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Down the vegetable patch

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Jun 17, 2016

Protect your carrots from root flyLong evenings are upon us and there are lots of opportunities to get jobs in the garden done even after work now. One thing I have been trying to keep on top over the past few weeks is my vegetable patch and making sure everything is ticking over nicely down there.

Often when I talk to customers in CountryLife about problems in their vegetable patch, it often comes down to not enough attention being paid to what they are trying to grow. When you grow your own food it is often easy to forget about the plants between sowing the seeds and until crops start to appear. Lets face it, they aren’t very interesting or exciting It's important to keep and eye on your vegetable patchbetween these stages so it can be easy to forget about them. And not keeping an eye on things, even for a few weeks, can result in more work for you later on.

This is why checking the vegetable patch should be part of your nightly routine and it will quickly become second nature to check what’s going on down there. Spending 10-15 minutes in the evening looking around will be plenty of time to check for insects and keep on top of weeds. This will make sure you get the best out of your crops and have healthy crop.

Potato Blight is something to keep an eye out for over the coming months if you are growing your own potatoes. Met Eireann has started to issue blight warnings and it is important to be vigilant for any signs of the disease in your potato crops. If you have early potatoes they are often not affected by it whereas main crop potatoes can be very badly affected and if you don’t act fast enough you could loose an entire crop.

Potato blight needs to be caught early

Blight is easy enough to spot in crops. It causes brown patches to appear on the leaves of your potato plants which looks like the leaves are dying. If it is very light you can pick the leaves off and destroy them. However a large infection will need to be treated chemically to combat it. To control blight you can use a product called Bayer Garden Potato Blight Control, which is used to treat late foliar and tuber blight. The treatment is fast acting and long lasting control for the disease.

Blight can also affect tomato crops so it is important to be vigilant for any signs of the disease on your crops as it can spread very quickly in a humid greenhouse. With tomatoes now is also a good time to start feeding your plants with a high potash tomato feed as this will help the plants vitality and encourage good fruit formation.

In my own vegetable garden I like to incorporate a garlic wash in to my watering routine as carrot root fly and caterpillars can be a problem for me. By mixing the concentrated garlic wash into my water supply I find that I don’t have an issue with either of these insects any more. The garlic wash acts as a natural deterrent and the insects do not cause any damage.

I buy my garlic wash in store and it is simply a very strong solution of garlic and water mixed together that I then dilute in my water butt so that it is ready to use and then I won’t forget to treat the plants with it. I simply have to water the plants and I am getting the added bonus of protecting the crops at the same time.

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!