Monday, June 14, 2010


I was reading Matron's blog a couple of days ago when she warned about the gooseberry sawfly.We had a gooseberry bush the first two years on the allotment but the sawfly decimated it almost overnight and I dug it out thinking it was dead.We did not replace it last year but I put in a new one in the Spring of this year.Believe it or not I had not even thought of the sawfly until I read Matron's blog!On Sat I spent quite a few hours on the plot and thought of checking, at first glance it looked OK, green leaves in place and even a few berries.
It was only when I looked closer that I noticed all of the bottom branches were bare!I put on my glasses and discovered there were tiny green striped bugs crawling all over them, almost impossible to see against the bark.I spent ages picking every last one of them off and throwing them out on the hot gravel, hopefully to shrivel up and die.I got the hose and blasted the branches and dug out the top layer of soil to pick out a few that were crawling around there.I have not been out either Sunday or today so tomorrow morning I will have another inspection and can only hope they were the only infestation.
Sat was warm and humid and I worked on finishing the asparagus bed and some weeding.A few plotters came and weeded and chatted, this is Mark resting from his labours.
Michael chatting to his neighbour, about the weeding they were going to do?!
The finished Asparagus bed. I had removed the older small bed and extended it during the week, it is now about 10 feet x 4 feet and houses 10 plants.I had to move 2 plants, one of which had a spear growing to seed and after 2 days it still looked healthy and showed no distress after being moved.I had bought the original 3 plants in Dunsland garden centre about 4 years ago as 1 year old plants.I went back hoping to get more and bought 4 which are in their third year.They were 5.95e each which is very reasonable considering I should have some edible spears next year from them. I intended putting them down the centre of the bed but decided to stagger them and had enough room for three more which I bought on Sat morning when I went back with the camera.All of the plants had 4 or 5 spears growing up into ferns.I lined the base of the bed with well rotted manure and soaked it before putting in the plants.
Roll on next year!
Ger took on watering duties, after doing his own he began watering Angela's and Peter's plot.Ger had put in some celeriac plants on his plot and when I saw them for sale in Dunsland I decided to try a few. I have tasted it before and while I would not eat it as a veg it is delicious added to mashed potatoes and soup. I am sure the internet will yield a few recipes if it comes to harvesting it!

Moi!!Without makeup and after spending a few warm hours on the plot.Mark who is an experienced photographer was giving me some tips on using the shutter speed etc. I said one thing at a time and he explained the rule of 'thirds' to me. I am not sure how much of it I actually remember but will try to use something else besides the 'idiot' setting and the other automatic settings which is what I am inclined to do.


kathleen said...

Does everyone wear jewellery while digging on their allotments? Very glamourous!
I thought when I saw the guy sitting bare chested that ye were embarking on one of those nude calendars that are getting popular for charity puposes!!

Ann said...

That sawfly put me off having any more gooseberry plants, it totally stripped the leaves off but I couldn't see them because of my varifocal lenses, I focus at the right angle to see them!

Nice picture of you.

nic @ nipitinthebud said...

yikes not heard of this beastie before. But then I've never had a gooseberry bush before either! Mine was looking very healthy and berry-ful last time I saw it - better hot foot it down to the plot tomorrow and double check.
Looking beautiful au-natrel Peggy. It's true gardening keeps you youthful

Matron said...

I checked my gooseberries regularly from the beginning of the season, but it seems that you take your eye off them for just a moment and they can almost strip a whole bush overnight! grrr. Lovely photo, now I know who to look for when I get to Cobh!

Peggy said...

Kathleen, my ear rings and locket are always on!The nudie calender would be a bit of a let down as we are nearly all a little long in the tooth!

Ann, I could not see them until I put mine on but so far so good no further damage.

Nic, you have no idea how fat these things can strip a bush!Thanks for the compliment.

Matron, thanks for the timely reminder or the bush would have likely been stripped in another few hours. Just watch for the sun reflectingon the white head!