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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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The Allotment

Here's some advice from other gardeners to the team at MACS. If you have something to add please fill in the form.

Your Name: John Martin
Your Advice: Just watched the July video about blight. If you want to be more organic choose blight resistant varieties of spuds. As soon as you see any blight pull the tops off the plants but leave the spuds in the ground. This can be a bit awkward but if you put one hand flat around the base of the stem and pull firmly but slowly with the other, the spuds should stay in the ground.

It is important to leave the tubers in the ground for about 3 weeks after the blighty tops have been removed. This protects the tubers from exposure to the fungus as you lift them. Lift them on a dry day (we do have some) and dry the tubers in the air before storing. Don't leave the tubers exposed to light for more than about 24 hours as they will start to turn green and inedible, some say poisonous.

Store the dry tubers in paper or hessian sacks. I find that used feed bags as for sheep or horses do well and are free. I hang the bags up for storing as this keeps them dry and away from vermin.

The gent who was advising you to spray is correct that this will control blight but it will also harm lots of invertebrates and helpful microorganisms that make for a healthy soil and good natural food.
Using chemicals will initially give you bigger crops but your allotment will become dependent on the continued use of toxic chemicals to keep producing. Using chemicals that kill off the organisms that harm your plants also kills off the useful predators. Let nature strike a balance of predators and prey species and you will be surprised how your plants seem to look after themselves. Last I grew a few lupin plants in my vegetable garden. They quickly became covered in greenfly. They still flowered but looked pretty awful. I was advised to spray or wash the off with soapy water. I did neither. The lupins died back but so did the greenfly and none of my vegetables of fruit were infested at all. The lupins were sacrificed to allow the vegetables to thrive. The greenfly were happy; so were the ladybirds which ate them; the bees loved the lupins while they lasted and I have reasonable vegetables for such a bad year. Everyone was happy.

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Your Name: Ian Butler
Your Advice: Just wanted to say I think your site is great!

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Your Name: David Hamilton
Your Advice: Keep up the good work.I have a gardens blog and have posted about this project.It will be read by people from all over the world. I would like to see what the young people think about the project in their own words! My blogs address is http://www.snappycrocsgarden.blogspot.com
Keep on growing!

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