25th January, 2011

So, it's not leek moth but allium leaf miner that has destroyed my leeks. Apparently, this is caused by a fly which lays eggs in the leaf and the caterpillars mine down the stem and then pupate overwinter. The pupae are characteristically brown as opposed to the creamy colour of the leek moth's. The damage to the stems allows infections to occur resulting in slimy, rotting stems. It first appeared in 2002 in a garden in Wolverhampton having somehow been transferred from Europe. However, my father who lives near Southampton says his leeks have got it too, so it has spread quite far in only 8 summers.

I spent a tough afternoon struggling with the apple pruners on an extendible pole. But managed to prune both the apple and pear trees. This is a photo of the nice spurs on the apple tree that are developing and where the blossom and fruit occur.

Mind you, I need to look after the apples a bit better than I have this year. I thought they would be OK in the shed but the freezing temperatures damaged most of them. Those in the garage have been discovered by mice. So I'm not sure where to store them next year.

The Swiss chard has some green shoots poking through when I thought it had been destroyed by the snow and ice.

I'm not sure about the purple sprouting broccoli though; hopefully some shoots will emerge soon. I have covered it with netting to keep the pigeons off.

The fox is making a distinct path as he/she walks across my onion bed. Maybe it's not that obvious in this picture.

Nonetheless, the onions are growing.

Finally, as part of the garden clean up, I made a hedgehog house from old fence palings. I'm quite pleased with the result but the truth in how good it really is will depend on whether it gets occupied. I do hope so as I haven't seen a hedgehog for quite some time.


marigold said...

It's hard to stop Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Do you think a little blood meal would help?

Nome said...

Aww, that's sad about your leeks. I had some pest infesting mine before the winter but the cold seemed to get rid of them and the leeks recovered.

Can't believe you've got onions growing already! Must get mine in...

Mark said...

I didn't know you are supposed to prune apple trees. Should you do this every year?

I love the hedgehog house!

Capsid said...

@Marigold, good idea about the feed. Maybe I could try sprinkling some chicken pellets?

@Mark, if you don't prune apple trees then you get excessive leaf growth, so spur pruning annually should optimise fruit production