What a strange year this has been.
Although we have the great advantage that growing under glass we can keep our soil in a controlled state, we still have to deal with pests.
As organic growers we make good use of predators – whitefly, aphids, caterpillars, scale insects and slugs are all generally kept well under control thanks to the good offices of the Syngenta and Becker Underwood. In fact we like them so much we also sell them on to keen gardeners via one of our subsidiary businesses.
However, this year we were shocked that in the middle of September, the suppliers ran out of nematodes for slugs and they don’t expect to have any more until some time in March.
We thought in our naivety that the winter would come to our rescue. But not a bit of it.
Despite at least three or four nights when the temperature here has gone down to -5C before Christmas, the little blighters are still flourishing like the green bay tree and homing in on the Pak Choy and Tatsoi with knives and forks in hand. We are going to be under siege for months to come.
Another strange thing is that the winter broad beans seem to have put on a couple of inches over the last weeks when I would have thought they would have been completely dormant. Never underestimate the power of nature to recover – I’ve no doubt that if all the humans disappeared tomorrow, most of the works of man would be obliterated by vegetation in half a century.
This time of year, the glass looks comparatively tidy as the lads are able to get on top of the weeds, and get planted up for the spring. Everything is looking nice for a lot of leaves in the spring as soon as the light turns in February and things can start to motor away.
The latest I hear from the team is that the anti slug nematodes will be available again shortly – check out availabiity at Ladybird Plantcare.