5 September – Thwarted by carrot fly … again!

It was a very busy weekend for the WORD-right team.  We reached Sunday evening feeling more than a bit weary, but satisfied with everything we’d achieved.

Prize-winning vegetables at the Moreton Show

Prize-winning vegetables at the Moreton Show

Saturday morning started with a trip to the Moreton in Marsh show.  It’s several years since we attended and as usual, it was an interesting morning out.  Wearing our allotment hats, we were looking forward to seeing the vegetable section.  While the size of some of these giant vegetables makes me lost in admiration, I’m not sure if growing them would ever appeal to me.  Rumour has it that these king-size veg lack flavour, but we’ve never put it to the test.  I think for us, it will continue to be a source of entertainment rather than a mission in life.

Dexter cattle at the Moreton Show

Dexter cattle at the Moreton Show

Having left home early to visit the show and avoid the crowds, we were able to retreat to the peace and quiet of our allotment for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  One of our missions was to dig up the bulk of our carrots.  Last year we left them in too long and the carrot fly damage, despite the companion planting, was severe.

This year, having done some extensive research, we decided to create a barrier.  Carrot flies fly low to the ground and, by erecting a screen round the bed, it seems they can be thwarted.  However, we were a little late in constructing the mesh barrier and we’ve suffered because of it.  But because our allotment borders onto a hedgerow which is higher than the plot, it might be that the infernal carrot fly were able to use this a launch pad and effect an entry.  Who knows?  But next year, we will keep our carrot patch well away from the hedgerow, erect the screen earlier, and perhaps try a combination of barrier and companion planting.  I’m coming down in favour of planting coriander around the carrots … working on the assumption it’s one of the smelliest plants of all time … it might just do the trick!

Hungry Gap kale waiting to be thinned out

Hungry Gap kale waiting to be thinned out

Sunday morning saw us back up on the allotment, this time for a spot of overdue maintenance.  The peas, which haven’t done well this year, had to come down and the first of our winter salad leaves were ready to be planted.  These have been started off in the garden and have grown beautifully.  Our Hungry Gap kale, grown in situ, had to be thinned and also transplanted.  None of the salad or the kale looked impressed with the disturbance, so we can only hope being well watered helps them overcome the shock.  Only time will tell.

One of the attractions on our allotment (William Fowler Allotment Trust), is the damson tree which grows in our hedgerow.  We had hoped for a good crop this year, but sadly they are few and far between.  Our plum

Damsons in the hedgerow

Damsons in the hedgerow

tree in the garden suffered the same fate.  It is normally laden with fruit, but this year’s crop has been disappointing.  Perhaps we need to brush up on our fruit growing techniques to ensure better yields next year.  But if nothing else, we’ll be able to make another batch of damson gin, surely one of the best fruit ‘liqueurs’ of all.

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