Saturday, 5 April 2008

Let Battle Commence...

We were very excited the other day to see the first of the asparagus showing its head! This is its second year, so we'll be taking a small harvest. However the slugs are already taking some too, which surprised me as they didn't go for the asparagus last year.

So the organic slug pellets have come out again, and I'm also giving this new product from Victoriana Nursery a try this year.

It's an organic-friendly soil conditioner rich in trace elements, which simply alters the soil in a way slugs and snails don't like and puts them off the area for around nine months. Long term, it also has a beneficial effect on the soil's nitrifying bacteria.

You apply it by dissolving the powder in hot water to make 8 pints of concentrated solution (shown above), then adding a pint to a 2 gallon watering can and watering it onto bare soil. One packet treats an area 20ftx20ft, which means about four-and-a-half of my 8ft beds, so I have applied it to the strawberries, salads patch, onions and carrots, beans and peas, and of course the asparagus (which is a half-size bed). I'll have to get another I suppose, or another two if I'm going to treat the path areas and borders as well.

As well as the asparagus, other signs of spring are coming thick and fast. The fruit trees are unfurling their first leaves:

The salad veg I sowed a few weeks ago are sprouting earnestly:

And the diversity of life in the pond is unbelieveable! I've now seen every type of pond creature you could wish for in there; larvae, nymphs, beetles, worms and other wiggly things. As well as a multitude of frogs, I think I spotted a toad yesterday, and I'm sure some sticklebacks have found their way in (though I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not). The only thing we haven't seen which would be nice is the elusive newt, but I'll keep looking...
Most exciting yesterday was this fearsome-looking damselfly nymph. It's about 2cm long and could eat several tadpoles for breakfast, I suspect!

And if anyone knows what these tiny brown blobs all over the rocks are let me know; they look like some kind of underwater scale insect!

1 comment:

Simon Kirby said...

Hi, lovely to see the pond-life doing well. Funny how creatures just turn up. I'm hoping newts will move into mine. Really pleased you're thinking about the wildlife with the slug pellets.


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