Gardening Advice & Tips for Irish Gardeners

The Weekend Gardener (Part 11)

The rain and the warm conditions mean that pest control is top priority this week. Blight warnings have been issued on Met Eireann, so if you are growing potatoes you should spray your crops with Bordeaux Mixture or Proxanil to prevent the spread of the fungus.

The warm conditions will also see an increase in activity of garden pests, most notably the slug. Therefore now is the time to cover crops and create barriers against these pests.

Weekend Gardener

This week I have created a barrier of organic wool slug pellets around my crops of peas, broccoli and squashes. This is because these young plants are most susceptible to slug attacks. The wool pellets are good for lots of reasons; they are organic and so safe around food crops, pets and children. They are an effective defence against slugs because of their abrasive surface. They don’t wash away in the rain like many other slug control options and when they do finally breakdown they add nutrients to the soil.

I placed a 2 inch row of the pellets around my crops to form one continuous barrier. So the pellets should keep the slugs out. My only concern now is that slugs can come up through the soil and I don’t know exactly how long these pellets will form an effective barrier for. So, we will have to wait and see.

Elsewhere in the garden early preparations for cabbage white butterfly control can being. The cabbage butterfly is a serious pest of many brassica plants. The butterflies lay eggs on the underside of crops including cabbage, turnip, broccoli and cauliflower, these eggs later develop into caterpillars which ravage crops in a short space of time. The butterflies are most active in June & July and again in late August & September and this is the time to keep your crops covered. So, next weekend I will prepare my support frame to cover and protect my raised beds from the butterflies.

Even with all the rain over the last week I still need to feed my plants and today I used a liquid feed of maxicrop organic seaweed extract. All plants got a good feed as this fertiliser is great for stimulating regular and steady growth, meaning plants grow strong and compact without becoming too leggy.

If I had potatoes (I never got round to planting them up this year) then now would probably be the time for to earth them up. Also potato blight is an issue this time of year so, if you are growing potatoes then you should drench the foliage of your crops with a preventative.

My tomato plant is looking a bit sorry for itself, it seems my greenhouse is not offering enough light and warmth where it is positioned. The greenhouse is missing the sun until 11am because of the garden fence and I fear this has lead to the slow growth of my plant. However I will struggle on and hope that the a warmer June will boost growth. If you are having better luck with your tomatoes then the end of May is a good time to start pinching out and thinning out the stems on your crops.

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