Thursday, 8 November 2007

Broccoli surprise

Some time ago, I planted some broccoli seedlings. I didn't water them very well and thought I had lost them. However, a couple survived and even produced a flower head. One near my back door looked particularly sickly. It was so grey I thought I must have mixed it up with cauliflower. After a bit of attention (and water), it turned green and looked edible. Last night I noticed it had started to go to seed and thought I'd better eat it while I had the chance. I chopped it off and took it into the kitchen. When I cut it open, a plethora of earwigs who had made their home in the middle ran out all over my kitchen. They scurried to hide in my kitchen drawers, over the floor and amongst the other veggies I had ready for dinner on the bench. It took me by surprise since there was no sign of them from the outside. I was completely urked and didn't want to finish cutting up the rest of the veggies. I describe the horrible feeling I got as "piks et ood". (Does that sound Latin or French perhaps? It's the un-doing of the "skip te doo" feeling!) The chooks got the broccoli and the earwigs we could catch and some earwigs got washed from the other veggies down the sink but I'm sure there are still some hiding in my kitchen that we missed.

I'm hoping the earwigs invaded this broccoli because it was weak and that my other veggies in that patch will be OK. I'm also hoping the chooks will keep them in check over the rest of the garden. (They can't get into the veggie patch though). Am I being too hopeful? Should I have done something with nematodes? If yes, what should I have done / do now? Is it because I haven't done enough crop rotation in that spot?


Kath said...

I've had the same thing happen - couldn't eat my mangy looking one either after all the bugs left. I think pests are attracted to the weakest plants in our gardens. Take heart, at least you managed to 'collect' quite a few in one swoop! I'm still trying to entice the little blighters up a stick to live in crumpled newspaper so I can grab them in the mornings! - not having any luck I might say.
Some gardeners at Fern Ave have tried a handful of suger per Sq metre sprinkled onto the soil to kill nemetodes. I might give this a go.

Kate said...

My mother has found success with placing a flat dish (or a small bowl with a flat edge at ground level) of linseed oil in the area. They climb in and can't get out. I found dozens in the dish when I went to empty it for her after only a few days.