Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Insectum, σπόγγος, and Uredo and not forgetting Stress!

It sounds posher in Latin and Ancient Greek but basically this week I have mostly been obsessing about Insects, Fungus and Mould, oh and not forgetting plant stress!

I have been learning slowly about my vegetable patch. What works and what doesn't. I have been very optimistic about what sort of crop I am going to get this year as the soil has never been cultivated before and doesn't have many nutrients in it. But I didn't take into  account the constant battle, against anything in the above mentioned paragraph,that strike when you are not expecting! I thought gardening was supposed to relieve stress... 

Carrot fly was my first worry, I have mentioned it before. I dealt with that by wrapping all my carrots in enviromesh, but that is quite high maintenance. The bad weather has been wreaking havoc and my large wrapped bed was suffering from wind and stuff falling on it so it needed a redesign. 

I hadn't been able to have a good look for the last few days, everyone in the Uk knows why, so once the winds had abated I was down to sort it out. I could see yellow flowers on my Pak Choi. Mnnn the stuff at Tesco's doesn't have flowers, but maybe they picked them off before it got to the shelf? 

I uncovered the bed to get a better look. This was going to be a quick inspection as there are carrots in this bed and it was a warm sunny afternoon, not the best time to be messing about near carrots. 

It was looking a bit raggedy and the Pak Choi didn't look very Pak Choi Like at all. 

This is when I discovered Plant Stress. Apparently my plants have Bolted because they are stressed. I know, sounds mad, but I looked it up on the RHS website. It says 

Bolting: Plants flower and set seed, rather than producing edible roots. This is usually caused by stress usually drought.
Remedy: Sow bolting resistant varieties, warm the soil before sowing early crops, grow under the protection of fleece or cloches and keep the soil moist.

Well I am a bit bemused. My plants are watered twice a day by an automatic sprinkler system designed by hubbie. Its very clever and very efficient. so lack of water is not an issue at all. 

Of course the remedy is useful to know for next season, but won't help my summer stir fry menu. Bolt resistant seeds are already on the list. 

So back to the bed. A quick weed and this time two tunnels to protect the plants rather than the large flat one. 

The other occupants of the bed all looked nice and health, Kos, Broccoli and Carrots. I left the Pak Choi in as the flowers are pretty but thats seems to be the only pleasure I will get from them this year. I suppose I will later find out that I shouldn't have done that because it attracts another sort of veggie munching bug, but hey ho .. 

Fungus and mould next. I think I may have Potato blight. My bed looks lovely 

Until you have a close look. My first early Duke of York leaves have got funny black spots on them. 

I have looked it up, and the common consensus seems to be the beginnings of Blight. We have certainly had the weather for it. Now these spuds have been in for 10 weeks and should be ready. But they haven't flowered. I thought they should, so I am left wondering what to do. I had some good advice from Sue at Green Lane Allotments. Now is the time to follow it. I am going out later (if it stops raining) and will dig up a plant and see if the potatoes are ready yet. If not I have to cut of and destroy all the affected leaves to try and prevent it spreading to my Charlottes and Roosters. Everything crossed please. 

And more fungus, actually not on the veg this time but on a beautiful Camellia I have had for about 15 years in a pot. I brought it with me when we moved and have been planning to plant it properly but when I got round to it last week I discovered it was infected with scale.

A trip to the garden centre and the correct spray was acquired. It has had a liberal dose and I am waiting until it looks to be recovering before planting it. 

On top of that apparently I now have to watch out for Pea moths, and butterflies that lay eggs on my cabbage and other brasica's .

It's not all doom and gloom. Stuff is growing, although slowly and you never know the sun may come out next week for the next 3 months solid. Then I will be wondering what to do with everything. The flower end of the garden is looking great. 

This Cala Lily survived an encounter with Gibson the Under Gardener . I looked out the window the other day to see he had pulled it out of the pot and was wandering round the garden with it in his mouth. I managed to rescue it, the leaves are a bit chewed but the flower is still determined to come out. 

The Arum Lily is beautiful

The Hosta's are huge and ready to flower

This rambling rose is wonderful, bought for me by an old friend and the only thing I have planted in the flower beds since we got here. 

And the Yucca Tree is in flower as well! 

The chickens are on top form, three double yolk eggs this week alone. Margot still hasn't had her bath. She's not quite as sticky as she was, but I will do it maybe in the next couple of days. 

Gibson is up to all his usual tricks. Do you remember a while back we had his portrait done. Well the company that did it had a competition which we forgot all about. A letter arrived yesterday with a gift voucher. He won third prize! hurrah. He is also now on the company website. He will be getting way too big for his boots, sorry paws, if we are not careful Have a look at the first and second prize winners. I think he should have won. But then I would. 

Barney was second
 And Nobby Won 

Finally with all the weather we have been having some interesting bits and pieces have been washing up on our beach. Not quite the same as the Japanese pier that washed up in Oregon this week, but interesting just the same. We found this very large boat thing, I don't know what its called. Its a bit bigger than a Space hopper. Any suggestions what I can do with it in the garden.. Polite only please. 


  1. it's a bouey and i've no idea how on earth you can use that in your garden but something tells me that Jim will be very creative and think of something :)

  2. I am so sorry about your plants. Maybe there is still hope for some of them. I know how stressful gardening can be because I am going through the same thing, too. I agree that your puppy should have won first place. He is so cute!

  3. Has it been warm enough for blight? It's hard to tell from a photo but I'm not totally convinced that you have blight.

    As for Pak Choy I've never had any luck with growing in - it always stays small and flowers.

    Don't worry about all the negatives as it's the things that go right that make it all worthwhile.

    1. I gave in and dug up a plant as you suggested, small spuds but delicious... pictures for next post.

  4. Hi, you post really made me smile. My neighbour who has been growing veg for over 50 years says I have picked a 'right old year' to start!
    It's not put me off though, like you I am battling the elements and pests but with less success! :)

  5. Congratulations, it's a buoy! :-)
    How about using it as the head or body of a scarecrow? Giant bauble for the summer house?
    Take the blue top off and use as an ice bucket / mini paddling pool / container for washing Gibson in / fill with beads and use as outdoor bean bag
    just a few really useful ideas, you're welcome!

  6. That's a pogo ball from the '80s. You sit on it, hold on tight to that handle, and bounce around your garden doing your weeding. Really like your blog by the way. I've had trouble with insects and diseases this year in my garden too.