Some of our potatoes are already showing signs of blight. Potato blight is cause by a fungus-like pathogen called Phytophthora infestans. Every year we get blight, but most years it is in late July or August when we can just cut away the affected stems and still have a good crop of potatoes below ground. This is the first time I remember seeing blight so early in the season. Blight thrives in warm, damp conditions and that is exactly the type of weather we are experiencing at the moment here in the west of Ireland. Also the new area where we have planted our potatoes is much more exposed than our vegetable plot. And as the blight spores are spread by the wind the plants are probably more prone to attack. So far the number of affected leaves is relatively small so we have removed all we can see and sprayed with a copper based fungicide (https://fruithillfarm.com/p-255-blight-spray.aspx). With the warm, damp weather forecast to remain for the week we will need to check the plants daily to make sure there is no further outbreaks.
As well as the blight, a rabbit has eaten it’s way through half of our purple sprouting broccoli plants (we have now fenced the area off with chicken wire fencing). The slugs and snails are not only enjoying the damp weather but also seem to love leaf celery!! And the flea beetles are making it hard for the newly planted-out brassicas to get established. So it’s a bit of an uphill struggle at the moment.
We did have a beautiful cinnabar moth in the garden a couple of days ago. It’s one of those moths you will see flying during the day, though it flies at night too. I knew they were around as I have seen the caterpillars the last couple of years. The caterpillars feed on ragworth and have an amazing yellow and back banding pattern. This is the first year I have seen the adults.