Thursday, 18 June 2009

Updates #2

Pests.... The garden has been under attack by a number of pest, black flies and aphids mostly. The black flies first appeared on the broad beans and quickly jumped over to the neighboring spinach, and we have seen evidence of them on the runner beans as well. They multiply so fast it seemed impossible to stop them from ruining the entire garden. After pronouncing that the project was going to be strictly organic, the use of chemical insecticides/pesticides was not an option. Enter the ladybugs.
A few days after we noticed the increasing presents of the pests the number of ladybugs in the garden had risen substantially. We thought nothing of it at first until I read an article saying that one of the most effective ways of controlling pests in an organic garden was the use of ladybug larvae. So the increase in black flies and aphids had attracted the ladybugs, and this along with regular inspections (killing the pests by squashing them) has kept the pest population under control and brought the project back into balance. PHEW!!!. Thank you Mother Nature.
We have been blessed with quite a bit of rain over the past few days and this has really benefited the crops. The carrots seemed to have shot up over night, as has the runner beans, and we have had wild poppy flowers popping up all over the place (a bit of a pain but they attract the bees). The herb box has filled out nicely and has been coming in very handy during cooking time. Tomatoes are just about to come into flower and so are the potatoes, fingers cross, they'll make it through July without contracting and forms of infections.

Carrots after two days of rain

Potatoes and Runner Beans Happy together

Herb box: Thyme, Parsley and Basil

We have also got two very nice mint plants that have taken very well to the clayey soil. I've had mint tea every morning for the past two weeks...... What better way to start the day?

Mints and Chives

So the vegetables are doing well, but what about the fruits? We haven't got many varieties but what we have has been doing alright so far.
The apples are well on the way, another two months or so and we'll be overwhelmed be them. There's a slight sign of a fungal infection on a few of the young fruits but we are not to worried about it, it is not as bad as last years' and we had an outstanding harvest then so we'll let it take it's course. We pruned the tree back a little allowing more light and air to reach and circulate through it, and it seems to have very much appreciated it.

The Cameo Apple Tree

The young ones

The next fruit on the list is one that had been a bit of an annoyance over the years, the Grape Vine, it's been running beneath the earth and popping up everywhere. It is a true survival story, last season the vine produced a few bunches of sweet green colored grapes the majority of which the birds ate. A little time after the last bunch was eaten the vine began to dry up and fall apart, so instinctively we began watering its roots but unfortunately it never recovered and we thought "it has come to the end of its life cycle" and we uprooted and burnt most of it. In late January something miraculous happened. One of the vines we left in (because we were to lazy to dig all the way down to it's roots), from its bone dry shell, had started showing signs of life. We quickly began to guide it up and around the shed for support and before long we had a huge trail of vines all along the shed working its way onto the roof and up the apple tree. We have counted at least 40 bunches of young grapes on the vines, so it's going to be a good year for the birds. :-)

Grape Vines (on the shed roof and climbing the apple tree)

And lastly, the Strawberries. Our number one enemy, the fox, has been helping himself to these lovely fruits, a few birds have also been having a go at them. However we've manage to grab a few before they were all 'stolen' from right under our noses. Once we had a taste we soon realised why they were so popular with the natives, they were much sweeter than anything else growing in the garden by far and the bright red color stands out amongst the green. It was our own fault they were being taken, we had not taken measures to protect them from the local wild life. Won't be making that mistake again.

The first of many Strawberries

So there you have it, very exciting things going on at MAY GARDEN. Some scary moments, but a lot has been learnt as a result. There is no limit to the amount of knowledge that can be gained by working on the land and we hope that, as the seasons past, we will only improve and expand upon what we have already learnt.


  1. Wow... and im missing all of this stuck in a library in a hpsital down the road.

    If any of those sweet sweet strawberries could find their way to me Ill be happy!

    Hows the poly tunnel?

    Well done and keep up the good work.

  2. Hi, the poly tunnel looks great.
    Try companion planting French Marigolds with your Beans. They are a great deterrent to Black Fly. Out of 30 plants I only got 2 effected this year.
    Also Nasturtiums with cabbages work as well.