A Raised Bed Disaster!

I should really be essaying, and essaying I shall, but I am in a little bit of a rage…

I have a row of rather fab-looking cauliflowers and a row of slightly lesser-fab-looking turnips in the second bed. Or I did a few days ago, as it has all gone to pot, and all gone wrong, and I am in quite a mood, and have thus been on a rampage around my garden…

At the weekend I noticed two turnips at yon end of the bed were shrivelling up and looking rather dead. I dug one up and saw there was no turnip at the end! I showed Mamma who deduced that ‘something’ was eating it. The most dreaded of words for a gardener to hear… Clearly not for this gardener, as I discarded the turnip and thought no more about it.

Then on Sunday I dug up another one, and this time I saw horrid nasty little white maggotty things squirming around in the remains of a sad turnip! They were fed to father’s fish, and the remains of the turnip thrown as far as my little wimpy arm could manage. I dug around in the soil to see if I could see anymore (surely little white things on brown soil would show up?) and found nothing, so thought no more about it.

Then today I got home to a massacre!

Mother didn’t even notice anything was wrong!

My turnips had gone from being proud and flourishing things to shrivelled up things…

photo 1

The cauliflowers are tall on the right, and the turnips – only yesterday – were of a comparable size! Today though they were wilting and dying off. Sure enough, when I dug one up, there were horrid nasty white wiggling things in the turnips!

photo 2

Only about a couple of millimetres in length, and in the very centre of the above image, there were a few on all of the turnips. All got pulled up and mercilessly (though with a heavy heart) thrown into a bucket of water. Then I started to panic. I read in one of my gardening books (The Complete Vegetable Grower, if I recall correctly) that turnips are susceptible to cabbage root fly… which also likes to target cauliflowers. What did I have growing next to my turnips??

Damage limitation was in full flow. I dug up all my cauliflowers and thoroughly checked them. I felt sick having to throw half of them away – out of twelve plants, I have seven which I hope, hope, hope I have saved. Probably against all instruction, I potted them up separately. I didn’t want to leave them in the soil – which I am now stressing about being infested with this horrid things and am tempted to dig the entire section up and chuck it away – and I wasn’t about to plant potentially infected cauliflowers near my broccolis and squashes. I will leave them in pots and see how they fare. If they start to go downhill, I think I may cry.

I’ve since read that I should put felt discs around the stems of the plants. Oh yes, I’ll just go the felt from the shed!! I suppose I shouldn’t be angry: it is a learning curve, after all. I’m not even a big fan of cauliflower. Nor do I even think I like turnips. However I feel especially victimised now! And they’re horrible squirmy things and I feel quite sick thinking about them. I just hope it doesn’t ruin the rest of the bed! I have a bumper crop of beetroot to the side and then my lettuces, swiss and rainbow chard, kale, and then two rows of carrots. Hopefully cabbage root fly doesn’t morph into carrot root fly!

Such Monday rage. I had a nice day at work – obviously a nice day at work and a nice garden don’t go hand in hand!

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