Aphid Army

Note to self: difficult to judge close-up focus range on phone camera in bright polytunnels

It’s ok, don’t worry: I haven’t been invaded by an army of aphids (eek, touch wood); rather, in the New Tunnel, there’s a pleasing plethora of aphid predators amassing, ready to ambush any naughty aphids who might think about having a munch on my tomatoes and peppers. Because I let the overwintered chervil run to flower in there (pulled out at last today), there are tons of hoverflies in the tunnel, who love pretty much all umbellifer flowers, and predate on aphid.

IMG-20130527-00408Ladybirds seems to like it too (also aphid killers): there were several larvae hunting around the coriander, and nearly every pepper plant in there has at least one larval cocoon stuck to the leaves. Tally ho chaps, get ready to fight the good fight!



Pumpkin Squash

IMG-20130527-00409…all planted! I couldn’t work out whether it was more sensible to plant them today, and let them get watered in tomorrow (although it’ll be chilly); or wait until the end of the week when it’s supposed to be warmer. So I put them in today anyway; fingers crossed they don’t get too cold… In went Baby Bear, Mars F1 and a few Jack O Lantern pumkins; and Crown Prince and Fictor F1 squash: 4 rows in total, around 175 plants. The first row managed to sneak under the fleece next to the courgettes, so they should be ok. I also put in a row of celeriac Prinz (around 220ish plants), and they will certainly enjoy the rain due tonight and tomorrow. Grow my pretties; grow!

Waiting… waiting…

IMG-20130517-00396Dear tadpoles, are you alright in there? You all seem happy enough, wibbling around, especially when the sun comes out and you all fight for the warmest, shallowest spots among the rocks. You’ve been tadpoles for over five weeks now, and there’s still no sign of you performing that crazy miracle of sprouting legs and shrinking your tails, and becoming froglets. I know I’m probably very impatient; but you see, the slugs are starting to get pretty active now, and I don’t want you to miss out on all that nice food. You all just seem to be getting bigger and bigger, but not actually developing (you all have light bellies and a weird small yellow thing sticking out of you-know-where too, like a truncated umbilical cord). You munch on the trailing plants, hazel branches and pond weed (or is it something growing on the weed that you like; or maybe microscopic oxgen bubbles coming from the plants?), and recently you’ve all taken to gulping air from the pond surface too. But I’ve only seen one if you have a suck on a leatherjacket (crane fly larvae, there’s blumin loads about this year) which ended up in the pond. Aren’t you supposed to be turning carnivorous/omnivorous now? I saw a couple of you being chased by something that looked like a tiny water boatman the other day, a fraction of your size. I do hope you’re not going to be wimps: or I’ll have to go back to squishing slugs by foot again. Please hurry up and at least help a few of your number develop into frogs soon. Thanks, Kate x