It has got to the time of the year where things seems to slip out of balance just for a while and pests prevail, until predator populations adjust and nature gets back into equilbrium. Of course, if people insist on growing things in nice rows, in one place, why would any animal or pest resist? But everything was looking so good until last week. There is something so very heartbreaking about the swiftness with which certain types of attack can occur. Take for instance, sawflies.
Overnight (or maybe two) the new gooseberry bush has gone from green and dangerous (vicious spikes) to an all out skeleton:
It was too small to have fruit, but it is the leaves that are devoured in any case. The culprits in this case weren’t common gooseberry sawflies, which have black heads and lots of black spots on their green bodies, but what look like small gooseberry sawflies.
The damage amounts to the same, but the lifecycles are slightly different. The sawflies were gone before I could pick them off, but how did they find my lone bush, hidden amongst the wallflowers?
Next up was a raid on the Pak Choi. Just as I was about to start picking it, the pigeons noticed them too and have suddenly taken to sitting on the edge of the raised beds to peck at them. Fortunately, only the edge plants were affected before I noticed the attack and so I have re-instated some small chicken-wire protective tunnels.
In fact, I need to set up more protection, buy more chicken wire and make larger tunnels, because the current scraps don’t stretch all the way across the beds.
Hence, I should not have been surprised to discover a few days later, that my lovely red lettuce were suddenly missing their hearts …. at least up to the protective wire tunnels.
Clearly I have been visited by that dratted muntjac deer again, in spite of the barriers put up around the edge of the garden recently. I hope that I’ll get new growth around the edges of the hearts and I will get some benefit and crop from the damage.
So if you should spot a very fat or sleepy muntjac deer, you might have a suspicion what it has been up to. Wood pigeons are always fat, so I know I am not alone in my pain ….. and those sawflies are long gone. It was even hard to find one to photograph.