Digging over the soil in winter and early spring time will bring slug’s eggs to the surface where they are more likely to be killed by frosts or eaten by birds. The slug eggs are pearly white and about 3 mm in diameter and are found in clusters.
In April, increasing temperatures and wet weather provided good conditions for slugs to grow and multiply. No single method of control will be completely effective so you should try several strategies. Here are a few ideas:
Hunt for slugs at dusk or dawn with a flashlight.
During the day slugs congregate in moist dark places. Create suitable hiding spots such as overturned grapefruit halves and then gather slugs from them.
Remove debris from your plot to remove slug hiding places.
Place beer traps around the edges of beds. Place sugary beer into a container so that the slug is able to crawl into the container easily.
Raise seedlings indoors and plant out when they are more able to sustain attack.
Why not try growing some rhubarb on your plot? Place a bucket or similar to exclude the light over the crown. In a few weeks you will then have some lovely pink sticks of rhubarb to enjoy.
Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to get cracking with digging your allotment plot. It is better for yourself and your back to do a little at a time, rather than try and tackle it all in one go. If the ground is wet do not try and dig it as you will wreck the soil structure.
Whilst digging, add some of your own compost to the ground but avoid doing this where you are planning to plant root crops.
Don’t forget to order or buy your potatoes early as the variety you want may be sold out, they are available in garden centres now.
If you are planning to plant fruit trees and bushes (raspberries and other cane fruit), this needs to be done very soon. The trees and bushes should be planted no later than the end of March. Do not plant bare rooted trees in frosty weather or if the ground is frozen.
Pruning of apple and pear trees should be done this month and certainly no later than the end of February as the fruit buds will be starting to swell. Do not do this task in frosty weather.
Gooseberries should be pruned now.
Shorten the side shoots on red and white currants to just one bud and remove old stems crowding the centre of the bush. Do not prune blackcurrants this way as they fruit on new shoots made the previous year.
Autumn fruiting raspberry canes can now be cut down. Do not cut down summer fruiting raspberry canes as you will have no fruit in the summer. Summer fruiting raspberries fruit on the canes they made in the previous year. The new canes are light brown in colour, whilst the older canes still have remnants of the old fruit on them.
If in doubt talk to the site rep or give Kevin a call for advice.
Blightwatch is a collaborative service supported by the Potato Council and Industry sponsors.
The Blightwatch service providers have worked to develop an online management tool which is available to farmers and other users free of charge.
Traditionally the risk of potato blight infection has been based on the calculation of Smith Periods – a system that uses hourly temperature and relative humidity recordings. However, until now Smith Periods have been calculated for only a limited number of Met stations around the country.
The Blightwatch service now covers the whole of the UK down to individual post code level meaning that alerts are now available for the Farnham and GU9 postcode areas.
The service operates in conjunction with the Potato Councils – Fight Against Blight! – service and delivers daily email and optional SMS alerts if blight risks are identified in our selected area(s).
When planting carrots you should try to protect them from their main pest, the carrot root fly (Psila rosae). These small black flies (8mm in length) lay eggs in the soil near carrots with larvae emerging to feed about a week later.