Pat's Plot - Dealing With The Pests & Heat!

02 July 2009 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

Sunday 28th June 2009

What glorious weather we’ve been having recently. It’s been a while since I’ve managed to updated the blog having been on holiday for a couple of weeks and when I got back work was a bit manic with catalogue production in full swing, and now we are on the last week of preparations for the RHS Hampton Court Show. It’s a tense time wondering if everything will go according to plan!

Having managed to get the garden in good order before we went away there hasn’t been too much really hard work to do, just a bit of easy weeding and of course harvesting all those lovely veggies that have come on in leaps and bounds over the last month. The potatoes have been fantastic this year and the sugar snap peas are producing masses of pods, considering it is only one very short row. The other peas haven’t grown quite so well, they were planted about four weeks after the Sugar Snaps but the plants haven’t put on as much growth although what there is has been producing plenty of pods. There was some hot weather while we were away and they may have suffered a bit from the dry conditions as they were still young. I’m giving them plenty of water now so we’ll have to see if they pick up.Dealing with pests

We’ve also been cropping lots of carrots and the second sowing of salad leaves is now at the baby leaf stage but my spring onions seem to have disappeared! I sowed some in between the salads and I have a sneaky suspicion that someone may have pulled them up as weeds when we were trying to leave the garden weed free before we went away. Not that I’m naming names you understand!

I pulled the first baby beetroot today and harvested the last of the calabrese, it has been superb - the last couple of heads trebled in size in the last week with the warm weather and also some rain, so I daren’t leave them in any longer case they went over, one was nearly the size of a football (well, a small football anyway)!

The bed is now empty and as we’ve had some heavy rain the soil was nice and workable so I raked it over and sowed another row of carrots, some short rows of lettuce dazzle, mustard, pak choi and choy sum. It was very hot by then so I retired to the garden chair with a nice cool drink!

A few weeks ago I sowed some Kale Cavolo Nero, I really love it, I planted about eight little plants and they were growing away nicely by the time we went on holiday. It was a different story when I got back though, the pigeons had been having a field day! It’ll teach me to take precautions next time! Although I’ve had problems with slugs and a major problem a couple of years ago with Cabbage White Butterfly caterpillars, I’ve never had trouble with pigeons before. Although we had plenty in the garden they didn’t seem to bother with the veg plot.

The slugs were effectively taken care of with Nemaslug which has been extremely successful on the raised beds for the last two years and I now cover my brassicas with insect netting to stop the Butterflies laying their eggs. Hubby hammered some posts into the corners of the beds to support the netting which is weighted at each side with some timber batten, this has worked well against the caterpillars so far. So, two nasty pests dealt with, just the pigeons to go!

I’m going to try ‘Grazers’ on the kale, it is applied to the foliage and taken up systemically by the plant making it very unpalatable for most grazing animals – including pigeons! I’ve never needed to use it myself before but comments from customers who have tried it have been extremely good. It is odourless to the human nose and completely harmless to humans and pets, it can safely be used on young plants even at the earliest growth stage. It will also help the plant heal itself and repair any damage already caused. It is very effective on grass too and usually one application is enough, so if rabbits on your lawn are your problem, this could be the answer. I’ll let you know if it keeps the pigeons away from my Kale in future!

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