Cabbage, clubroot, cucs and critters

After another break from the allotment, went down yesterday. OH had been down during the week to lift some spuds, etc – the Edzell Blue are lovely, especially in mash and was a good cropper. The blight had spread onto the Golden Wonder plants, and as for the Sarpo – the plants looked “old” though not blighted. I chopped down all the haulms.  
Red Cabbage
The lone Kalibos red cabbage looks good, albeit a bit slug eaten on outer leaves. However, other brassicas, apart from a sprouts plant, look the worst for wear:- cabbage white caterpillars (found some eggs which I squished), slugs, white blister rot, and then clubroot which I found as I pulled up the bolted pak choi. I pulled a couple of slugged brassicas but they showed no signs of clubroot. Apart from the bolting, the pak choi looked healthy!
The Crystal Lemon cucumber plants look healthy – fruit have been set. However, other curcurbits – the squashes, look pathetic. Compared with last year where the one pumpkin wandered across the allotment, this one wouldn’t reach across the length of a computer keyboard!
The beans are being battered by slugs/snails though there are a few french beans set and untouched in the picture above. The other french beans on the plot look healthy albeit with a few slime trails across them. The runner beans have started to climb and there are flowers on – will we get runner beans? The neighbour’s plot has loads of runner beans – he uses the same patch every year for them.
Broad beans have been a bit of a disaster this year. The chocolate spot has affected the broadies badly this year – only picked half a dozen bean pods from 2 sowings – there were flowers but the beans hadn’t been setting well. The blackfly has gone though. Chopped the plants down.  
Spoke with one of the plotholders – he was collecting seaweed to put on his beds. That, he said, was the answer to his harvests – he gave me some big onions. He’d harvested loads of potatoes and still has more to lift.

What am I going to do with this?
I bought this fleece for £1 a fortnight ago (before the F&M outbreak) at a farm which was open as a tourist attraction – they keep some sheep back for sheep-shearing (including manual shearing) for demonstrations. I do not have a spinning wheel. Suggestions welcome. Should I wash it in the bath with soap flakes/other detergent for washing wool? Perhaps I could felt it?



Spent some of the day in the garden. I watched the blackbirds and thrushes pop in and out of the currant bushes. I thought it was time to pick the rest of the gooseberries and currants before they shrivelled/got eaten! Unfortunately, by the time I picked the whitecurrants – they’d already had some and most of the late redcurrants.
The birdies had eaten some goosegogs too but I managed to get a small box from one bush (this had been picked last month).
The gooseberries on the thornless bush had been eaten by the birdies (though there weren’t that many). The third bush, another thorny one, had goosegogs to be harvested. That was agony, and many scratches later, got a nice tub full. I can’t remember which is which – Whinham’s Industry & Hinnomaki Red – one has bigger berries.
Elsewhere in the garden, there are cobnuts forming. However, the leaves are fodder for caterpillars:
Slugs are having a party. So, I bought another slug trap. On the box, it said that it only needs topping up with beer every so often and no need to empty as the slugs will dissolve in the beer!

Slugs, beer and peppers

Today I noticed my windowsill peppers starting to change colour. How exciting!
The front garden has been taking a hammering from those *£&&%@ molluscs. At 5pm, I put out a yogurt pot full (perhaps too full?) of cheapo bitter. Had a quick look after The Archers, and as you can see, the pub has started serving slugs!

Beans and an aphid-eater

Harvested some of the Martock broad beans, a heritage variety, that I grew in the garden. They have only just started to get chocolate spot. The bean pods are about finger length, though are slightly bigger than my fingers both in length and girth. They were tasty in a rice dish I cooked yesterday from a recipe in Australian Women’s Weekly’s Rice Cookbook.
Managed to take a better picture or two of my aphid-eater. I saw one again today with a greenfly. The insect book I have is Collins Pocket Guide: Insects of Britain & Western Europe. I wonder if it could be is Pithanus maerkeli, a mirid bug, but am not convinced after searching via Google images and being taken to Wikipedia in Norwegian.

Friends and foe


While inspecting the sweet/chilli peppers on the windowsill, I spotted these funny looking insects on the leaves. The plants have greenfly, which I use a handheld small vacuum cleaner (designed for cleaning computers) to suck them up. I noticed that these strange insects seem to eat the greenfly. I don’t know what they are – I know the picture isn’t that great either.

Last night’s read in bed was Organic Gardening Your Questions Answered (bought from a charity shop) by the team at HDRA that did the tv programme All Muck and Magic. I knew that centipedes (they are fast moving) are carnivorous, but I didn’t realise they eat slugs. Last time I checked the allotment compost heap – there were loads of centipedes on the fabric/carpet covers. Perhaps I could relocate them to the raised beds! On the subject of slugs, I put 4 yogurt pots out in the garden and filled with beer last night and caught half a dozen slugs or so – not many but then we haven’t had rain for a few days.

Seeds sown yesterday: various basils, chervil, spring onions, various lettuces, and cabbage.