Category Archives: Insects

Dandelions for bees, beetles and birds

Before my D.A. (Dandelion Awakening) I would religiously remove and cut down as many dandelions as I could, but nowadays my garden perennial beds are full of them. As I’ve written before, dandelions have become probably my most important vegetable in the winter months. I dig up the roots from my garden beds, where I’ve deliberately let them grow, in the autumn, store in my cellar and force them as I need them in cooler rooms in the house. These wild dandelions grow themselves, the only energy I use on them is in the digging and moving to store! A perfect vegetable! There are 11 pages in my book Around the World in 80 plants about the multitude of food uses for dandelions and how you can make a whole meal of them and cycle home after the meal on tyres made of dandelion rubber! But there’s so much more to this miracle plant and I’m sure you’ve read of its many medicinal properties including it being an anti-cancer powerhouse!  Sat in the garden, a Eurasian Siskin (grønnsisik) just landed on a dandelion head showing it’s also an important plant for birds in addition to bees, beetles and other insects! Make sure you leave a few dandelions to seed and you may also experience a magical moment like this!

Diamondbacks are back :(

There’s been a major arrival of diamondback moths (kålmøll) here since yesterday and there are hundreds of this major Brassica pest in the garden today!  I am thankfully only growing perennial kales (Brassica oleracea) and resistent sea kale (Crambe maritima) this year, both of which are already close to maximum yield and unlikely to be severely affected by the moth. This also means I don’t need to use any form of protection (horticultural fleece / fiberduk) which is probably a major source of agricultural microplastics. Problem solved!

Sea kale/strandkål (Crambe maritima):

Perennial kales (Brassica oleracea):

First Butterfly

My first butterfly of the year has emerged in the garden, a small tortoiseshell (neslesommerfugl), seen on one of the last winter aconites (vinterblom). I was surprised to see that someone saw a red admiral butterfly yesterday in Steinkjer,  75 km north of here. This must surely be an individual that has overwintered…the furthest north this has happened as far as I can see!

 

Weekend garden pictures 3rd – 4th September 2016

 

 

Diamond back moth invasion

One of the worst invasions of diamond back moth / kålmøll happened a couple of days ago….here is a video showing hundredds swarming over one of my Lily White sea kale plants which is about to flower. Luckily they never do much damage to sea kale (Crambe maritima) as the harvest is over before they arrive, one of the big advantages of perennial brassica…on the other hand, annual brassica crops are being planted now in my area…they have little chance against these tiny moths….
I blame the rapeseed oil industry for this…they don’t overwinter here, but they migrate passively on warm winds from central Europe and Russia, even reaching Svalbard and Northern Norway…