Living the Good Life…

Adventures of the garden patch

September Harvest

Only a small harvest, I pulled out the rest of the Maris Piper potatoes, and rescued what i could from the carrot and onion patch that has been ravaged by caterpillars so unfortunately the ones left are a bit small as you can see!

September Harvest


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Organic Growing Workshop

Today I attended an Organic Growing workshop, down at the deepdale allotments, run by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

I found out new ways of creating compost and feed for soil, with the main message that gardens grow best when they create their own eco system. I was told that this was hard to create in pot based gardens and greenhouses but I still got a few more ideas. Basically the research shows that farms that used pesticides, and feed, eneded up with worse soil and smaller crops. This is becuase using artifical feeds including liquid feeds and slow release, is that the soil becomes dependant upon the feed, it looses its richness, and the natural balance is lost. This obviously does not apply to growing in pots, becuase there soil is dependant any way as it is speperated and does not have the same access to organic matter and insects. However i did raise my issue concerning my green-fly epidemic and white fly and explained that i had previously used the pesticed which had damanged the plants but that i was now considering introducing ladybirds to the plants and greenhouse to combat the green fly population.  I was given a few options of natural pesticides however most had foul smells as with the fertilisers, but introduing ladybirds was agreed would be the best and most natural way.

As I have found before with reserach in conservation ecosytems and predator-prey relationships, is that everything balances something else out, so fr instance if there is a plague on wilderbeest, lion populations will decrease, then with predator numbers falling, wilderbeest numbers can recover, and as wilderbesst population s restore lion popluatins rise and if wilderbeest numbers rise to high due to recovering lion populations then lion numbers will also increase due to teh abudndance of food etc. And so the two constantly work to balance the population of both, in nature if a population gets out of control, another will always come along to reduce it. So with this in mind predators such as ladybirds would naturally be attracted to the green and white fly and then control the pests.

So i have decided firstly to take my strawberries out of the green house, as they will have more chance of attracting predators than trapped in the greenhouse. Unfortunatly i can not take any of the others out as they rely to heavily on the warm temperatures so I am looking at capturing or breeding ladybirds to release in my garden and green house. Plus not only willthe ladybirds not damage or affect my plants they will also be eating the greenfly so there wont be any dead flys left all over my plants and greenhouse!

My problem with slugs is not quite as simple, many people had similar problems and unfortunatly there is no 100% way of getting rid of them. Areas with higher brid populations, see’s less slugs, however birds also will eat growing fruit and veg. Physical barriers were suggested as the best defense so i may have to give this ago aswell.

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Pest disaster!

Since finding my green house completely over run with green-fly and white fly, I panicked, thinking that they would continue to spread past my strawberries and cucumber and onto my peppers, and tomatoes as well and soon i would have  a green house full! So last week I sprayed the plants and soil with an instant pesticide for green-fly, white fly and black fly. As far as I can tell the spray worked and many have been killed, however not without a price… it would seem that even though the spray was for fruit and veg crops, and I was carefull not to spray any fruit or flowers as it suggested it still seems to have harmed the plants…

As you can see n this cucumber plant, the new shoots have opened up with burnt leaves, I am just hoping that new shoots will come through after these. You can also see the trail of dead green-fly which has been left behind, it is easy to see spot the difference between the alive and dead green-fly due to their colour change but unfortunately the dead white fly look fairly similar to the alive ones, which is also making things difficult.

Even the stems have been damaged by the spray…

Affects of the pesticide – leaf damage on the cucumbers.

So now I am going to look at natural ways of dealing with pests as both the slug pellets and pesticides have done nothing but cause further damage!

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I’m having a real problem in my green house with Green fly and white fly. They are all over my strawberry plants and green-fly have now taken a liking to my cucumber plants. I have had a problem in the past with white fly invading one of my strawberry plants, so I put it outside in hope that the rain and cold weather would wash and discourage them off and hope that the plant did not suffer for it. However this did not get rid of them completely. Unfortunately aswell it is not just one or two here and there,  due to the hot weather and nice damp climate in the green house they have bred like crazy, very very quickly! Even though I don’t like using pesticides I am going to try a pest spray for green and white fly which will hopefully get rid of them. Normally I would hope nature would cull them down, but being in pots in a yard and separated in the green house im not sure there is much chance of that happening this time…

I know you can’t really see them clearly on here but these are the green and white fly that are currently covering my greenhouse plants!

A little green-fly on its own, willing to pose while it has its picture taken, and more white fly beneath him.

I’m also still having trouble with the slugs, I had a big clear out today, to try and clear all their safe hiding places, as they have been eating my strawberries, cucumber leaves and my sunflower leaves! I have tried putting a few slug pellets just outside the door to try and lure any remaining out… but I cleared five out of there today! I might try creating some physical defenses round the base of my plants any suggestions to help with slugs…

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