Six on Saturday – August 25th

I don’t think the weather knows if it’s meant to still be summer, or if it’s autumn – at the moment it’s 14C and raining….
Anyhow, welcome to my Six on Saturday

  1. …. “I won’t bother taking the ball of twine to the allotment, there’s nothing to tie back”…

…next time, I’m going to take the twine with me to tie up that blackberry before I trip over it!

2. The strawberries are approving of the more seasonal weather – even “disaster land” has revived in places! I need to untangle a lot of the runners for Just add Cream and Snow White, and sort out the escapee that seems to have sneaked out through the net…

Top raised bed – newest strawberries and chives
“Disaster Land” which seems to be looking quite healthy in places!
Fancy Strawberries – I need to untangle all those runners…
Strawberry Escapee…

3. We’ve finally had some success with the radishes – admittedly not as many as we should have, given how they’re meant to be “easy to grow”. If only the Florence Fennel would show signs of growth now (that’s meant to be a line next to the radishes)…

Oops – think we should’ve picked the radish on the right a week ago at least!

4. I will admit I’ve been neglecting my flower patch – I sprinkled a few nasturtium seeds earlier in the year and it was watered in the hot weather, but other than that it’s been left to fend for itself. It seems to be doing well though, and the penstemon survived my brutal ‘pruning’ after the snow we had in March!

5. We know there have been badgers spotted in the allotment site for a while, but I’ve always been confused why the badgers didn’t seem interested in the ants (apparently ants are a badger’s favourite food…)…
Well wonder no more, they’ve dug into the ant hills on the allotment path, and stripped it of ants completely!

I’ll be digging some of that soil off and using it elsewhere on the plot – that’s nice and fine, instead of my clay-like soil in other parts of the plot!

6. In my hope to make the raspberries easier to pick, I started thinning some of the plants – they grow semi-wild, so I’ve been letting them grow as they want… only trouble is that doesn’t leave me a path through the middle to pick any!

Raspberry jungle
Raspberry jungle

I’ve got bare soil in places (yay!), but that’s given me an idea for next time I work on the allotment – I’m going to try hoeing the ground under the raspberries to see if I can clear the dead leaves and also loosen the soil that the grubs are in. If the badgers are hungry for ants, they might take a liking to those pesky grubs too!

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm raspberries (plus a few strawberries still)

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday  and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Not a Six on Saturday – August 18th

Ok, before we start, I will admit this isn’t a real Six on Saturday… mainly because I have the grand total of three photos, and one topic to type about! But as nobody I’d asked online had come across this before, I’m hoping it’ll make for an interesting read, so welcome to my Not a Six on Saturday!

Mention the word “raspberries” and I’m sure most of you are already picturing a big bowl of fresh red fruit, maybe with a healthy helping of clotted cream to go with it? That’s true (and very tasty!), but what if your raspberries are looking more like this…

Signs of Raspberry Beetle

The first year we noticed this, we wondered what on earth we’d done wrong, thinking it must have been a watering problem, or lack of feed! But no, that kind of nasty dried-up edge is a classic sign of Raspberry Beetle (which incidentally can also affect blackberries, although thankfully they don’t seem to have discovered my blackberry bush).

The beetles lay eggs on the raspberry flowers from May to mid July, but it’s the larvae  / grubs that do the damage – they feast on the fruit (causing that dried up look), moving into the middle of the fruit, before dropping into the soil when they’ve eaten enough. 
They then spend the winter in the soil before starting the whole cycle again in the spring. 

Because of the seasons the grubs are active, they mainly cause a problem for summer raspberries… mine are autumn raspberries, so only the first month of crops are affected – once we get to the second week or so in August, the problem stops until next year.

It’s surprisingly challenging to get a photo of a Raspberry Beetle grub, but I did find one that was co-operative (well, as co-operative as a pest can be!):

The Raspberry Beetle grub

I’ve not yet found a way of solving this problem… I read some things which mentioned chemicals (I try to stick to organic methods, so chemicals aren’t an option); and somewhere else had suggested “loosening the soil in the autumn so the birds can eat the overwintering larvae” – that would work if we actually had birds visiting the allotment, as the deer and badgers don’t seem interested in eating those grubs!

This year we’ve tried to remove any raspberries which were affected, and those berries have gone in the garden waste bin – I don’t want to risk composting those berries in case the grubs survive (I had mint growing in my compost bin after all, so I know it’s probably not quite hot enough in there to kill everything off) and just cause more of a problem next year!

Have you ever encountered Raspberry Beetle? And if you have, how did you manage to resolve it / work around it?

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday  and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!


Want to read more (really?) – check out the RHS page for a bit more info on those pesky Raspberry Beetles

Six on Saturday – August 11th

What happened to last week? I’m sure the weeks are flying past quicker than I can count at the moment! Anyhow, welcome to my Six on Saturday.

  1. First we have the allotment Cucamelon plant.
    My ‘gardening assistant’ (dad) had told me there weren’t any Cucamelons growing yet… I think he must have missed all of these!
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  2. On to the strawberries in three different raised beds now, and first we have the top raised bed which has a few of my original Strawberry Something-or-other (there’s two or three left after the majority died), plus this year’s additions of Sweet Collossus, Florence and Beltran.
    Moving on to the third raised bed, the Snow White plants are looking really healthy (and sending out runners)…

    Just Add Cream shares this raised bed, and I’m going to have to sort out these runners, otherwise I’ll get in a muddle with which plant is which!

    Moving on to the second raised bed, and Strawberry Something-or-other really isn’t happy – using the square foot gardening idea, I had 36 plants in here last year, and now I have about 5 or 6 plants…

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  3. Runner Beans tend to work really well on our allotment, providing we net the base to stop the Roe Deer nibbling the young plants. The bean plants don’t seem quite so leafy this year though, but maybe that’ll be a positive, as it should mean they aren’t heavy enough to bring the bamboo supports down!
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  4. Moving on to Raspberry Jungle, I did some thorough weeding in here this week. The grass might not have grown with all the blazing hot sunshine we’ve had, but the bindweed is proving to be even more of a pain than usual.

    Wondering why I call it Raspberry Jungle? This is the “weeding view” of the raspberry patch…

    They’re Autumn raspberries, but they grow semi-wild across part of the allotment site, so I’ve no idea what variety they are.
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  5. Something a little less wild-looking is my mini celery patch. It seems to have taken a little while to get going (I bought the plug-sized plants from Homebase earlier in the year), but hopefully now we’ve had some less-hot weather, they’ll grow quicker!

    And if my Mum is reading this, yes I will try and get a better (straighter) edge to this bit before the grass grows too much!
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  6. And finally the blackberries have finished, but it proved that our new blackberry support was worth making – we had loads more fruit than in all the previous years combined!
    I know this is a crazy angled photo – it’s the only way I could get all the blackberry plant in one shot!

    I just need to check when to prune the branches back, and also get the new growth tied into the supports ready for next year!

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday  and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!