Saturday, 30 June 2012

Still not in control of pests

A trip to plot 18 and we have returned with some more spinach and our first spring onions of the season. Chatting to other plot holders it seems we are all suffering from losing our plants to something hungry. The blame is being spread between, slugs and snails, pigeons, partridges, rabbits, mice and deer.

I discount rabbits on our plot; our fence is good, there are no droppings and some uncovered plants which have not been touched would have been demolished by rabbits. Similarly I discount deer. They could easily hop over our fence, but there are no tracks or droppings and they would browse everything.

There doesn't seem to be a firm pattern. We have covered mange tout peas which have been demolished. I don't expect any crop from them. There were slug trails near there and we have put out slug pellets, but the rain may have washed some away. Mice could get under the edges of the netting, but I doubt birds would. Spinach is in the open and untouched, it must not be to the liking of the scoffers. Some onion leaves are still being munched, but only at the edge of the bed, where the CDs and strings are not covering it well. Here I suspect birds. Parsnips are in the open and untouched. They are the best looking parsnips we have ever grown, but it's the roots I'm interested in so we have to wait until we pull them to really see how good they are. Our dwarf French beans have been nibbled under a net, so again I blame slugs. Our strawberries are under cover and are beginning to ripen and as they do the red bits are getting nibbled, again slugs or snails. There have been some black fly on the broad beans, but not much and nipping the tops off has dealt with it. The bean pods are growing well and some will be ready soon. Our courgettes are not doing well with the plants not enjoying the cold and the few tiny fruit quickly nibbled away. Undercover cabbages looked fine, ones in the open have gone. Fruit bushes all look good, with signs of ripening berries.

I suspect we are just getting assaulted by multiple pests and I especially blame slugs, pigeons and maybe mice. I wonder if some creatures thrived in the warm March and there are now more mouths to feed. We will get some produce, but we will miss out on some too. More to learn about yet I think.

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