It's that time of year I think: the time when the summer crops are finishing, the winter crops are tiny, juicy seedlings, the air cools a little and there's a bit of rain around, and the local pest populations EXPLODE. Dear Lord, if I wasn't committed to my vegie garden I think I'd just about give up in disgust right now.
The one capsicum which had grown to any size, has been chewed and is rotting. I ripped them all out; all six plants which sulked all summer and had just started flowering.
Caterpillars have totally defoliated my Rainbow Chard. They're gone now, added to the compost heap. Lucky I planted out another six seedlings a couple of days ago.
Plant-eating, Twenty-eight Spotted ladybirds, having chewed my potato leaves to bits, have descended on my tomatoes...
...and something is eating holes in the tomatoes which have actually set.
Thousands of tiny snails have skeletonised my beans. Various snail baiting methods are not working because they are travelling leaf-to-leaf, not across the ground. I even resorted to commercial bait. No good.
Something is eating my kiwifruit vines:
I can't find the culprit, but I suspect caterpillars, as there are large piles of what looks like poo on the leaves. Or are they the bugs in hiding??
The wet weather has seen the supposedly low-maintenance gravel areas grow a green fuzz of weeds which is making my hamstrings ache just looking at it:
Although one benefit of not weeding too regularly is the volunteers I suppose.
What I suspect are budworms, are progressively munching their way through my radishes, kale and broccoli (which is now gone). My garden gloves are looking rather slimy now from the squished bugs. Erk.
And to add insult to injury, the radish seed pods I am waiting to brown so I can harvest the seeds, are also being eaten out by grubs: I've no idea if they'll leave me any seeds.
Citrus leaf miners have found the sappy new growth on the citrus trees after the rain - despite regular applications of Pest Oil - and look pretty warped and terrible. I'll trim the affected parts off when the windy weather dies down this week, and spray again.
Still, there's an upside!
Some edibles are coming along nicely. The Amaranth is drying nicely and I've started collecting seed. Not enough to eat but I'm planning on using the seed for a big patch in spring.
The eggplants are still producing plentifully: what troopers they have been this season.
Despite the pests and other setbacks, I actually have green tomatoes on my plants, including my first Pink Brandywine.
The red papaya is loaded with fruits:
The biggest is around 25cm long at the moment. They should ripen to a bright yellow over the next couple of months.
And my Starfruit tree is literally dripping with fruit and flowers:
Like persimmons, they can be very astringent when not really ripe. Utterly divine eaten out-of-hand.
Makes it almost worth all the bugs ;-)