If you’re growing spinach or chard at the moment, or any other beet plants, you may notice some chocolate brown/purple spots appearing on their leaves. It also often affects Winter Purslane at this time of year. What’s it all about and what can you do?
This is a form of fungal leaf spot that is more likely to affect you if you’re in a wet but mild part of the country. It often affects us here in Cornwall, for example, where we tend to get a lot of heavy rain over autumn and winter, but the daytime temperature is quite warm compared to other parts of the country.
It’s not really a major problem, and tends to be more of an issue because it is aesthetically unappealing (you can still eat the leaves if they have a few spots on), but it’s also not great to let it get out of hand because then you probably won’t want to eat your leaves.
If you see any spots appearing, you can remove the affected leaves and get rid of them. Doing this will certainly slow it from spreading through the plant, and hopefully prevent it from spreading to other plants but may not get rid of the problem once and for all. Be sure to harvest regularly as well, as this will keep the plants from becoming too dense – having more air circulating around the leaves will help.
It will also really help to keep your plants nice and healthy – the better the soil, the healthier they will be. So, you could give them a liquid feed, or try some wormcast fertiliser or a mulch. It’ll do wonders for their immune systems!