Pure style

Perhaps Andy, the owner of those Nippon slip-ons, might like to consider a more robust, and, possibly, more comfortable form of footwear, for the coming season?


Blight and fig leather

For those that are interested, our tomatoes have been more or less wiped out by a virulent attack of blight. Mind you, we had a fantastic crop of luscious fruit from the initial planting, but it was disappointing to see all the sideshoots (many from France) that I had potted on and trained into statuesque plants shrivelling up overnight into blackened stumps. I was puzzled that Mama’s two Marmandes and another small block of mine were less affected. I was also puzzled that Ernie’s crop just over the hedge remained unscathed. Then, reading about the genesis of blight, I learned that it lives on in the dead plants, and even survives composting. I recalled how in most of the polytunnel we had used composted cow manure, but on the patch my tomatoes were in, we had laboriously trundled in vast quantities of our own compost, and that that might well have been a veritable maelstrom of blight spores. One day last week, I left the polytunnel closed during a hot morning and, or so I theorise, a critical point may have been reached where the blight spores leapt into life, burst out of the soil and attacked their favourite host.

So, there we have it. Blight is definitely the scourge of the allotments again this year; and it appears the so called blight resistant varieties I was planning to grow next year, besides being tasteless, aren’t that effective. So, I’m ordering a case load of copper sulphate from Ebay, to make my own Burgundy mixture, and I’ve set a reminder on my phone to start spraying in June, and to spray every two weeks until September. I was too blase this year.


Mama’s been making a lot of fruit leather, including from tomatoes, during our brief glut. She basically simmers the fruit until it has reduced to stickiness, then spreads it out on a tray and dries it in the sun, to the consistency of ‘leather’. No sugar necessary. For those with fig trees yielding abundant fruit, who have a moment in their busy schedules, this might be worth doing. By all accounts, it’s a great way to conserve fruit.



The cigarettes I bought to boil up and spray on caterollars must have been lightweight because it didn’t work. Nor does my stock of Derris dust. I found this recipe online, which I’ll try next:

2 chillis
2 clove of garlic
add water and whizz with stick blender, or in blending machine; filter through kitchen roll into a sprayer, and top up with extra water.
Add a dash of washing up liquid, just in case greenfly are also around.
Spray on caterpillars.
Watch caterpillars writhe around and die.

100% organic. 100% effective.
use gloves though – as it is quite strong.

  1. This didn’t work, either. Maybe i used too much water.

  2. or perhaps you need hotter chillis?

  3. pinkie

    Decoy told me the cigarette juice was urine… maybe urine would work?

  4. Now, there’s an idea.

Completely unrelated, but i thought you all might like to see the simply fabulous summer shoe that my friend Andy sported the last time we met. It defies description and sanity.

Picture0226It puts “crocks” into perspective.

  1. As nifty a pair of ‘shoes’ as I’ve seen in a long time. Crocs for the 17th century! With a couple of extra inches at the toe end to store valuables in.

  2. like something out of final fantasy!