Do you know yesterday, we were all, 'Oh, look at our outdoor tomatoes, aren't they so chuffing fantastic?' And a few weeks ago we were all, 'Look at how great our potatoes are in tyres'. Well, the growing gods must have been reading these posts and thought, 'You know what they'd really love in a crap growing season, blight. Yes, let's send the Oldhams a bit of potato blight, they'd love that. They'd think it's got chuffing bells on it'. We saw the whisper of it is around 10 days ago and though we do spray with bordeaux mix, which does help to some extent to alleviate potato blight, it is not a miracle cure. There is no miracle cure for blight if you've got it, you know it, we don't have to tell you how awful it feels and now we have to play the waiting and watering game.
You see blight isn't the end of the world unless more than 25% of the foliage is gone the way that all potato blight foliage goes, which looks like this.
Just warms the cockles of your heart doesn't it? The blight isn't on every plant but bordeaux mixture is. Now we can put this down to several reasons: (1) we have had a terrible summer, it was reminiscent of our dig for victory wartime garden problems; early warm spring and then everything collapsed. It did it again this year, (2) we have had too much rain and blight is carried this way, on the wind, in the rain, from your trouser leg, or; (3) we brought in around 1000 litres of soil for these tyres from recycled compost from the council. Part of us is lumping (2) and (3) together. It is making us think twice of ever using this compost again and possibly returning to open ground next season. It's that bad.
So, we'll carry on spraying the blue bordeaux mixture and pumping water every few days into the tyres to juice up the spuds. For those of you wondering what bordeaux mixture is, scratching your head and saying to the person next to you on the train, bus, tram or bed (remember not to get the latter confused with the fore), 'Isn't it a wine?' Bordeaux mix is copper sulphate and slaked lime, discovered in France long before any of us knew how to spell our names, it was discovered that plants sprayed with lime to promote and protect growth from copper vessels had a wonderful side effect, it held mildew at bay, it also reduced and in some cases eradicated bacterial issues. No, this isn't one of those ads about athlete's foot. When the powder is mixed with water you can apply it as a spray rather than having to do what those poor Victorian garden boys had to do which was rush out with the powder after it rained and puff it on anything that moved in a walled garden. They were also send out to get glass hammers and tartan paint. The water naturally dries leaving the powder clinging to the plant. It works in principal, it often keeps blight at bay until this chuffing summer. Oh well, you win some, you lose some, you lose some more, you swear at the bloody plant and it still doesn't listen to you, and then you go lie down in a dark shed with a cup of tea and biscuit.