A while ago I planted just over 100 small leeks. I love adding leeks to just about anything - a good substitute to onions when I've run out and a lovely taste all on its own.
But disaster. I noticed a week ago a few were still very undeveloped and skinny - sort of like Twiggy but in leek-world. I investigated and there was a sort of powdery white mould on the inside of the bases. I thought perhaps it might be a worm and as some were unaffected I hoped for the best. Then yesterday I saw orange spores on the leaves of just about all of them. Quick look in the book and sure enough they have rust. It doesn't affect the taste but it is incurable and the plants stop growing. So, I can eat what is there but they won't get any bigger. Some of them are still pencil size so we're not exactly going to get a feast out of them.
Now that all the children have gone back to university (they left this morning - I have the house to myself) I will have time to get the veggie patch sorted. Sadly the first job will be digging up all the leeks and deciding which ones will be worth keeping.
To add insult to injury, the leaves affected by rust (ie. all of them) cannot be put on the compost heap, but burnt. I can't even give them to the pigs as the spores will stay in the ground and come back to haunt us. AAAAARRRGGHGHHHGHH!
Think of me when you tuck in to leek soup this winter...