Monday, 1 July 2013

The Garden Wall

endless transplanting.....
I finally hit the wall.
I can't take another day of watering, feeding, transplanting,and fighting endless armies of greenfly. Not another night of slug patrol,or mornings of dog wrangling, cat chasing, blackbird hunting...aahhhhhhhhhh!!!! I'm finally going MAD!!!!

No I'm not really going mad, just fecking knackered. Can't go to bed till late as it's so bright, cant sleep on as its bright too early in the mornings (and any sleep I might get is interrupted by the sound of falcons screaming at all sorts of uncivilised hours). They must be going STARK RAVING MAD in Iceland and Alaska, I'm only in Limerick and I'm going mad. Is there anyone else going mad with me? No? O well then , I'm the only crazy in the village.
beds of first and second earlies doing well

In my more lucid moments I have taken a gander around the veg garden just to see what stage things are at. Last Friday I had the pleasure of the first broad beans for dinner and tomorrow it looks like the first Earlie's will be on the plate. I had an idea to cook all three meals from spuds tomorrow in sheer celebration. It seems so slow this year, so long to wait for a harvest compared to other summers that I could (almost) cry to be finally eating something (see I haven't fully lost it yet) I grew myself. And in an odd ironic twist my new broad bean dinner was accompanied by beautiful calvo de nero kale which was meant to be profusely feeding me through last winter but has chosen instead to be at its peak now, right at the moment when I need to rip it out of the ground for the next crops. Seriously what is going on with our growing year? and why wouldn't you go mad dealing with all this?
beautiful calvo de vero, completely out of season!

Half of this is my own fault, setting too many seeds, stubbornly deciding I must transplant them all. Them being bowed over doing crazy amounts of transplanting and keeping the compost factories afloat. Waking up with a battered back. Ridiculous! The other half is the cold, slow spring. Everything is bloody late.

Then there is the whole new learning curve of the glasshouse, which although brilliant for tomatoes, cucumbers(first one fattening up) and peppers is tricky enough to ventilate correctly, manage water for the plants which are in pots and keep the ever increasing hoard of green and white fly at bay. I have loads of french marigolds scattered throughout the fruiting plants but that doesn't seem to be really helping the chillies although the tomatoes are pretty greenfly free. I even brought in a ladybird larvae, a very unattractive looking insect which I suspect is wrongly accused of all manner of gardening crimes based on its unfortunate appearance. In face these ugly weird baby ladybirds chomp aphids by the hundred (except for the one I brought in on a leaf from the garden-the lazy b****** refuses to work. Fecking insects!

Having a snooze; lazy ladybird larvae
And the slugs, don't get me started on the bloody slugs. You know I'm slug tolerant, I even like them which is really odd for a gardener I know. But If I go out one more night at midnight and collect even more long grey ones, stripey small fat ones(odd drier ones) and skinny black ones that then try to make a break for it slithering through my fingers and up my arm or chew on my palm in a really weird itchy annoying way while I'm leaning over a bed trying to collect a few more....! Where the hell did all these slugs come from?
peas, broad beans and flat leaved parsley

The signs were there,  I found numerous slug egg depots in the soil over the last two weeks(which Seamus enjoyed popping in a disturbing way) but the sheer scale of the nightly hoards is just frightening to behold. Out last night I kept crunching something underfoot on the pathways, eventually I looked away from the plants and looked down to see what looked like a five lane highway in America full of snails! No wonder there are chunks taken out of everything!!!

The solution arrived in the post today, a packet of Nemaslug, currently chilling in the fridge. This is powerful and safe stuff, approved for Organic growers and entirely harmless to all but the slugs, after the initial high "woo hoo my nemaslug has arrived!!" ( which made my husband laugh, well its hardly a winning lottery ticket I suppose) I was driving later in the day and thinking about using it when real guilt set in and I began to feel bad for the slugs! O you can't win, dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. I WILL BE using it though, maybe then I can quit midnight slug patrol and finally get some bloody sleep!

Foxgloves in the fruit garden