I am getting a bit worried about the current weather. Staying with a gardening theme and fungi, we are having the type of weather that these microbes love. Days of showers and not enough sunshine to dry the ground. On top of that, the night time temperatures are sitting around about 11 to 13 centigrade. Very mild, damp and favourable for certain types of fungi. In my last post on this blog I talked about the fungi responsible for “damping off” by attacking young plants. This time my focus is on another troublesome fungi that attacks both mature and young plants, the dreaded “Mildew”.……..
I got an email from Susannah who had picked up on my garden theme in my last post on this blog. Susannah’s got a problem with damping off in seedlings. She has just lost three young cucumbers and asked if I had any advice. Damping off is a fungal infection of plants, usually seedlings but can affect more mature plants also. I too had recently had a problem after repotting a supermarket bought basil plant. Within a couple of days in its new pot, almost the entire surface of the compost around the base of the basil was white with fungal mycelium. After a few more days most of the stems of the basil were covered in fungus and turning black… Continue reading
Sorry about the pun in the title. Actually this is a serious matter. Demands from a rapidly increasing human population means that food production techniques have to be maximised for efficiency. Moisture has a proven effect on the size of poultry grown in large numbers. Research on broilers (chickens for eating) and turkeys shows that their living conditions impact directly on their growth and health. Studies in the United States have estimated the cost of lack of moisture control to run into several hundred million dollars each year. But how can something that sounds so simple be such a big problem?
Wasting food a “pet hate”
Wasting food is a “pet hate” of mine. I’m not sure where this comes from exactly. A number of reasons probably. When I was young I had a hiatus hernia that made it difficult to swallow food so never really enjoyed meals until the hernia was repaired. Now I enjoy eating most foods so not wasting food might come from an appreciation of just being able to eat properly. Another reason may come from a social conscious of being in a position of having plenty of food if I want when others in the world are starving. A third and probably quite significant reason is being self-employed. There were times when months would go by with little or no income so only buying food in small amounts and having minimal waste became a financially beneficial habit.So what’s this got to do with moisture-matters? The picture might give a clue. Continue reading
Autumn a Great Time of Year
Autumn is great time of year for change. There are changes pleasing to the eye as the plants show their autumn colours and the not so pleasing changeable weather when there is a storm sitting off the west coast of Ireland. Wetter weather at this time is expected but this year we had not only a very dry spell but quite cold conditions that got us thinking of turning on the central heating one month early. Continue reading