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Autumn has definitely arrived in my hill-top garden. The lawn is soaked in dew each morning and suddenly many of my crops have given up the ghost. But oddly enough, the place that I’ve noticed the seasonal shift the most is in my greenhouse.
Night time temperatures have lowered substantially, and lately it’s been pretty nippy in the daytime too, so I’ve taken to closing the roof vents and windows of my greenhouse. Now I’m no longer battling the cold, but the mould! Just this morning I had a quick inspection of the peppers and, having been off recording Gardeners’ Question Time for a few days, I was horrified to find grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) had taken a hold on several fruits.
The ‘Romano’ peppers were slow to crop this year, but each plant is now dripping with up to 10 fruits. We’ve eaten many, but the remainder are now inedible. Sadly I found myself running inside for a large bin liner and, having slowly but surely carried the infected plants outside (I couldn’t rush because I didn’t want to waft any more spores about than absolutely necessary) I confined each plant to the bin bag.
The stems had gone from sturdy bright green to fuzzy and fungal within the space of 48 hours. Tomorrow I will pick all the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, and destroy all the plants. Even dead and dying leaves will be bagged up and thrown out, to make sure no trace of grey mould is left to reinfect next year’s crop. It’s a job I can’t stand, but perhaps I’ll make it more bearable by listening to the radio, or singing.
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