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Crop Protection
The plot
Carl's Allotment Blog
Monday, 1 November 2010
How much money do you have to spend on net?!
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Crop Protection

It's became very plain mid season that 'the standard' netting protecting the brassicas just wouldn't hack it. Yes it's fine to keep the pigeons off, but then the Pieris Brassicae, the dreaded Cabbage White butterfly were another problem. Those little buggers fold their wings and squeeze through the mesh. So we bit our lip and purchased 7mm butterfly net, at a horrendous price despite a lengthy online search for the lowest! Stretched over a wooden frame we were quite pleased with it, albeit we didn't buy 'quite' enough first time so we have an overlap, which then gave the butterflies a miniscule chance of a route in, every time the wind blew!  A chance, of course, they inevitably took, and then we ended up with having to crawl under the net to do some squashology on the caterpillars. Of course some remained, and turned to winged terrors, now trapped under the nets with our beloved cabbages and cauliflowers. But then overall, the 7 mil net wasn't bad, although it didn't stop all the other bugs, (earwigs and white fly were really pesky this year) Even now, shake the brussels and a huge cloud of white fly take to the air. So insect mesh for next season? Have you seen the price?! We've always believed that the allotment should be done on the cheap, skip raiding for wood and wire, that wartime 'make do and mend' spirit that means your veg comes at not too high a price. That's not to say that there are not some lovely high tech fancy cloches, and for that matter crop netting, out there that would be wonderful, but it doesn't 'arf make your vegetables expensive. So I'm hoping the butterfly netting purchased this season will last many more!

Please feel free to comment or contribute to this blog. Tips and tricks are very welcome. The 'post comment' link is below to the right!

Posted by Carl at 06:36 BST
Updated: Monday, 1 November 2010 13:17 BST
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Friday, 22 October 2010
Thoughts turn to next season
Mood:  happy
Topic: Seed
It was an exciting evening. Two and a half hours spent perusing the potato and seed catalogue that arrived from the Allotment Holders Association. It's very tempting to want to grow everything isn't it? We're certainly going to give quite a bit of new stuff a 'go' next season. Included in the new tastes on the Allotment will be Pak Choi, Turks Turban squashes, beefsteak tomatoes, celery, turnips, chillis, cucumbers and a whole bundle more. Adding up the number of seed packets we've ordered came to 78!! But that is for both allotment and garden, and does include quite a few flower seeds! It's been a long held wish to have a cut fower area on the allotment, and we've just created a space where next season we hope for a riot of colour. Having had a lousy maincrop King Edward harvest, we've decided to try small amounts of 5 varieties of potato next year. Unfortunately we won't be growing a variety of potato called Gala that we fell in love with on holiday in Germany.  I emailed the growers in Germany, and the marketing chap was on the phone to me, explaining that despite being sold in various countries including the United States, trying to get their spuds into the UK with all our regulations, (and I suspect stout protection of our own seed potato industry), is a very difficult business. Which is a great shame as Gala is a particularly delicious eat. But we'll trial a few in each part of the year and see what gives us the best yield and taste. Now back to those seed packets... I reckon we're going to need a pretty good written sowing and planting plan. Best get on with it.

Posted by Carl at 08:10 BST
Updated: Monday, 1 November 2010 12:30 BST
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Thursday, 21 October 2010
What every allotment needs
Mood:  happy
Topic: Weather
The weather turns colder, the days get shorter, there's no too much to do on the allotment, so what else does it need? You're right... a blog! So here goes.

Posted by Carl at 18:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 1 November 2010 12:30 BST
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