I'm sure growing flowers, fruit and vegetables would be so much easier if there were no nasty little bugs or birds eating or in other way destroying our efforts and cherished crops?
Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to worry about blight or fungus attacking our tomatoes or potatoes?
Wouldn't it be wonderful if it rained at night to give the plants the correct amount of water and keep the ground perfectly tillable at all times, while the sun shone all day (not too strongly, we don't want our polytunnels or green-houses becoming overheated)?
Wouldn't it be fantastic if we didn't have uncontrollable, invasive weeds to deal with?
I can recommend a great (and very addictive) little game on Facebook called 'Farmville'. The only thing that can go wrong there is that, if you don't harvest your crops on time they will 'wither'. However, you can't eat them, or make jam and pickles with them and, while fun, it isn't real!
The real world of growing is full of problems and difficulties which must be dealt with and no year is ever going to be perfect for all crops. That is part of the excitment and the interest in having a garden or allotment. We are not dependent on the success of our crops for our 'living' like commercial growers. It is a pity when our crops fail or the winter is so bitterly cold that we have to go to the supermarket to buy our vegetables but..... that's life!
We can learn all sorts of methods of dealing with these problems by talking to our plot neighbours. Most methods are not foolproof - No! I'll correct that - NO method is foolproof - not even the nasty chemicals and isn't it a shame to grow your own then throw/spray/ sprinkle our own crops with those same chemicals (though I'm not saying I've never used any of them when pushed!)
There are products you can buy which are suitable for organic growing, like organic slug pellets and I will list any others I know of which might help as I learn about them.
*SB Plant Invigorator - the environmentally friendly growth stimulant and pesticide - was first recommended to Pete Clee, our esteemed vice-chair, by the horticulturalist at Bristol Zoo, and having tried it he has passed on the information. Now lots of us, who are trying to be organic are using this to control pests while, at the same time, helping to control mildew, provide a foliar feed with a non-toxic application. One of the really big advantages is that you can harvest and eat immediately - BUT, DO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.
I have bought this on-line. You can buy in various on-line shops, check out the best price with P&P to suit you. (2010 prices in the region of £12 - £14 for a bottle to make up 25 litres.
I hope other allotment members will offer their tried and tested methods for treating these problems, or debunk any which really don't work. Please send your ideas and suggestions to:
* Interesting article on scale bug and mealy bug on this link
go to - pests and problems - scale-bug-how-to-control-plant-scale
I believe this is an American site but is full of useful information for growers - not necessarily organic.
attached pages on:-
- asparagus beetle
- leek moth
- horsetail or mare's tail
- japanese knot-weed