Tomato Blight & A Cake Sale

My small garden is continuing to produce crops.

This week I have been picking cucumbers (both indoor and outdoor ones), raspberries, runner beans courgettes, patty pans and I dug up the rest of my early potatoes (marfona) and a few of my main crop potatoes (desiree):

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I also picked my first kohl rabi of the season – which my daughters love to eat raw, dipped in salad cream, hopefully there will be more soon:

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I have also continued to pick tomatoes from my greenhouse and chery tomatoes from my outdoor hanging baskets:

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However, I spotted the dreaded ‘blight’ on my outdoor tomatoes.  I grow a variety called ‘outdoor girl’ which usually give me a good crop each year before blight strikes, however this year they didn’t grow as quickly as usual due to a colder start in late Spring and so all the tomatoes were still green.

Tomato blight:

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“Tomato blight is caused by the same fungus as potato blight.  It is called ‘Phytophthora infestans’, but it is more commonly known as ‘late blight’.  It is a windblown fungus that can travel long distances.  It spreads when the temperature is above 10C and the humidity is above 75% for two consecutive days, known as a ‘Smith Period’.   In the UK outbreaks can occur from June onwards and apparently it is usually seen in the south west first.

The disease is common on outdoor tomatoes – tomatoes grown in a polytunnel or greenhouse have a bit of protection from it, as the spores have to enter through doors and vents.

The early stages of blight can be easily missed and not all plants are affected at the same time, however it will spread rapidly”

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For some strange reason, the tomatoes next to my shed and my cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets haven’t yet succumbed to the dreaded blight, though I am checking them daily, together with my greenhouse tomatoes:

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However the cherry tomatoes that are growing in pots, began to show blight symptoms a couple of days after blight was first spotted in my garden:

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What to do if you spot blight on your plants:

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“If you catch blight early you can strip the tomatoes from the plant and ripen them on a windowsill.  Be careful to check them every day as some of them may already be affected.

If you have caught it really early, you can use the green tomatoes to make chutney, as provided they haven’t turned brown, the tomatoes are safe to eat.

Take up your blighted tomato plants straight away and dispose of them, so you don’t help to spread the spores to your neighbour’s plots.

 According to ‘Garden Organic’ the stems and leaves of affected plants can be added to your compost heap, as the spores won’t survive on dead plant material, but do not compost any blighted fruit (the tomatoes) as the spores survive in the seeds inside”

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My tomatoes are now on trays waiting to ripen….I always pick them off the plants when I first spot blight and this way I manage to save approx 75% of the tomatoes…provided blight is spotted early enough:

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I’ve been busy in the garden this week, summer pruning and cutting back overgrown plants.

I started with the pyracantha that was trying to escape over the fence into next doors garden.  The trunk was quite thick at the top so I had to ‘saw’ the top off.  Unfortunately I did lose most of the berries that would have ripened in autumn, but it needed to be done before it upset the neighbours:

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I then removed the sweet peas that were growing in a pot…they have given a wonderful display, but they sadly succumbed to mildew and were hardly producing any more flowers:

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 I also removed the sweet peas that were growing over the arch I made, again they gave a wonderful display but they also succumbed to mildew and had stopped producing flowers.

At the end of May I had also planted two pumpkin plants (that produce small pumpkins) alongside the sweet peas……these are growing nicely now and I made sure they tied onto the arch for support:

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I also gave my bay tree a summer prune and it smelt lovely as I was cutting the leaves.  It looks much neater now:

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One final job this week was to remove the lettuces that I tried to grow in guttering.  Unfortunately they didn’t do very well at all.  When I first planted them it was very wet and as they were so close to the fence…. I thought that they would stay really dry, however this was not the case and they were too wet and I suspect the roots began to rot.  This was followed by really hot weather and  the compost was really really dry even though I watered them every day.

So I removed the compost and drilled drainage holes along the guttering so the new compost wouldn’t become water logged in bad weather:

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I then thought about how I could keep the compost from drying out too much and came to the conclusion I should use water retaining granules…but I didn’t have any.  Then I remembered that in a gardening program once, Christine Walkden said she used old sponges that she cut up…..so this is what I did:

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I then mixed the sponge with compost and put it in the guttering……

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…..and then I sowed some more lettuce seed.

Unfortunately the local squirrel came along then and buried some monkey nuts in a couple of places, so I had to put some wire over the guttering too:

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I will let you know if this now works.

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This week in the home:

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This week has been a baking week.  My youngest daughter did a cake sale with her ‘NCS’ friends to raise money for ‘Wishes 4 kids’ and my eldest daughter and I helped by making some little cakes for her.  I also made a chcolate cake to raffle off and altogether they raised £120, which is incredible.

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However an hour after starting the sale they were beginning to run out of cakes and I quickly made some more.  I made 28 chocolate chip fairy cakes, 12 double chocolate muffins and a massive tray of cereal cakes and I defrosted some cheesy courgette scones from my freezer (which defrost quickly).  I somehow managed to deliver them all in the car within 65 minutes…..I didn’t know I could bake that quickly, but it helped that I knew the recipes off by heart.  Unfortunately when I got back home the kitchen was in a right mess with pots and bowls everywhere, but at least they raised some more money at the cake sale.

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This week I have also been doing my usual baking…

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And I also made some cheesy courgette scones which I froze for another time (though most of them went to the cake sale in the end):

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I also made some laundry liquid as I had run out (I still love making this as it is so cheap and I really can’t understand why I brought expensive powders for so long when laundry liquid is so cheap and easy to make):

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And finally I made some homemade burgers to freeze for another time and some to have for tea.  Homemade burgers are delicious as they actually taste of beef (I never think shop brought ones do).

They are so easy to make……I mix good quality lean mince beef with a couple of grated onions and a chopped garlic clove and I then mix in an egg to bind it altogether.

You can mix in any herbs and spices too if you want….a teaspoon of chilli powder makes them taste delicious too.

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I then take a handful and roll it into a ball and then flatten it into a burger shape (make sure your burgers aren’t too thick or they won’t cook evenly).  At this stage you can freeze the burgers between pieces of greaseproof paper for another time, or you can fry them until they are cooked.

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I served ours inside homemade rolls with salad, mayonaise and a slice of cheese.  I also added a side portion of sweet potato wedges and they were a real treat!

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Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back next week as usual.

Have a great week.

XXX

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22 thoughts on “Tomato Blight & A Cake Sale

  1. another great post. the most of my tomatoes are still green but a few begin to ripen. the weather is this summer not so good,many rain and wednesday have we had the first frost in the night. but tomorrow says the weatherman come back the summer with sun and higher temperatures.
    your baking looks delicious.also your hamburgers. thanks for the tip!! your week was really very busy.
    have a nice week,
    regina

  2. What an amazingly busy week! Your cakes and bakes look fabulous. We also suffered with tomato blight last year. Helpful husband planted 12 seedlings (destined for the school fete!) in a small space. We salvaged some tomatoes and burnt the plants. It’s good to hear you can compost the leaves. I didn’t know that: thank you for the tip. This year that part of the plot has been turned over to flowers 🙂 Hope you’ve put your feet up for the weekend 🙂

  3. Shame about your toms. Hope you can salvage plenty. Ours are just static – still small and green. My sweet peas did terribly this year – but I never have much luck with them at the best of times. The runner beans have had such good crops ! Hubby’s not done anything different so I think it must be luck. Ooh that burger has set me off – looks delicious. I must make some home-made – I don’t know why I never have as they must taste better! Have a good week.

  4. We have blight too on our greenhouse tomatoes, my husband has taken two out, but I realise that I have lost all of them and will pick the tomatoes and see what I can salvage, the outdoor tomatoes are fine so far, is confusing, what is the management after they have been removed, I can clean all the greenhouse out, but will the soil be ok to grow tomatoes next year?
    We are going to harvest our potatoes today, beetroot and onions, and pick the first blackberries, will be jam making next week.
    Have a good week.
    Sue

    • I must get round to jam as I still have fruit in my freezer from last yea lol.

      Blight won’t stay in the soil or even on dead foliage, but it will stay in any seeds that have dropped onto the soil, so be sure to remove every last tomato (even tiny green ones).

      Have a great week XXX

    • Let’s hope you escape it. It’s funny but my other outside tomatoes are still ok…maybe they are a bit sheltered near my shed?….I suppose it’s one of those things that will always be a mystery lol

  5. I was interested to see your comment about blight being wind-blown. My general veg patch, where my potatoes are grown, is in an open area where the wind blows through freely and they are showing the first signs of blight. The only tomatoes I have grown this year have been outside in an enclosed courtyard and they are still totally clear of blight. So I am hoping that the enclosed space has effectively stopped the wind-borne spores from reaching them. My outdoor tomatoes on the veg patch have invariably got blight. Maybe that’s a lesson for all cultivation of outdoor tomatoes …

  6. Also … on burgers … I use a (non-crinkle-cut) pastry cutter to squash the meat down into. It creates a really compact and very evenly-thick burger but full of proper beef flavour. And the shapes freeze really well too.

  7. Shame about the tomatoes. I heard rumours of the dreaded blight, but we only have one plant and it’s at home on the patio and so far it is fine. It’s one of those new-fangled grafted ones and it’s HUGE. Nearly up to the upstairs bathroom window.
    Funnily enough I too made the cheesy courgette scones this week from the recipe I grabbed from your blog last year but never got round to doing. Today I’m baking sourdough bread and will make a courgette lemon drizzle cake to go in the oven after I take the bread out, plus it’s courgette and parmesan soup for lunch today….

      • Well we had some for lunch yesterday. I cut them through, slathered them with full fat Philadelphia cheese and added a slice of tomato and a piece of serano ham in each one. They were lovely. I think for appearance I should have brushed the tops with milk or egg before baking.

      • Pretty well. I halved some of them them and then put them back together as mini sandwiches with Philadelphia cheese, tomato and serrano ham for lunch yesterday. I think I should have wet the tops with milk or egg before baking for a better appearance but the taste was fab.

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