Trial by allotment

I went up to my plot yesterday morning, did a bit of weeding and thinned my autumn raspberries. On the way out of the fruit cage, heading home for lunch, I noticed a branch on one of my gooseberries was almost bare of leaves. It could only mean sawfly, so I set to squashing them. Half an hour I spent, carefully seeking them all out and dispatching them using the totally organic finger and thumb method.

After my lunch, I went back to plant a few salad bits and pieces. Thought I’d give the gooseberries a quick going over in case I’d missed any. We’re talking of about six quite young bushes here. I counted them this time, 95. Unbelievable.

Today I went again, main item on the agenda to plant out my sprouts. That accomplished I went back to the gooseberries and squashed another 211.

Gooseberry sawfly caterpillar.

The planting of my salad leaves yesterday hadn’t gone entirely to plan; I’d dug through into a mole tunnel halfway along the row. I get mole hills aplenty in the grass paths around the plot but never any within it. Obviously they are there though, munching their way through my worms. I set a trap. By today I hadn’t caught anything.

Spinach, Lettuce and mole trap.

A couple of days earlier I’d squashed a couple of flea beetles on my newly planted out mizuna. At least I didn’t find any more of them.

Flea beetle damage on mizuna

My blackcurrants produced a prodigious crop last year. When I pruned them the fruiting shoots had produced very little new growth and I removed almost all of them completely, some to a strong side shoot. This year I have far fewer trusses, with less berries on each. On the other hand, I’ve got a couple more bushes fruiting now, having shoved a few prunings in the ground when I first planted the older bushes.

There were a few shoot tips with curled up leaves which shouted out that there were aphids within. There were, there are no longer. I didn’t spray them either, in case you’re wondering. If I can keep the numbers low, they will get parasitized naturally and disappear.

Curled up leaves on blackcurrant means aphids. Squash them.


Aphids on blackcurrant means curled up leaves.


My other plot has young camellia bushes on it, a temporary arrangement that is gradually morphing into something more permanent. I put mypex down between the rows, which has provide a perfect habitat for voles who are showing their gratitude by gnawing through the bark of the camellias. I either remove the mypex and deal with the resultant vegetation, or deal with the voles.

It does seem an uphill struggle at times, this growing malarkey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s