just something of nothing?

Posted: 23/06/2014 at 20:39

Bordeaux Mixture may help to prevent blight from spreading but it won't get rid of blight that's already there. I have a feeling it's another of those things that's due to be phased out but there may still be some in garden centres etc. 

Is this the start of potato blight or just something of nothing?

Posted: 23/06/2014 at 17:54

My potatoes have severe (and very early!) blight. Although it's been dry for a couple of weeks, we had frequent rain and mild temperatures for some weeks before this, and there's no stopping the blight now. My plants never even got as far as flowering.

Happily, the spuds themselves are not affected (I always grow Charlotte for this characteristic) but the yields will not be as good as it should.

Tomato thriving on neglect!

Posted: 19/06/2014 at 18:52

Just thought I'd share this with you: when I potted up my baby tomato plants, one of them snapped off near soil level. I pushed it down into the compost, but was running out of space in the mini-greenhouse, so I left the damaged one out on the ground in its pot. It's an outdoor variety (Maskotka) but this was only mid-April. 

I took good care of the other tomatoes, putting bubble-wrap around them on cold nights. At the end of May I planted them out in the bed, and noticed that the "runt" was still alive. So I found a spot for it in another corner of the garden, just to see if it would survive. And guess what? It's now the bushiest and greenest of all my tomato plants.

So maybe we don't need to mollycoddle our plants so much. This one has been injured, left for dead and exposed to the elements since April, and it's thriving!

Has anyone else had an experience like that? -not personally! (left for dead, etc) - but with a supposedly tender plant that turns out to be a toughie?


Posted: 15/06/2014 at 15:52

I make gooseberry wine and blend it with elderflower wine. The gooseberry on its own is bit acidic, but it blends beautifully with the elderflower and makes a lovely wine.


Posted: 14/06/2014 at 16:55

I agree, that's what courgettes do when they're not pollinated. I see they're in pots - are they in a greenhouse? That would help to explain it. It's early in the season, so there's still time for them to come good. Hang in there but make sure they can be accessed by insects, or pollinate them manually.

Plumless plum tree

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 17:46

We have a plum tree that's about six years old and this is the first year there's been any sort of crop from it. I think you just have to be patient.

Cold Frames

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 17:45

I have a mini-greenhouse which does the same sort of thing. One extra use I have found for it is to dry off my onions, shallots and garlic if the weather is unsettled when they're ready to harvest.

Clematis id

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 18:03

I usually cut back to a pair of buds a few inches from the ground. New shoots will then grow up. If cut do it a bit  higher up, it will still be OK. And watch out for slugs and snails munching the new shoots as they start to grow!

Bees and more bees!

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 17:55

No, they don't get drunk but when they have a tummy full of nectar, they become quite docile. If you see one that looks wobbly it may just be dying or ill - an individual bee may not live very long, and some get diseases. All the male drones get pushed out of the hive to die off at the end of the season. I'm not sure if they actually sleep in the way we do.

Although they can go seven miles, they dont't normally go more than two or three miles from the hive - they'll go for whatever is nearest and most abundant in nectar. If they find any oil-seed rape, they will happily pig out on that and not look any further.

The popular plants with bees in our garden at the moment are various cotoneasters, sage, and the perennial geraniums (cranesbill-type). They bees are practically queuing up to get at the geraniums. The thing I really must get is a flowering shrub called abelia (there's a clue in the name) which bees really love.

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