Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hard work

It is hard, hard work digging an allotment.  I am over run with bind weed.  Every year I dig the soil and I am careful to remove every little bit of bindweed I see.  And yet each year it just grows back.
 That's just why there is no short cut to having an allotment and growing vegetables.
 People starting an allotment for the first time might underestimate the amount of work it takes to keep the soil weed free.
 This stuff is just everywhere!
 The dandelions are a bit easier, but the roots go down so deep that if you leave just a bit it grows back.

Meanwhile elsewhere on the plot I will be digging up my disastrous crop of leeks.  I was really looking forward to these Musselburgh leeks again, they stand well over Winter but the dreaded Leek Moth has all but destroyed these.  The moth lays eggs on the leaves and the larvae eat their way along the leaf and down inside the stalk down to the base.  It is the nibbling of the base of the leek that makes one healthy leek develop multiple leeks from the base.
 There are a few which do not appear to be badly damaged, but on the whole the crop is not good.  The leek moths are active from May right through to October and there is no chemical spray available at the moment.  The only sure way to protect is to entirely cover the leeks with a fine mesh.
 I'm not much of a builder, and it is awkward to keep removing the mesh to weed and to water.  I might try some French Marigolds (Tagetes) which are known to repel insects.  Does anyone have a remedy?


At 7:48 PM, Blogger Mark Willis said...

I have so far managed to avoid the Leek Moth, but I suppose it is only a matter of time before they find my garden! It,s annoying how commercial chemicals are often available when ones for amateur use are not.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Kelli said...

Good luck with the digging and prep work. I've spend many a days digging over soil and its a tough job. Worthwhile in the end.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Lou@RainbowChard said...

Hi Matron, I've been a long-time reader but I think this is the first time I've commented!

I have the same weed problem but in my case it's couch grass that needs teasing out each year. The roots are incredible.

Thanks for the reminder about leek moth timings. We have it in Norwich. I'll cover up my onions and garlic if I can rummage enough fabric. With my leeks, the last couple of years I've started sowing them later and then planting them out after the moth stops being active (usually in the space I've just dug up my potatoes from). It does mean the leeks crop later (and into spring) though.


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