I came back from holiday, tired, weary and very, very jet-lagged to find this in my garden. I could have wept right there and then. Virtually all of my Tomatoes were ruined by blight. Today, I spend an hour or so pulling up the dead plants and collecting the rotted Tomatoes in an attempt to keep the spores from lingering in the soil. It was like wrestling with the living dead! Horrid, dried-up, gnarled and crispy the plants spat pock-marked, flea-infested, brown gunk at me as I pulled them out of the ground and stuffed them in the bin liner. I hate Tomatoes.
Holy Heck! I found this guy hanging out in the Wisteria – quietly munching through some new shoots. He’s so amazing that I had to get my camera out and shoot him. Does anyone know what he will become? Something funky I bet.
If your peas are flowering, like mine are, then now is the time time to cover the plants with Enviromesh. Pea moths lay their eggs on the flowers of peas at this time of year and the resulting tiny, cream-coloured grub will burrow into your pea-pods ready for you to find later on in the season when you harvest your peas. Protecting the crop now will mean grub-free pea soup later. Unless you need the protein of course?
Holy heck, I’ve actually managed to harvest some carrots that are not either so small you need a magnifying glass to see them, so forked that they’re impossible to eat or so infested with carrot fly that err… you wouldn’t want to eat them anyway. This is the batch that I sowed direct in the old cold frame back in March. One of two things is happening here: either I sowed the carrots so early that they missed the first wave of flies or that my cunning plan of using the cold frame two-thirds full really did act as a barrier to the vertically challenged carrotfly. It’s anyone’s guess which one was working for me here but by the next harvest I should be able to tell as they were sowed much later. So it’s time for celebration here at mtp – after 3 years of trying we finally get to taste home grown carrot. Who said growing your own was easy?
The brassicas are all tucked up in their new home. We planted two Broccoli plants, three red cabbage plants and three cauliflower plants. Mtp has a bit of club root problem so we needed to add some lime to each hole and dig it into the soil before we planted them. Then each plant received its own brassica collar to deter cabbage root fly from laying its eggs around the stem and then the whole patch was covered in fine grade mesh to keep the butterflies out. Man, brassicas are hard work! I’m amazed anyone grows them.
Oh no, they’ve started early this year – the cabbage whites I mean. This poor little cauliflower seedling is playing host to a spongy green visitor. The first tell-tale sign was the folded over leaf. Then I saw the cotton wool like residue and after a few pokes he finally popped his head out. I didn’t have the heart to kill him so I popped him underneath my deck – there’s plenty to eat down there and by the time he can fly the brassica seedlings will be far, far away. The only way to stop this is to keep your seedlings covered but I thought as it’s so early I would be okay. The next caterpillar I come across may not be so lucky.
This little fella, I’m reliably informed, is a 22-spot Harlequin ladybird. They’re non-preditory and ‘eat the mildews and other microscopic fungi that grow on plant tissues’. Quite rare apparently but often found wandering around in my cutting garden seedlings.
I sowed some carrots in the coldframe yesterday. My carrot plan (part 1 & part 2) last year just didn’t work. The few carrots that I did harvest were small and infested with the usual carrot fly. Neither the sand nor the fleece worked (the later being blown away by the windy conditions at mtp summit). Sooo… not being easily discouraged I am embarking on my third attempt to grow some edible carrots. This year’s harebrained scheme involves a coldframe (without lid – again due to wind) and some sneakily fly-resistant seeds (F1 Flyaway). The plan should work thus: sow F1 seed now to enable it to germinate before the first wave of flies hatch in early May. Sow seed in soil below the level of the cold frame to confuse flies that only travel in either horizontal or vertical directions (stupid flies!). Cover cold frame with fleece (or polythene) in May once weather has settled down. This HAS to work. Bottom line – I’m running out of ideas and I HATE losing!
I decided to plant my radish in a small wicker tub in the back garden. There are too many problems with flea beetle up at the allotment so I thought this would be the safer option. I sowed some seed around a week ago and the seedlings are up already. However, it seems that I’m not the only person interested in the tiny seedlings. Yesterday I found that half of them had been dug up by a certain grey and white kitten. So much for ‘safer in the backgarden’. So.. I’ve tried cat pepper (it doesn’t work), I’ve also tried those freaky glow in the dark gel things (they don’t work either). This time I meant business – time to crack open the wooden skewers. It worked. Now the little sh*$! can pee somewhere else (of course I love him really).
Yes – at last, some frost. I must have been the only one celebrating while everyone else was busy scraping their windscreens with their credit cards.