Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Growing great spuds in a wet summer

Just for a change this is not about my own allotment - after last year's washout, when my allotment was waterlogged and all my spuds rotted in the ground I decided not to bother growing them this year.

George told me a couple of weeks ago that he'd had a disappointing crop this year; he blamed it on the great pesticide in horse manure problem, which has affected many gardeners around the country this season. He and Bill lost broad beans and other crops due to poisoned compost which adversely affected and deformed growth. Perhaps I should be grateful that I didn't have any manure to use this year and last!

Bill was digging up his spuds late last week and found all very badly afflicted with little black slugs -he had to throw away a large proportion of the crop as they'd been spoiled.

But Charlie has had a great crop this year, and he puts it down to soot! He has a coal fire (you don't find many of those in south west London) and when the chimney sweep makes his annual visit, Charlie keeps the soot for his allotment. When he plants his potatoes, he sprinkles in fertiliser and a handful of soot around each spud. As he was harvesting the spuds today, some of them have the soot around them as they've grown into it. and almost none are affected by the slugs or indeed the huge quantities of rain we've experienced this summer.


Sue Swift said...

Pesticide in horse manure ??? Can you explain?

Scattered Gardener said...

A new pesticide has been used on crops used for animal feed here in the UK. It seems it passes through without harming the animals, but is present in their manure, and it perverts the natural development of vegetables. Possibly other plants as well, but it's the vegetable growers who have been reporting it this season. I'll look up some info and expand on this further.