Friday, 12 June 2009

Sacrifcial crops

I was talking about organic veg growing yesterday with someone who is very much in the know – an experienced organic box scheme grower.

I asked him how he protects his plants from caterpillars and slugs. I explained how last year all of my sprouting broccoli was wiped out within a week by caterpillars. He said the best thing to do is to just carry on and ignore the pests. He suggested I consider last years sprouting broccoli to be a sacrificial crop which will help to change the eco system for the better. Apparently because the caterpillars were there in such large numbers their predators will have registered that and will continue to remember so and will be around in greater numbers this year awaiting a caterpillar feast. I hope he’s right. He did say that they had tried netting but found their brassicas did much better not netted as once netted the slugs could do their worst and were not under threat from birds.

He was definitely of the view that enhancing predator habitat is certainly the way to go. Time to sort out the wooden pallets I’m saving to make a big bug house I think!

The other day I caught four wood pigeons in the act of eating all of my cauliflowers. They are still rooted but are virtually bare stalks now. I’m not sure if they’ll rally round. What eats wood pigeons? Would I want anything to eat the wood pigeons? Can be tricky this gardening business.

The tomatoes are coming along ever so nicely. We've already eaten quite a few.

Broccoli is forming heads.

The first time I have managed to raise any pak choi without bolting. Yay!!

A mass of turnips, peas and chard. Apparently mixing your crops can confuse pests.
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Eleanor said...

We have the wood pigeon problem, (don't humans eat wood pigeons? not about to go down that road myself) going to have to net. Although haven't ever had a caterpillar/slug problem - lots of frogs and toads around.
Our pakchoi is good too - growing as much as the bun can eat. Don't like it myself lol.
Mice eat all our peas before they get going.

Anonymous said...

really impressed.. I'm not growing much this year.