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Sow The Seed follows the ups and downs of me, Helen and my husband, Simon - a couple trying to live a simpler life in south-west Wales.

I hope this blog will not only be a good reference and diary for us over the coming years, but will give helpful advice and tips for people trying to do the same thing, or dreaming of doing the same thing.

Find out more on how we got here.

What’s Happening Today

Tasks: Sowing; pruning; weeding; pottering

Harvesting: Cucumber, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, broad beans, potatoes

Eggs this year: 394 (hens) 317 (ducks)


Blighted leaves

It was inevitable given the weather we’ve been having this summer. While many have been basking in glorious sunshine (and wishing for rain), here in south-west Wales we’ve been hoping for a few good days of warm sunshine to remind us that it’s summer. Actually it hasn’t been quite that bad, it’s been warm(ish) but it has rained quite a bit, and warm and wet only leads to one thing…blight!

I went out yesterday to check on the potatoes, as I have been doing the last few weeks. If I’ve seen a yellowing or blackening leaf I’ve snipped it off and thrown it on the bonfire. There were certainly a few there in amongst the green leaves yesterday, but this morning all the plants seem to be affected.

Potato blight

Tops off!

The best thing, so I’m told, is to whip the tops (known as hallums) off as soon as possible, particularly if rain is forecast (which it is). This stops any blight spores being washed into the soil and getting to the potatoes. I probably should have been a bit more vigilant in removing any suspect leaves, as when I dug up a few sample plants, some of the potatoes had gone mushy and smelly – a sure sign of blight. Interestingly the Maris Piper have been more badly affected than the Disiree potatoes (something to note for next year).  On the positive side the potatoes seem to be a good size, we are just going to have to be very vigilant on storing our potatoes and not putting any with blight in the sacks otherwise it will infect the whole lot.

My next concern is that the tomatoes will get infected, as they are just as susceptible. I’m hoping that because they’re in the polytunnel they will be better protected, and I tend to open the door nearest them less often so hopefully the blight spores won’t be able to get in so easily.

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Modified version of the Summer Polaroid Pics template