Friday, 2 May 2014

Polytunnel intruders

More on this character later.
This tale starts off with some very frustrating news, but don't worry, it gets cheerier.
The polytunnel has proved invaluable for starting off my flowers and vegetable plants, as well as growing early crops of carrots, lettuces, radishes, turnips and beetroot. We had a bit of trouble with voles, but the traps seem to have worked and I rarely catch one now. The mole (I'm sure there's more than one in reality) occasionally upsets the soil on its underground wanderings too.

But this week we had some much less welcome intruders. For when Sue got up she noticed that one of the refuse sacks had mysteriously moved overnight. Then some temporary fencing displaced, then the polytunnel door open. I quickly checked and there was no obvious damage. My garden tools were still there and nothing seemed to be missing. Well, that was a relief, but still slightly unnerving. I decided that the tools, though they are not particularly valuable, would need to be moved to a locked area. A pain, since every time I want to use them I'll have to make a journey.
However, when I went to investigate the intruder's obvious escape route, I noticed a glass jar in the long grass and realised that this used to have herb cuttings in which I was trying to make root. I went back to the polytunnel and, sure enough, my tray of jars had gone. What a strange thing to bother to take! The only annoying bit was that five lemon grass stalks which had nicely taken root would need to be started again. It had taken me about two months to get those inch long roots and I had considered potting them up just a few days previous.
I then did a thorough check of my seedling trays and realised that one had gone, the one with home-made paper pots containing about thirty young dwarf bean plants. Again, what a strange thing to take!

I hastily sured up our defences with whatever was available, mainly a large pile of brushwood which would make a very good obstruction at the entry point they'd used. But in the next few days I will work on adding to this. Needless to say, everything is now safely under lock and key. It's a shame we have to live like that.
And that was that... until yesterday when I noticed that the lemon plant had also gone. This was the most annoying thing to have been taken as it is less easy to replace.
So if anybody happens to notice a lemon tree, some lemon grass and some dwarf bean seedlings for sale in the next few days, please do apprehend the vendor!

So now onto some more welcome intruders. That character at the top of this post is a honeybee-lookalike hoverfly. Eristalis pertinax to be more precise. Or Tapered Drone Fly to give it a common name. Any hoverfly is most welcome in the polytunnel as it forms part of the army I employ to fight off the more harmful bugs. Here's some more piccies of it.

Easily mistaken for a honey bee
Here are a couple more members of my defensive army. These intruders are more than welcome to visit or even to set up residence.

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