SE Essex Seed Potato Day: Saturday 24 February 2018, 10:00 to 14:00 (updated 05/01/18)

SE Essex Seed Potato Day is organised and run entirely by volunteers from both SE Essex Organic Gardeners and local charity, Trust Links   Why not put it in your diary now?   Saturday 24 February 2018   10:00 – 14:00   Growing Together Westcliff, 47 Fairfax Drive (corner of Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase), Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9AG   Please use the entrance in Prittlewell Chase.   Free admission – delicious refreshments available   Over 30 varieties of seed potato (some organic) sold individually at 20p per tuber (one free tuber for every five bought) plus:                     Onion sets, Sturon and Stuttgart Giant: £1.00 per half pound Organic potato fertiliser: £3.50p per kilo box Chicken pellets: £1.00 per 1 kg South East Essex Seed Swap Dalefoot Composts Southend Seed Swap Allotment advice from Jeff Barber, The National Allotment Society The Soil Association’s latest organic research literature   … [Read more…]

About the Blightwatch Service

Blightwatch is supplied by the Met Office who provide the weather data for the service and 101Smart Ltd who provide the IT services. Blightwatch is supported by The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB Potatoes) and operates in conjunction with their ‘Fight Against Blight’ (FAB) service. It also relies on support from agro-industry sponsors. The Met Office and 101Smart Ltd have been working together to enhance the Blightwatch service for the 2017 season. A key part of these enhancements is the refresh of the website for both professional and amateur growers. The Blightwatch service is available to all users free of charge and you can register for the service by using their ‘Join Blightwatch’ section on the homepage by providing a name, email address and up to 10 postcode regions that you would like to receive alerts.   Traditionally the risk of potato blight infection has been based on the calculation of Smith Periods – a system that uses hourly temperature and relative humidity. Until now, as the Blightwatch service switches to the Hutton Criteria. For 2017, the Blightwatch service will be using the Hutton Criteria to calculate and report Blight outbreaks across the UK. Alerts will be generated and sent to users based on the new criteria or when there has been a confirmed FAB outbreak for your chosen postcodes. By using Met Office forecast data for thousands of forecast points across the UK, the Blightwatch service can now provide warning indications up to 24 hours ahead of potential Hutton Criteria. It is important to understand that these warning indications are based entirely on forecast data and are subject to change, but they are a useful ‘heads up’ of the conditions that are forecast for the next day. As with the previous Blightwatch service, the Blightwatch alerts do not constitute a recommendation to spray but will provide an earlier warning to aid management decisions around spray timing and intervals. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, no liability can be accepted for any error or omission in the content or for any loss, damage or other accident arising from the use of the fungicides for the control of potato blight in individual crops. … [Read more…]


Monday 12 February, 13:30 – 15:30 Suitable for ages 4 – 10, £4 per child A fun workshop with SE Essex Organic Gardeners …. plant your own potatoes and make your own mini pizza garden to take home! Ensure children are dressed in old clothes as they may get mucky.  Please bring a large bag to take away items at the end.  Parental supervision required at all times.  Tickets must be booked and paid for in advance. Booked tickets will only be held for 3 days. Leigh Community Centre, 71/73 Elm Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 1SP enquiries at 01702 477248 … [Read more…]

Wassailing in St Laurence Orchard: Sunday 28 January, 14:00 – 15:30

By popular demand, Trust Links are moving Wassailing to Sunday 28 January at 14:00-15:30 at St Laurence Orchard.   Come and wake the trees up for the Spring in historic St Laurence Orchard, located in Eastwoodbury Lane (at the junction with St. Laurence Way), Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6UY.   Sample the spiced apple juice, join in the traditional folk music and celebrate the new year in style!   Free entry   Donations to local charity Trust Links welcome.   Trust Links manage St Laurence Orchard throughout the year for the benefit of wildlife and local people.   For more information, please ring 01702 213 134. … [Read more…]

Potato blight

Symptoms: One of the commonest potato diseases. Dark brown blotches that are often surrounded by a yellow halo that quickly spreads to rot the whole leaf. Leaves quickly become wet and rotten. Prevention and/or cure: Often spread by infected tubers being left to sprout on compost heaps. Warm, wet and still weather causes a rapid spread. Dry weather can halt the disease, so it’s worth removing the first few infected plants. Cut off the potato tops (haulms) and burn them. Don’t harvest any tubers for 3 weeks; this allows the skin to set. If you notice potatoes almost at the soil surface, mulch the rows with leaves or straw, or even cover with more soil, to prevent the tubers going green – which renders them inedible. Where blight is a regular problem, you can reduce its effects by growing more resistant varieties, using deep ridges to allow the blight to be washed off by rain, or by growing early varieties which should give a decent crop before blight strikes. See here for more information on potato blight. What is it?: Scab Symptoms: Unsightly brown marks on the tubers, but potatoes can be peeled and eaten. Prevention and/or cure: More common on dry soil and those that are more alkaline. Grow resistant varieties, use certified seed, improve the water holding capacity of the soil and never add lime before a potato crop. Credit: Garden Organic – NB: See SE Essex Seed Potato Day – … [Read more…]