Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It looks as though the bug spray's worked. Now I feel bad that I didn't use an organic one, but previous experience has been that organic pest spray is pretty ineffective. This aphid infestation was really serious, I didn't feel as though I had time to experiment with gentle pest control - I had to nuke them before they killed all my plums. However, now that my (shrivelled) leaves appear to be only harbouring dead aphids, I am feeling ashamed that I turned to chemical warefare so easily.

It's difficult to know where to draw the line. Normally, I use natural pest control, with a bit of help from washing up liquid sprayed onto persistant bugs such as black fly on the beans, I buy organic peat free compost as an addition to home made, I get my seeds from an organic supplier but the one thing I've never been able to do without is blue metaldehyde based slug pellets. We'd never have any produce if I didn't. So, where does that leave me now? A not very organic gardener. With organic intentions that got washed away with the first onset of a problem.

It's very easy to sit in judgement of the agrochemical industry but at the moment I'm uncomfortably grateful to it.

Happy gardening, whether you're deep dyed green or wishy washy green, like me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Plum under attack

Only a week or so ago I was feeling really pleased with the plum tree's progress this year. Tons of blossom, all looking very healthy and lots and lots of tiny new fruits.

This week we have had a dramatic aphid attack, the leaves have curled over on themselves and the undersides are quite covered in the wretched things.

I've sprayed the leaves as much as I can with bug spray. It's very difficult because of course the leaves are all curly now but I'm hoping I've caught it before all the sap gets sucked out of the tree. I don't want the tree to lose all the young fruit.

Goodness, gardening is such a mixture of elation and disappointment, just like the rest of life!

Happy gardening (bug free, I hope)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why a May Day celebration?

The 1st of May. So we all have a day off work and celebrate with a barbecue and don't stop to remember that the holiday is really about the coming of summer and fertilty for the crops. It's not a surprise that so many of the old customs and festivals are connected with fertilty, our ancestors depended on the land or the hunt for their survival.

I believe modern mankind has almost forgotten that we still depend on growing crops and tending animals. It's as simple as that.

This Beltane I'll be raising a glass to the smallholders, the beekeepers, the gardeners and allotment holders, all the lovely low impact dippy hippies of the world, anyone, in fact, who is quietly living in a responsible way. Stick together guys, we need you.

Happy gardening