I was reading through Mr Middleton’s book ‘Digging for Victory’ the other evening and came across this article. I feel l should share it with you as l feel we can all associate with some of what he says when we are gardening!
The crocuses will soon be out, the birds are singing, and this is the time when the gardening fever spreads. Already l notice seed packets are blowing about the allotments instead of into the salvage bin, and take it all round, the garden is full of interest just now. It’s nice to think that each little seed we sow is going to grow into a fine carrot or onion as the case may be. But is it? There are a good many snags and obstacles to be got over before we reach that happy state, and it’s just as well to be prepared for them and act accordingly. It doesn’t seem to matter what we try to grow, there is always an enemy of some kind waiting to pounce on it and spoil the good work; what with the invading army of birds, cats, moles, insects, and diseases of various kinds, it’s a wonder we are able to grow anything at all. But there is one thing we should all remember: nearly all these gardening troubles can be prevented, but many of them are extremely difficult to deal with once they are allowed to get going…..Never was the old saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’, more true than it is in the garden. So we must be forewarned this year, and take timely measures to keep the crops clean. We can’t afford to share them with insects in wartime.
He goes on to talk about slugs, wireworms, onion fly, carrot fly (l used a mixture of sand and soot when l sowed my carrot seeds when l had my first allotment at the age of 11years and it worked a treat against the fly), flea beetle, black fly, club root and birds. He goes on to say:
I don’t like hurting birds. I’m afraid l’m not so squeamish about other people’s cats and dogs; they can be, and often are, a perfect nuisance on allotments in industrial areas. Cats are difficult, but a lot can be done with a well-aimed lump of dirt. Dogs are inexcusable, and their owners might at least keep them off allotments, even if they themselves are not interested in growing food. Children, too, are sometimes very troublesome, but it’s no use blaming them, but those responsible for them might surely exercise a little more control over them where allotments are concerned, for these allotments are a vital source of food supply. Our allotments have recently been visited by a herd of cows. I don’t quite know what we can do about them, l know what l felt like doing, but perhaps the less said about that the better, except that l should like to appeal to everybody who owns animals of any kind to do their best to keep them under control, and respect the efforts of those who are trying to increase the food supply.
Well, maybe the cows are a bit extreme but dogs and cats are always a threat, even my own! Worst of all are my hens that manage to find a way into my veg plot and wreak havoc. I am slowly building up defences and they are slowly getting the message. My experience is just keep an eye out when you are gardening and try and nip any problems in the bud before they get out of control and always opt for the organic method first.