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Author: admin, 21.12.2013. Category: What Is Organic Food

The next job is to stain the greenhouse staging, now that the wood preservative I applied must have dried by now. I can’t remember an autumn that involved quite as many beech nuts in my garden as this one. I need to get some pyracantha with lots of health and safety warnings to plant near my square compost bins to deter burglars. The Sungold tomatoes are still producing, at the rate of one or two tomatoes per plant every day. It’s in a pot, so I wonder whether if I put it in the greenhouse I would get blackberries in November. Apart from the greenhouse staining, my most urgent job is to split up and repot some of my perennials, especially the Waldsteinia.
I think it is the end of summer because I have now set my central heating to come on in the evenings. All credit to my mum for thinking of the cotinus, and to Susie Bower for letting me have the cotinus and thinking of the other plants that look so good with it.
Red turnip beetles, Entomoscelis americana, are typically associated with plants from the mustard family (also known as crucifers or Brassicaceae). Conventional, or broad-spectrum insecticides, are generally longer lasting but kills a variety of insects, including many natural enemies.
CAUTION: Read all insecticide label directions very carefully before buying and again before using to ensure proper application. The Garden Chafer Phyllopertha horticola has a patchy distribution in the British Isles (see map) but can be locally quite common.
Adult Garden Chafers are about 9 mm long, the head and mesothorax is a dark metal green to black colour and the elytra is a reddish brown with a metal gloss.
The reason the chafers have done so well is probably because the last three summers have been much wetter than usual and it is the wet condition that encourages the larvae to easily explore the grass roots of lawns.
Today I finished moving the compost from my Dalek-type bins to my square bins next to the greenhouse. I now think they are cockchafer larvae (previously illustrated in April 2009), as they have small brown legs, and vine weevil larvae haven’t got any legs. I would much rather break up the path, but the weather is right for staining (not too hot, not too cold) and I had better get on with it. Perhaps I am noticing them more because quite a lot of them land on my greenhouse roof, but I am sure I have never had quite this many on my lawn before.
Well, it has been a little drizzly sometimes, but generally the weather has been ideal, and it looks good for the next few days too.

I really wish I had done this before the greenhouse was installed, but I didn’t think of it. They are neighbours in my border because the proper name for London Pride is Saxifraga x urbium, and therefore they both begin with S. The end of summer is in some ways bad because it means the first frost is not long away, and it gets dark earlier, and the rain is colder… but this week I have for the first time felt that there might be some chance of getting on with some Renovation instead of purely weeding and mowing the lawn.
Now they are blue, and I have to wash the tomatoes before eating them if I don’t want to exceed my recommended copper intake, but this is a lot better than them being brown. Although I think that the bay tree is so lovely it should be as big as possible, I also realised that if I let it grow any bigger I wouldn’t be able to prune it myself safely any more, so I got on my biggest step ladder and pruned off the top bits.
When the eggs hatch in spring, the larvae are unable to climb out of the soil to reach host plants. Therefore, eliminating weeds from the mustard family may help to reduce the number of red turnip beetles. Common examples of broad spectrum insecticides include permethrin, carbaryl, bifenthrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin. Be sure that the label specifies it can be used on the specific cole crop you wish to treat, or cole crops in general. The first compost bin I emptied was the middle one in terms of how long the compost had been in there.
I sieved it and used anything that went through the sieve for repotting members of my Portable Herbaceous Border. If I can get a variety that is willing to be trained on top of the fence it will deter cats too.
I’m also thinking of putting some ground cover among the thuja at the end of the garden, to deter the cats. Red turnip beetles may migrate into home gardens from nearby fields where plants from the mustard family are currently growing or were grown in previous years. The larvae feed on vegetables and weeds from the mustard family such as cabbage, turnip, flaxweed, shepherd’s-purse, and wild mustard.
Adults also feed on plants from the mustard family such as turnips, cabbage, radish, kohlrabi, hoary alyssum, sweet alyssum, and wild mustard.
The damage can consist of light feeding to defoliation of the entire plant which can stunt or even kill it.
Cultivation from mid-May through June exposes the pupae to desiccation (drying out) and predation. Although insects are not killed quickly, it causes them to stop feeding and they eventually die.

As well as that, I am continuing to move the compost from the bins on the left to the bins on the right. They are in pots, but I think the pots will be too heavy for me to move them into the greenhouse. They have also been reported on strawberry, dandelion, bean, and potato which are from other plant families. Spinosad is derived from a naturally occurring soil-dwelling microorganism, provides excellent control, but does not harm natural enemies. Whenever using any pesticide, including low impact, natural or organic insecticides, follow all label directions and use standard pesticide safety practices for transporting, storing, mixing, applying and disposing of pesticides to protect yourself, your neighbors and the environment.
The second bin was the last one to be filled, so most of the compost wasn’t done yet. I started sanding the five pieces of the staging, having first unscrewed them from the supports, and although I can’t say they are nice, they are a lot better than they were before. The third bin that I emptied was the first to be filled, so had some lovely crumbly compost in it, and that was full of larvae too. I have swept the floor of the greenhouse and dusted off the cobwebs with a soft brush, and tomorrow I will clean the staging with methylated spirit and then it will be time to apply some wood preservative before staining it.
After feeding for about three weeks, the larvae will pupate within the top inch of the soil. Later in the summer when only adults are present, the densities are usually not high enough to cause significant damage. Red turnip beetles are usually not an annual problem in home gardens and high numbers occur sporadically over the years.
Since the birds are so busy eating the beech nuts, I decided not to leave the grubs out on the path in the hope that something will eat them. The eggs are laid singly or in clusters in shallow depressions in the soil or underneath leaves or other debris left on the soil. I mean, would you eat vine weevil larvae if there were a zillion beech nuts all over the place to eat instead?

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