To be or not to be – that is the question

The Organic question at least.

I’ve been somewhat troubled down the plot recently.

Black Fly Stunted Beans

For example, what is it with the blackflies this year? I whipped my broad beans out really early, in fact almost before I’d had the first crop, because the flies were depressing me, but now the runner beans have got it bad. Since when have runner beans suffered with black fly?

I’ve tried soapy water but they appear to be sticking two fingers up at me.

Then there are the tomatoes. Watering is a bit of an issue at the moment. I just can’t get to the plot more than twice a week and that is just not enough for under cover, grow bag enclosed tomatoes. I went last week and had to perform assorted resuscitation techniques on some very withered plants and then went to the garden centre in search of life support machines for neglected crops.

Water timer

I came back with a battery operated timer system, which, so far so good, seems to be performing the necessary miracles. Its linked up to my sprinkler system and saturates the greenhouse for 30 minutes every 24 hours. Perfect antidote to my neglect but also provides the ideal conditions for proliferation of Phytophthora infestans or Blight of the dreaded variety.

I’m going through the same thought process as allotment blogger who is wondering whether to go for a prophylactic spray with copper or sit still and remain principled.

I’m not sure how I feel about copper, it may well be your everyday sort of metal but how does it sit on a plateful of lettuce and tomato? It brings to mind plaques, fatty tangles and early onset dementia. Possibly best avoided.

Maybe bugs and fungi aren’t all that troublesome after all. I have a feeling that I may have ingested a pea complete with maggot on the plot this evening and to be fair, it was rather delish! Now if only I could stop picturing the pulsing grub I could remain fine and principled.

These peas that I mention were the much anticipated 10ft telegraph poles (or some such) and have proven to be a big let down. 4 plants out of maybe 50 seeds, sown on 3 separate occasions, grew to the giddy heights of 3 ft and produced merely a garnish of greenery for todays tea.

Late June Pickings

It might have been somewhat more impressive than a garnish if it had not been for the holes, and creepy crawlies emanating from said holes.

I don’t want to say too much for fear of Lynn reading this after I’ve fed her but the only gigantic thing about these peas were the maggots feeding upon it. I’ve never seen the like before. I had to squash one before relegating it to the bin and the effects were “medical” to put it politely.

I’ve always gone for the maxim: “one for me, one for the pigeons, another for the grubs, slugs and others”. Unfortunately the latter are having more than their fair share and I also have a few more mouths to feed.

Which leads me back to the original question, to be or not to be?

More pondering required.

Post to Twitter

Stag Party

Stag Monster

This monster flew into the path of our barbeque a couple of weekends ago. Here he is, positioning himself nicely to go on the spit roast.

We were in an area of South West London where sightings of stag beetles aren’t that infrequent. Apparently there was a tract of ancient woodland nearby and as we all know stag beetles particularly like their ancient bits of decayed wood.

I reported the siting on the the “What’s in my back yard” WIMBY Tool and then headed over to the The Stag Beetle Project to see if there was anything I could do to encourage the big monsters on to my plot.
The advice seems to focus on:

  • building a loggery of discarded hardwood somewhere on the plot
  • checking ponds for floundering bugs around their flying season, May – June

Stag Beetle

According to the WIMBY tool, there have been no recorded sitings of stag beetles around my allotment site since 1998!

I better start collecting logs now.

Post to Twitter