Richard's Ramblings (Or GROW HQ Head Grower - Garden Diary) November 18th 2017

Crop management for Richard means a pleasant stroll and a good look around the garden...before planning the extermination of slugs and aphids...

I’ve just finished my morning walk of the veg patch at GROW HQ; a chance to re-acquaint myself with how everything is doing. A pleasant amble around my vegetables, but also a vital part of crop management. Growing, particularly organic growing, doesn’t lend itself to charging about frantically, the “heads down, nose to the grindstone, mindless boogie” approach (in the words of a song from my youth). Stand back and smell the flowers and see the slugs, aphids and fungal attacks.  The walk lets me see how everything is doing, for better or worse. I think some people call this “Mindful Gardening”, to me it’s strolling about and having a good look around but it probably amounts to much the same thing.

This morning the first stop was the beds of spring cabbage, a vital veg for the kitchen crew in the spring hungry gap when the choice of available fresh produce is decidedly limited. The beds were covered with insect net to keep the pigeons off the young plants. A peek under the net last week revealed a fair bit of slug damage with some weeds (it’s easy to forget to have a look under your net). Clearly, we needed to clean up the beds, remove weeds & slugs and remove the nets (pigeon numbers have declined recently) and let the birds have a go at the remaining slugs. I also spread a few of the iron phosphate slug pellets (permitted for organic growing), these aren’t as effective as the standard Metaldehyde slug pellets (which are banned for organic growers) but don’t appear to be anywhere near as damaging to the environment. I ended last week with a satisfied feeling that the slugs were on the run (or at least the slither) however this morning some coarsely ripped leaves showed that the pigeons were back, so it’s back on with the nets- with regular peeking to see if the slugs have slithered back. A successful crop of spring cabbage requires continual tipping away. If this approach seems a little too involved then don’t try and grow spring cabbage organically, everything seems to want to eat it- apart from most children.

The walk also revealed the emergence of the over-wintered peas, neat little rows of deep green braving the winter cold. I still get as much of a thrill out of seeing seeds emerge out of the soil now as I did when I first started growing more years ago than I would care to admit. Maybe the secret to being a contented grower is to enjoy your thrills in moderate doses & to accept you share your garden with other things that want to eat your crops.  And leave the “Head down, mindless boogie” to others.