It never ceases to amaze me how plants survive the harshest of winters to emerge in Spring full of new life and promise. Take the redcurrant cuttings planted in November for example. When I thinned them out last month the twigs hadn’t even formed roots, yet along the length of the twig little buds had formed. Little buds that have now uncurled their leaves and begun to form the first flowers that will form the first fruits. The older redcurrant bushes moved at the same time seem very happy in their new spot. Henley’s gooseberry bush transplanted successfully to the bottom edge of my plot after I read about a nasty Sawfly pest on Peggy’s blog. The caterpillar-like larvae of the Sawfly attack gooseberries and currants between late Spring and early Summer stripping the bush of its leaves. The RHS recommends regular plant checking from mid April onwards as Sawfly can produce 3 generations in one year with larvae active from April to June, July and August to September. I’ll be on my guard for pale green caterpillars, with black heads and lots of black spots. If you already suspect your gooseberries are prone to Sawfly you could try experimenting with Westbury Court Garden’s organic solution.
“To prevent gooseberry sawfly caterpillars, pick a bucket of foxglove leaves and pour over two pints of boiling water, leave for two days, strain and spray on gooseberry plants before any caterpillars are seen.”
The first sign of flowers in the strawberry bed is when I know the growing season really is in full swing. In a matter of months these little white beauties will transform into big red beauties. Hopefully!
footnote: Westbury Court Garden is a National Trust property in the Forest of Dean (just 12 miles from Gloucester). It’s a beautiful 17th Century Dutch water garden; the only one in the Country.
Entry filed under: allotment tales.