It’s typical, the weather starts to improve and I’m up to my neck in work. Some of my friends are retired now and I must admit I really envy them having the time to do just what they want. Sadly my pension plan will just about pay for tea and biscuits so work I must. Then again, I’m lucky to have work, there’s many who would be grateful for it so I’ll suck it up and carry on.
I mentioned last week that the mower suddenly started smoking but stopped smoking after a minute so I was going to get it properly serviced at the end of the season. Well I got it out the other day and it just wouldn’t start, so it’s in the workshop now.
Of course it couldn’t happen at a worse time – the grass is grown tall and growing fast. The longer it gets, the harder to cut. I do have a little electric hover mower which is useful for the sloping piece behind the greenhouse but it won’t touch the main area. Fingers crossed it’s quick and cheap to fix. Unlike the car which is a Skoda Costalot 🙁
This year it seems we’re already cursed with whitefly, not just in the greenhouse but also outdoors on the strawberries. I’m using Agralan whitefly killer which can be used in conjunction with the biological control agent Encarsia formosa. It appears more effective than Bug Clear that I’ve used in the past.
If they don’t seem under control by next week then I’ll get some of the Encarsia wasps but they’re relatively expensive. I’ve caught them early though, so at least the plants are OK. It’s important to be thorough when spraying, it’s a contact killer rather than a poison. Spray over the plant, then the tops of the leaves, then the undersides and also the top of the pot to catch any there about to rise.
The good news is that we’ve not seen too many slugs, the bad news is we’ve loads of snails this year. So, there I am picking snails from the patio pots and amusing myself by seeing how far I can throw them into the field whilst crying out ‘Snails in Space!’ What can I say? Perhaps it was the sun or maybe I’m finally cracking up. Whatever, I looked around and the postman was giving me a very old fashioned look.
Sideshoots on Tomatoes
Amazing how many sideshoots had grown on the tomatoes. In a matter of a few days some had got sideshoots at the top as thick as the main stem. Had to spend a moment working out which was which on some plants.
You can let a cordon sideshoot develop so giving two cordons from one root but I think it results in smaller fruits on a more fragile plant. When you think of it, you’re supporting two plants from one rootstock so it makes sense that the plant won’t be as strong.
The biggest problem is sheep. I nipped into the village leaving the gate open and returned 20 minutes later to find a ewe and two lambs who had stripped the apple tree I planted earlier this year.
I know farmers can shoot dogs they catch worrying lambs but I’m not sure where we would stand if I filled the freezer with a shot sheep. One of the local farmers just lets his sheep roam the roads and a mangy lot they are. A nuisance to everyone and a danger on the road. Actually I feel sorry for them, they always seem desperate to get in with the flock on the field but that’s not a good idea because of bio-security.
Anyway, having chased the three nomads out of the garden, up behind the greenhouse lamb No 6 from the field flock had climbed over the wall and stripped a young plum tree and some bushes. There’s always one!