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Club Root - What is it? How does it affect your crops? How to avoid it.

Things don't always go smoothly but learning from our disasters is how we grow - Club Root devastation at Jolly Allotment.

For the first three seasons on my Jolly Allotment I only had the energy to bung things in the ground  and watch them grow. There wasn't much thinking behind it all! I was lucky to inherit an amazing organic site with well cultivated soil. Last season I learned a huge lesson that if you don't look after your soil and feed it the right nutrients your plants will not grow healthy and happy. The irony in the similarity to this and my own life and my own gut health has not passed me by. 

The soil is the plants gut and just like us to flourish it needs to be fed the right nutrients. The soil takes a lot of nutrients from the plants growing in it and one of the most important things for gut health human or soil is variety - so crop rotation is important. It doesn't have to be regimental but my soil suffered this year as I've mainly grown and eaten brassicas the last three seasons so not a lot to rotate and I didn't bother. 

Club Root is a fungal disease affecting root development. The plants will grow initially and look healthy but as the disease takes hold of the root it begins to restrict the plants ability to take on nutrients. As the root forms into a fist like ball. The root system stops working and the plant stops growing, begins to shrivel up and although it keeps trying to grow, it can't. It looks like the plants are dehydrated like the cauliflower in the picture with my red wellies. However it was the club root taking hold not dehydration. A week later it looked like the picture below. Two of the pictures show the same plot of the allotment 2 weeks apart.

Club Root is exactly how a common gut fungal disease Candida in humans works prevalent in so many chronic fatigue and autoimmune disease sufferers. Club Root is the Chronic fatigue of the plant world. A really good lesson for me proving not only how important looking after our soil is but also a really visual representation of my life over the last four years and how looking after ourselves and our guts is so important to our health. 

So how do you fix Club Root? Well you can add some lime to the soil, this will add calcium and magnesium to it helping to improve the PH. However just like my recovery the best way is to rest the soil and grow other crops in it for a couple of seasons to help build up the natural nutrients. This was news I didn't want to hear as brassicas are so important to my diet. However I have managed to get an extra bit of land for my brassicas for 2019 so I will be able to rest the soil, grow bee friendly wild flowers and other crops I didn't have room for before. So what seamed like a disaster is now an opportunity. 

This little film explains club root. You can probably also tell my disappointment and frustration from it. I have however learnt so much since making the film and I love the knowledge its given me so lots of positives have come out of this learning experience.

The best way to treat Club Root or Candida is to take care of your soil and your gut and avoid getting it in the first place! A lesson we can all learn from.

So take care of your soil and your gut for a Jolly Life! 

Best wishes

Polly x

Thank you for reading the Jolly Journal - I really appreciate your interest and hope it's of value to you. I am dyslexic and for years this stopped me writing because of the fear of getting it wrong. Now I am embracing my fear so I appreciate your understanding if you see a mistake I have missed. Thank you! - Polly x

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