The Land Rover Owners Wife

There is never a Hedgehog around when you need one!


Time for a nap

Time for a nap

We have two Hedgehogs that pass through our garden on a regular basis and Mud is convinced that the biggest of these actually lives under the caravan which currently acts as his home office. The presence of the Hedgehogs is good news for me and my garden and so I have, on the whole, refrained from putting down slug pellets, not that there has been as big a problem with slugs this year as there was last year but that is due in no small part to the lack of substantial rain.

But where were they when I needed them?

This year I ordered some seeds from the Real Seed Catalogue with a view to trying to save my own seed, rather than having to buy from the main seed providers every year. One of the varieties I bought was Anna Swartz Hubbard Squash and I carefully read the instructions which came with the seeds, on how to go about producing and then saving my own seeds.

I have waited patiently to be able to implement the first stage of seed saving and on Thursday evening I spotted a female flower and a male one due to open the next day (predicting the opening of squash flowers is incredibly easy) . So I carefully secured the still closed petals of both flowers, using plastic coated garden rings and then went inside.

Slug eaten squash flowerFemale squash flowers are promiscuous, in so much as they don’t much care which variety of male squash flower provides the pollen which pollinates them and so to ensure that the seeds from any given squash or pumpkin is true for the next generation, you have to stop the flowers opening, so that the bees and other pollinators don’t get to the female before you and your paintbrush/cotton bud etc, or that they don’t remove all the pollen from the male before you have chance to collect some of it (you would be surprised how quickly the pollen can be stripped from a flower). Hence the need to secure both flowers.

First thing Friday morning, i rushed outside, grabbed my fine paint brush from the greenhouse and went across to the flowers only to find that a slug had eaten its’ way into the female and that, consequently, the bees were happily inside doing their bit for squash procreation. I was not a happy bunny and all that was left for me to do was release the male flower and go have a coffee! Next time I will have to place both flowers onto a smooth white tile which the slugs don’t seem to like to crawl across (I normally use them to rest the pumpkins on as they grow to prevent too much insect damage) and of which I have plenty in the shed.

Butter wouldn't melt .....

Butter wouldn’t melt …..

Now for the ‘ahhh’ factor. The little wrens of which there are definitely three and possibly even 4, have moved out of the main nest in the hanging basket and are now sitting by the larger hole and so I have been able to snap a couple of pictures. I decided that one of these as the main post header picture was preferable to my poor, slug eaten female flower and I have to say that the little wrens are so cute. We think they must be very close to fledging and will miss the cacophony of noise they produce ….. well, okay not miss it exactly but you know what I mean.


2 thoughts on “There is never a Hedgehog around when you need one!

  1. I’m having this exact problem. Something eating my zucchini blossoms. Bird netting, blood meal, rabbit/deer repellent not working. I have straw as compost – I’m thinking this is the problem, as no blossom damage prior to the mulch.

    • Thank you for your comment and apologies for the delay in replying.

      Slug damage is the most disheartening sight. The speed with which the little blighters can decimate a crop is scary. I’ve lost almost all the carrot seedlings across two and a half of my raised beds, in the last week!!!! I’m going to sow more seed either today or tomorrow, weather permitting, and as these crops are grown under netting, I will be laying a slug bait!

      I hope your zucchini blossoms have managed to provide you with some fruits, in spite of the slugs (if they were the cause)!

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