Allotment pests and prettiness

This is not plot 201. This is the allotment of somebody with a developed aesthetic sense and a rightful focus on beauty as well as productivity.

201 has an arch too. Or rather, it has two blue metal shop fittings that are supposed to be the uprights of an arch, when we bury them either side of the path and sling some plastic trellis over the top to make the ‘arch’ bit. For the past eight months or so, they have been moved around the site, from place to place, with people constantly falling over, or into, them and then cursing and kicking them and moving them somewhere else.

The net result of our ‘feed the masses’ ethic is eleven cucumbers in the fridge and no arch. I think we’ve got our priorities a little bit wrong somewhere, but there never seems to be time to stop and work on non-food-crop related things now.

To start with, we have whitefly on everything, but mainly on the brassicas that aren’t in the brassica cage. And while whitefly are said to be more a nuisance than a pest, we still have to wash them off all our seedling plants every few days. The distinction between ‘nuisance’ and ‘pest’ seems to be that nuisances annoy and make work harder, while pests simply destroy and make work fruitless (or cropless, if you prefer). The tomatoes seem to insist on being tied up every ten minutes, the beans don’t seem to be flowering as fast or as much as himself would wish (and the runner beans are attacked by blackfly) and the celeriac can’t get enough water. With all that going on, who has time to stop and consider a rustic arch?

But I didn’t get an allotment just to have kilos of crops that have to be blanched or dried or pickled or given away. I got an allotment to have scope to express myself in plants as well as in words – but on the current evidence I have about as much ‘green’ creativity as the average bus timetable. I think my autumn focus needs to be on beauty …

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, July 10, 2009

5 Comments:

Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

To start with, we have whitefly on everything, but mainly on the brassicas that aren’t in the brassica cage. And while whitefly are said to be more a nuisance than a pest, we still have to wash them off all our seedling plants every few days. The distinction between ‘nuisance’ and ‘pest’ seems to be that nuisances annoy and make work harder, while pests simply destroy and make work fruitless....

From that, two questions.

1) 'Wash off'? You mean just spray them with a garden hose?

2) I assumed my brassicas had been eaten by whitefly, but from this I take it something different. The strange thing is, despite much of the leaves on my Brussel Sprouts being decimated, my plants are still growing sprouts, and now it is so cold here, there seem to be no pests yet. So I'm wondering if I was on completely the wrong path using Derris Dust (which killed all my beets, silver beet, and spinach?

July 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Tanya Walton said...

I don't bother about the whites fly on the brassicas..although i hate it getting in my face. I have been pretty lucky not getting black fly this year too!!

Don't worry about your brussel leaves too much Mark.....mine were all eaten off last year by caterpillars but I still got brussels on the plants!!

July 13, 2009 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Oh, I LONG for an arch. When I visualise my plot in years to come the arch is the first thing I see. But this year I haven't got any flowers apart from some self-seeded californian poppies left over from last year. We are in the same pest-and-weed fighting morass - I sympathise with you.

July 14, 2009 at 5:03 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mark - yup, just wash them off with the hose, or with a sprayer with 1 teaspoon of washing-up liquid to 2 litres of water which destroys the coating on their skins and kills them as it does black fly.

Your sprouts should survive almost anything up to and including hurricanes (for which they need staking!) so don't despair. Heat can make them miserable but they will get through it and pick up in cold weather.

Personally I would never use Derris, it can do more harm than good, especially on broad leaved plants like spinach.

Tanya - I hate that too, whitefly and carrot fly just mob into your hair don't they? Especially in early evening for some reason ....

July 14, 2009 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Thank you ladies.

July 15, 2009 at 8:39 PM  

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