returning from holiday

Returning From Holiday – Blight, Raspberries, Caterpillars and Neat Beet Tricks

Last week, I wondered what I’d come back to after my holiday…

Tomato blight. Hmmmph.

The dreaded blight has ripped right through all four of my outdoor tomato plants. I’m not alone falling foul of the disease, but I’m still really gutted.

There is one glimmer of hope though: the tomatoes in the greenhouse are finally starting to ripen and as yet show no signs of blight. So, fingers crossed, I might get a crop (albeit late and smaller than normal).

Cabbage White Caterpillars (Again)
My heart sank a second time when I caught a whiff of the horribly pungent stench of rotting winter greens. I have a small corner of curly kale left that had somehow resisted the cabbage whites, but alas, I returned at the weekend to find the leaves covered in caterpillars.

How they got on there I’ll never know, as I put robust netting in place after my first batch of kale was munched. As sad as I am to be losing the last of my kale, I’ve got to tip my hat to the determination of the little white butterflies.

Talking of caterpillars, I also found this living in the recycling bin. I have no idea of the type, but it’s massive. At least as big as my finger, and much fatter. If anyone can shed any light, that would be great!

back from holiday

There was plenty of good news though, particularly where my raspberries are concerned. My two-year-old canes are full of big, juicy berries which are not only joyous for me, but for Lewis too. He is now fully converted to the tastiness of ‘rasbree’, and so far me and Ailsa haven’t got a look in!

I now grow pretty much nothing but late varieties, with Autumn Bliss and Polka (pictured above) being my favourite. Polka is a fairly recent addition to the patch, but the fruits grow really big and make excellent jam if you’re lucky enough to get a glut (if you do have a glut, get in touch – I know a lively little 18 months old who would be more than happy to take them off your hands!).

Beetroot Tricks
I’ve learnt a neat trick with beetroot too. This summer, I’ve only sown one short row of Cylindra, which has kept me in beets. I didn’t get round to thinning, which led to bigger, stronger beets dominating the smaller seedlings.

However, once I’d picked a beet, the smaller seedlings around it have grown on into proper beetroot. This might be a fluke but has certainly made good use of a small space.

Runner Beans
And my runners are still going great guns. With the exception of my courgettes, the runners could well be my Crop of 2014. They’ve been prolific, and I’m impressed with the White Lady variety I’ve grown. They grow very long, but don’t seem to get stringy, which is really handy if you miss a harvest or can’t keep up with the picking.

My plot is looking scruffy at the moment, but I think this is because we’re entering the odd ‘crossover’ period. I’m working to make the most of the crops that are still available, but as others die off, I can’t help think of next year, and how I might do things differently.

I’ll get my thoughts down on paper at some point, but I’m leaving that for a miserable winter’s evening, with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. For now, I’ll savour the raspberries. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Returning From Holiday – Blight, Raspberries, Caterpillars and Neat Beet Tricks”

  1. That looks like some type of hawkmoth caterpillar – I’m not enough of an expert to work out which but they all develop into v. large moths
    The UK moths pages on facebook have pix of very similar and the experts there can help with ID

  2. Next year try lightly sifting flour on your cabbage/kale, but hard to do when you are on vacation, sigh. . .I wish you could send all those nice fat caterpillars to my chickens, though.

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