Holes, voles and poles

Holes, voles and poles

It’s raining. So much for spending all day in the garden, let’s hope the little couve galega plugs will be all right until later. It’s been a busy few weeks in the horta, however, and things are shooting up everywhere.

broad_beansHoles have started appearing in both the garden and veg patch. Big holes and lots of little holes. First of all, I noticed very tiny holes at the base of all the broad bean flowers, every single one was affected but not a bug in sight. Hmm. Off to the computer to find the answer: bumble bees. Apparently, they’re too fat and hairy to get into the flowers for the nectar so they bite into the base and get it from there. Which means the ants and other creatures use the the holes as well and the flowers have less chance of being pollinated. These flowers are amongst the first to appear which is why a bee-line (hee hee) is made straight for them but it will be less of a problem once there are others to tempt them away. We do have plenty of pods now so no harm done really but certainly a much smaller crop than otherwise.

holesOther holes have been appearing in the ground. We thought it was mice first of all, we seem to have even more than usual scurrying around, and they love the straw in the potting shed. But mice don’t make holes in the ground. Off to the computer to find the answer: voles. Initially, I was relieved, voles won’t come inside the house and make themselves at home. But it seems that they are far more destructive than mice in the veg patch, devouring more things. Hmm. With the barn owls around the last thing we want to do is use poison so we set up loads of traps around the holes, covered with upturned plant pots. Nada. We have caught plenty of mice and shrews in the boiler room but not a single vole has been caught in the garden. Nature though has a way of sorting things out. We have spotted a large ladder snake plus, this morning, diving under the holes in the olive tree, a weasel. Both of these eat small mammals. Whether they are responsible for the bigger holes (pictured) we don’t know. And I’m not complaining that a cat has been coming in at night, they’ll put the voles off too. Not to mention the mongeese which we know lurk in the undergrowth.

polesIn anticipation of runner beans, climbing courgettes, melons, cucumbers, aubergines and of course tomatoes the poles are going up in the beds. It looks like an assault course at the moment.  They’re mainly eucalyptus poles so they smell nice as well as being straight and sturdy!

What are we eating now? The leeks are finished and purple sprouting broccoli just gone so only the onions at the mo, and the first of the broad beans. We still have potatoes from last year though (and the frozen garlic which turned out to be a great success) but that’s it. It’s the only time of the year when there is such a dearth of crops, no wonder it’s called the hungry gap. Meanwhile, I’m not alone while gardening, there’s often a couple of supporters:


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