Battling with the Weeds and Bugs – 24th May, 2019

I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog that our allotment has been re-arranged this year. We have lost part of our old plot and had to take on a new section which is full of weeds. Last year we covered this new section with plastic hoping that the weeds would die off, which some did, but the real thugs such as couch grass and creeping thistle seem to have gone to town spreading their roots looking for light. The picture shows some of these which my husband dug up out of a very small section.

We were hoping not to use all the new section this year but then came the problem of the allium leaf minor fly which only arrived in this country in 2002. Normally leeks are very easy to grow and we have never had a problem with them until 2 years ago. Suddenly the leeks started to look poorly and the stems started to brown and rot. On inspection we found the black lavae of the fly buried inside the leeks.

Because the flies emerge from under the soil crop rotation is necessary so we decided to move on to the new plot not realising what we were letting ourselves in for. The leeks were eventually planted and then came the task of covering them with netting to prevent the flies entering. We found an old piece of fine yellow netting that had been left on a discarded allotment. Scavengers that we are, we rescued it, but unfortunately it had rather a lot of holes in it. There was plenty of the netting so I set about one afternoon sewing patches in appropriate places.

We await to see the outcome of growing leeks this year but as far as cost in time is concerned they have taken up more than their fair share. The rest of the allotment is looking good with most things apart from beans and kale planted up. Hopefully in a few weeks we will be starting to pick.