Tag Archives: Tip

Ladybirds – the gardener’s friend

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Ladybirds are great for your allotment and should be encouraged.  I have had loads on my allotment this year.  Ladybirds eat aphids which makes them exceptionally useful.

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If you are interested in finding out which types of ladybird you have on your plot try the UK Ladybird Survey website.  This website has a wide variety of information included on it and aims to help the recording of ladybirds within the UK.

The Harlequin ladybird is not native to the UK and is causing problems for our own native species due to it being the worlds most invasive species.  To find out more, including how to identify and record sightings of the Harlequin ladybird, go to the Harlequin Ladybird Survey website.

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Problems with my veg…

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I spoke in my earlier posts about loosing some of my onions to mould.  Here is a photo of the white mould on the bottom of an onion after I pulled it out.  Additionally, this year, on all the mouldy onions I also saw these little creatures!  I think they are baby centipedes, or possibly millipedes.  If you can not see them, try clicking on the photograph below to enlarge it.

If they are centipedes then they should be encouraged, they are carnivorous and eat a wide variety of pests, including slugs.  I am just not sure what so many of them are doing on the bottom of this onion!  Down Garden Services provides a list and pictures of common garden creatures which is worth looking at.  The creatures are grouped into 3 categories:  friends, enemies and those that have some “bad habits”.

It is also possible that they are millipedes, this would make more sense as they feed on decaying vegetation which is in line with being on the bottom of a rotting onion.  This makes them very useful for recycling organic matter on the allotment.  However, they also have some bad habits.  They can damage seedlings, as well as beans, peas and carrots.  They like to eat soft tissue plants such as cucumber plants and strawberries.  They also enlarge wounds created by slugs in harder veg, such as potatoes or bulbs, however, they are unable to cause damage to these plants on their own.

After considering all these points I think they must be millipedes.  I have found them living in slug holed potatoes in the past.  As they are just eating rotting veg I do not see them as a pest.  They have not caused any damage to my seedlings or other plants so I am not too worried about them at the moment.

Above is a picture of my first butternut squash which has gone mouldy/rotten.  I noticed it after being away for the weekend.

After some more online research it looks like it is due to “Blossom end rot”.  There appears to be number of reasons for this to happen, from a lack of calcium in the soil, through to a need for more regular watering.  Apparently if you catch it early enough you can nip it in the bud.  Try these online resources below to find out more information and possible solutions:

Weekend Gardener: Stop Squash Blossom Rot

iVillage Garden Web: Blossom End Rot

Gardening Know How: Squash Bottom End Rot