Saturday, November 04, 2017

There Are Days

when you wonder if it's worth the effort. I'm talking about gardening, of course. Today I went out to put up the summer shade cloth covers over the most delicate veggies - this is essential here and the daytime temperatures are already reaching the low thirties - and discovered the following:

1. I have bud worm in my tomatoes. The fruit affected were already on advanced plants I bought a few weeks ago so whether they were already infested or they came from my garden - the most likely scenario I have to admit - I don't know but now I'll have to start some sort of spraying regime. I don't like to use poisons so this means I need to track down one of the Bacillus thuringiensis based sprays specific to these destructive, little critters. These sprays contain a bacterium that kills caterpillars once ingested and has no effect on other beneficial insects - or people for that matter.

2. Something is eating my pak choy. They are covered in so many tiny pin holes that the leaves literally fall apart when you touch them. This has happened suddenly and is not due to the ubiquitous white cabbage butterfly because 1) I can't find a single one of these caterpillars on the plants proving the BT based spray I've been using to combat them is effective and 2) those little beasties don't cause this kind of pin hole damage anyway. I'll have to pull these plants out and dump them and hope that the caterpillar spray I'm getting for the budworm works on whatever this is before they decimate the new seedlings I planted out yesterday.

3) The garlic chives are again infested with black aphids. These nasties have already wiped out most of my red onions - they brought some sort of a virus with them as well damaging them by sap sucking. Luckily, although they attacked the spring onions and onion chives as well, those have survived - so far at least, though if the aphids spread from the garlic chives I'll be in trouble. I've seen some ladybirds in the garden which is heartening because their nymph stage just loves to eat aphids.

The good thing is that I can still find plenty to eat in the garden. The first zucchini flowers opened this morning. They are glorious to look at and to eat. I think I'd grow zucchini and pumpkin even if they didn't produce such tasty fruit because the flowers are so beautiful. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow so you can enjoy them, too. The rainbow chard is just as stunning - with red, yellow and pink stems that positively glow when the sunlight hits them - and they taste as good as they look. Then there's the kale which so far hasn't been attacked by whatever has attacked my other brassicas - and has been keeping us and our neighbours fed for months. The grape vines are shooting madly and that means dolmades soon while the dwarf French beans I planted months ago are still producing and we still have beetroot, Florence fennel, lettuces and nasturtium flowers and leaves to pick. Oh and I forgot to say we have just picked the first of the strawberries and blueberries.

So we're not going to go hungry just yet. Unfortunately neither are the bugs so I'd better get on with finding a suitable spray, hadn't I.

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