Monday, 19 April 2010
Potatoes, tomatoes & volcanoes
It occurred to me the other evening that the last time Eyjafjallajoekull (or Joe Kull as I like to call her) erupted, we weren't only pre-aviation, but pre-industrial revolution. Meteorology was in its infancy and Iceland did not have a single bank. I wondered if the resulting ash-cloud had little, if any, effect on our good nation in the early part of the nineteenth century, and the results I discovered were interesting. Both Joe Kull & the Indonesian volcano Tambora erupted in the early 1800s, creating an agricultural nightmare for damp or wet island nations, such as Ireland. Fungus proliferated in these climes, and the resulting blight led to the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. This in turn led to the Irish diaspora of the middle nineteenth century, and the migration of many Irish families such as the Geldofs,the Nortons, the McKenzies & the Lappins. I wouldn't normally condone the use of pesticides on allotments, but I appeal to all gardeners this summer; please keep an eye on your plum tomatoes.