Vegetables – Dealing with Pests (2)
Many gardeners still consider the use of chemical poisons to be good gardening, but hopefully less and less will as time goes by and more is understood about the damage they do – and, interestingly, how easy it is to get by without them. Somehow few of us manage to grow those impossible large, shiny and perfect fruits and vegetables that we see on the seed packets (and in the catalogues!) and yet, what we grow tastes good and gives us such satisfaction that a few blemishes are unimportant.
It is very frustrating to grow your own fruit trees and then find that nearly of the fruit is damaged, so here are a few simple ideas to care for your trees.
In late summer, tie corrugated paper and/or sacking round the trunks and in winter, remove them carefully, creepy crawlies and all, and burn them.
Similarly a wide band of coarse paper well greased will trap a lot of them on the way up in early spring.
Be careful with your pruning of cherries, plums etc – take any dead wood or any small branches that have curled or twisted leaves off cleanly and burn them, don’t compost.
In the garden of my original house, there was an old plum tree, which had fallen into the habit that some old trees have of only fruiting every other year, so when it did we had orgies of plums and jams and preserves. A goat got into our orchard from a nearby farm and completely bark-ringed it (the pretty little creature just chewed the bark off at head height all the way round). Now this should kill a tree as all the life giving sap flows up and down just beneath the bark. An old farming friend said the best thing to do would be to get some old sacking, thoroughly soaked in cow manure (!), wrap it tightly round the tree and bind it with string, and, he said, when it falls off after two or three years the tree will be alive. I did it, hardly believing, but I’m pleased to say that I had reason to pass by the house fifteen years later and there was the unmistakable shape of my old friend – so sometimes these old country remedies are worth a try!
In England the Henry Doubleday Association has been promoting good organic garden attitudes for longer than I care to remember, and among their many interesting items they have an excellent list of organic books and booklets and www.organicgardening.com in the United States; well worth the time and full of excellent tips!