A very late six today as I was enjoying the sunshine and filling the day with chores (of the good type like eating out and gardening)
I have a plague of aphids; last week I bought ladybird larvae and by some accident of the post they arrived just as I was going away to a wedding so I am not sure how many survived plus I think all the ants that were herding the aphids protected them and maybe killed the larvae.
This time I ordered more and glue barrier against the ants plus some parasitic wasps. When I told Mr Urbanfarmer that I had not only purchased parasitic wasps but they were now residing (allbeit in a closed tube inside a box) inside our house he said he was going to hermetically seal himself inside the office until all signs of them had gone. I explained they are only the size of a comma but he did not change his mind. He has a great dislike of anything that can buzz near his head whether it can sting or not.
Even with my regular close up photo style I could not get a good picture as they are so tiny. They are cool though; they lay an egg inside the aphid and then the egg hatches and the aphid becomes mummified. The aphid hardens on the outside but kind of stays alive on the inside so the larvae can eat it – it then emerges as a new wasp from a hole cut out of the ‘shell’ near the aphids butt.
The other killer is above – eating the aphids already no less; ladybird larvae eat upto 50 aphids a day and travel to great lengths to get their meals. I am hoping they will be able to eat their fill and pupate so they hatch into ladybirds in my back garden. There are currently 300 somewhere in the back yard but I doubt all have or will survive. These are British native two spotted labybirds Adalia bipunctata (Make sure if you buy some they are a British native and not the Harlequin ladybird which is currently decimating the native ladybird population). I bought an insect hotel they claim ladybirds will over winter in – however, I may have been conned as most ladybirds overwinter in leave litter so I don’t think they will check in anytime soon.
The produce part of the Saturday comes from both the allotment and the garden today; both good and bad, I guess.
My friend is on holidays so I am legitimitely allowed to go alone; to water/weed and steal vegetables of course (they would be rotten upon her return and noone wants to see that).
Our first courgette was ready for picking and with this warm weather it would have been a full blown marrow so I was obliged to pick it. There is also a patty pan squash that might be ready soon.
I picked the last of the soft fruit and also some more rhubarb which I will turn into red current jelly and rhubarb gin respectively.
In the garden there are still purple peas but new to the yard are the golden mange tout flowers so I can look forward to that harvest soon. I am not sure but I thought the flowers would be yellow or such but it looks like they may be pink and purple which will look nice. I like how each petiole is dyed red at the joint.
The sad side is the lack of beans and corn that I have grown; the beans have hope as yet but so far I have found a single small bean and all the other flowers have just fallen off. ‘Lady Di’ variety that seems to be growing well and putting out alot of vines and flowers but not actually setting; anyone have hints I will be glad to try them out.
The corn is a sad affair – I pulled all of them up as none had pollinated – I think it was the strange weather and something ate or dried up the male flowers on the top before they could do their job; I shook them as you should but no luck. I have planted more in hope to catch the rest of the season. Below was the best looking corn of all the cobs; I must say though that one kernel was delicious eaten raw.
There is still alot of the season left so I will plant some more things, perhaps carrots and another type of pea (‘Lord Leicester’) and later in the season cabbage and spinach that prefer the cooler weather.
That’s it for my very rushed SoS, a little update from the garden and pseudo-my allotment. For more, head to The Propagator to see lots more SoS of those who are a little more organised than myself.