The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


And the culprit eating my pea shoots was…

Posted in Pests and Diseases | 19 comments

And the culprit eating my pea shoots was…

  I’ve been busy tackling the mystery of what was eating my pea shoots. These peas were planted in October under fleece. They germinated well and were at the stage where they needed to be supported by twigs. At first I suspected slugs. My open beer traps didn’t attract a single slug. Then Cath gave me the tip that traps need to be covered and I remembered that years ago my mum gave me the ultimate in slug traps. I found it in the greenhouse and set it up with a trill. But even the mighty Slug X beer fest didn’t attract a single...

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Slug challenge 2010 and seedlings

Posted in General care, Pests and Diseases | 11 comments

Slug challenge 2010 and seedlings

  Our basic electric propagator has been brought into service again as I’m really keen to get my tomatoes and peppers started early this year. Also I wanted to sow the Florian strawberry seeds to get a May/June crop. The propagator hasn’t got a thermostat but it is a real little cracker. Germinating seeds very quickly. This year they seem to have germinated even more rapidly – perhaps using rainwater to water them is helping? I’m also using biodynamic techniques and sowing, planting and tending by the moon this year – which is...

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Danny’s potatoes have slug damage

Posted in Pests and Diseases, Vegetables | 9 comments

Danny’s potatoes have slug damage

So Magic Cochin was right after all. Danny’s potatoes are infested with little black slugs. Yesterday I decided to get the spuds for supper early so that I could replace any ropey ones without having to trail down to the shed after dark. When I opened the potato sack I spotted several little black slugs chomping heavily. In fact it was quite hard to pull them off. When I cut the potatoes open I found a few smaller ones in residence and little grey black eggs. We’ve never seen them before. Or the eggs. Just the tiny white worms – about a...

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Can you solve our eelworm problem?

Posted in Pests and Diseases, Vegetables | 28 comments

Can you solve our eelworm problem?

  We realised that we had an eelworm problem in Danny’s potato border when we started to harvest them. The little front doors to the eelworm condominium look pretty insignificant until you venture inside. I reckon that at least half the crop is infected. We can eat the parts of the potatoes where no eelworm has dared to wriggle but so much of the harvest is wasted. The only benefit is that we are well exercised walking back and forth from garden shed to kitchen to find enough spuds to feed us both for a meal. The Min Pins enjoy this hunting...

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