Extreme weather allotment growing

This is not a post I ever expected to be writing in July! But I’ve spoken to several allotment holders this week who are battling floods or who have, like us, lost trees to the gale force winds we’re experiencing.

It’s unusual, in our area, to have 40mph winds in the supposed height of summer. Trees are in full leaf and that turns them into vast leafy sails – a wind that would blow through them in November blows them over in July. It’s not just the wind that’s caused the problem on plot #103: the erstwhile allotment holder who planted our apple and pear trees ringed them around with thick plastic barriers. While they have managed to get some roots past this wall, they still have a much smaller root system than they should. This root truncation, plus the winds, plus the rain that has washed soil away from roots and stopped the compacting that usually happens in high summer have all added up to serious root rock in both our apple trees – we’ve had to prune them drastically to stop them rocking into our shed! They may not survive the pruning but the shed certainly wasn’t going to survive playing Newton’s cradle with fruit trees, and it’s a sad fact that these trees are at the end of their lives anyway: poorly rooted and badly pruned fruit trees are prone to many diseases and our apples have quite a few of them!

Heavy rain also washes soil out of containers so today I’ve gone round and checked the second early potatoes that we have in planters and sure enough, some of the Carlingfords are above soil level. This is not good, as potatoes that go green are toxic to the human system, but it’s also easily rectifiable. Once they are covered again, and the light is excluded for between 10-14 days, these spuds will revert to healthy white flesh. You don’t have to cover potatoes with soil: you can use grass clippings, rhubarb leaves, wood chippings or any other kind of mulch that is fully light-excluding.

Frogs seem to be loving the horrible cold and damp weather though, and everywhere I went today I had to persuade young froglets to vacate their location so that I could weed and harvest.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Blogger Pegg said...

Not related to your post I'm afraid, but I'm wondering if you have any advice for getting rid of Gooseberry Sawfly? Derris powder is recommended in a few 'googles' but it's now banned, and the only nematode I've found is £25! Other than picking them off, are there any other ways to get rid of them?
Thanks, Pegg.

July 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Ami said...

Hey thanks for a good blog. Just found you today. Me and my partner are totaly new to the allotment world, so really enjoying finding all these blogs.

September 14, 2012 at 12:55 AM  

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