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Mystery of the missing blackfly on my broad beans

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Tee Gee:

--- Quote --- Yes, I fear the weather has had a lot to do with it
--- End quote ---

I agree! I broached on this earlier in the season when I discussed the weather’s effect on pollinators,I guess the same could be affecting pests such as black fly.

In fact I am now thinking the weather is affecting both indigenous plants and wildlife due to it being so variable and out of kilter.

Further to that, I think it is affecting plants as well. I base this on how differently many of my plants are reacting this year.

For example I planted 5 Cucumber plants in a bed, one died shortly after planting. Two are stunted and are around 6” high and bearing a few male flowers. Two grew in what. I would consider to be an ‘expected manner’ They are around four foot high but I have noticed this morning that one of these is starting to wilt and looks quite poorly, the fifth is producing both male & female flowers.

I have a couple of onions that have bolted and showing a flower head, before showing  signs of swelling at their base.

My flower beds are suffering in parts too with some plants wilting, and others flowering prolifically and others growing foliage at the expense of flowers.

Basically I would say that my garden is out of kilter and. I am getting to thinking that my plants, insect life, and me will have to be going back to the drawing board if we are to compete with the changes in the weather .

I sow my broad beans in early December so they can get ahead before any drought such as we had in spring last year.   This year, perversely, April was very cold and dry.   However, the broad beans did OK, had black fly in May bit not badly and were all picked and eaten or frozen by mid June.

PSB did fine over winter as did the pointy cabbages.  Spring plantings of red and Savoy cabbage are doing well under insect netting along with broccoli, sprouts, Swiss chard and pick and come again salads.   Garlic, as discussed elsewhere, has been odd and I have yet to see how the shallots will do but leeks are growing OK.

Tomatoes and chillies have had a slow start after such a cold spring.  I have had no success sowing spring onions and beetroot and quite a few ornamentals have failed, even easy ones like nasturtiums which I grow as sacrificial plants.   I have no idea if that's temperatures or dodgy compost.

It has been our best spring/early summer yet for soft fruits such as red and black currants, purple gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries etc. but it is unusually cool and damp.

Every season is different. I didn't see any for ages.  But a few started to appear about two weeks back and now they are increasing very rapidly.  Plenty of ladybirds and ladybird larvae seem to be around.

Get busy please ladies!!

Thank you for your interesting responses. I am not the only one finding things a bit odd in the veg plot then! Weather is probably the reason, as most said. My husband's aunt used to keep a diary of the weather each day (still got it somewhere) and I feel the urge to do the same - to what end I am not entirely sure...

No sign of ladybirds or their larvae - though the beans are so thick and lustrous they may be hiding. About 40 plants are now finished and coming up and into the compost this week. The rest won't be long. They have taken a long time which I put down to the weather, and like Obelixx said, autumn sowing might be an idea for the future - now I have bought covers against the jackdaws, squirrels and rabbits, it might be a goer. My leeks are waiting for the space.

Slugs as ever. I can go out at night when it is quiet and hear them chomping all around me. Also woodlice in the strawberries. Blackbirds in the blackcurrant bush but I usually let them have a few anyway, to complement the redcurrants which they have stripped completely. I like to see them though. I like to see the rabbits, and the butterflies, but my plot is a series of defences against them all.

There's quite an interesting little article in the current "Grow Organic" (HDRA) Mag about the distribution of pests like Blackfly and cabbage whites.


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