MY potato harvest has this year, metaphorically, left a bad taste in the mouth.

In actuality, it has left hardly any taste at all.

After success with my extra early container-grown tatties, those in the plot are quite frankly pathetic potatoes.

The foliage of the five varieties is anaemic while the two second earlies are the expected usual vibrant green and are developing nicely.

Isle of Wight County Press:

For the first time EVER despite the potatoes growing in the usual rich mix of seaweed and well-rotted manure added to friable soil most of the potatoes are the size of marbles despite being in the ground for the requisite 12 weeks.

The root system is not extensive and the original seed spuds which should be exhausted and starting to rot are rock hard.

I’m going to blame the drought, although I have kept the patch pretty well-watered and it doesn’t look like they have fallen victim to disease.

Isle of Wight gardening need to know

  • It’s not too late to plant sunflowers. Russian Giant is a good variety which will flourish in both border and container. A family growing competition to see who can cultivate the tallest is a great way to interest children in gardening because they can see results day by day.
  • Harvest salad crops, and re-sow every two weeks for a constant supply of tasty leaves.
  • When planting out cabbages use brassica collars to prevent cabbage root fly attack.

I have discovered that I am not alone. My chum Reg’s harvest has proven equally disappointing.

The usual excitement for both of us of unearthing the taste jewels and my anticipation of noshing them with the first runners has been replaced with a sense of dread at the results of plunging a prong into the good earth.

I would be most interested to know if Reg and I are unusual or if this is a wider phenomenon...

Isle of Wight County Press: What they SHOULD look like.What they SHOULD look like. (Image: Canva.)

Meanwhile John Way has e-mailed me. He is not anticipating his usual taste of sweet taste of success from his Early Worcester apple tree after an early mass of blossom.

From the photograph John sent me it looks like a bad case of powdery mildew which has been an especial pest this year.

Powdery mildew of apples is caused by the fungus Podosphaera leucotricha, which forms a dense white fungal mycelium growth on the host tissue and affects leaves, buds and shoots – and therefore fruit development.

To prevent it happening in future a fungicide spray should be applied at the tight bud stage and continue until the growth of new shoots stops, with a third spray in early summer.

For those of us who do not like poison a baking soda fungicide solution can be employed.

Add three teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, one teaspoon of vegetable oil, and a half teaspoon of unperfumed liquid soap to act as an emulsifier to a pint of water and liberally mist the tops and undersides of leaves – if you can reach them.

At least there’s a cure out there for your growing malaise, John. 

I hope mine’s just a blip.