Tales from the Vegetable Patch: Part 3 – Life and Death

young beetroot leaves up close

Tales of life and death from the vegetable patch this month.  And rain.  Lots of it!

Back in May, I finally got round to planting seeds for kale, spring onions, beetroot, chard, pak choi and lettuce a month behind schedule.

The first seedlings to appear were the pak choi – just four days after sowing!  I was amazed at how quickly they germinated.  They were closely followed by the kale seedlings a day later,  then the chard and beetroot and lastly the spring onions.

beetroot and chard seedlings in rows

Beetroot and chard seedlings

It was so exciting going out to the vegetable patch each morning with my watering can and seeing that a new row of seedlings had sprung to life overnight.

Unfortunately, even though I’d sown two rows of lettuce seeds, only a few of the seedlings germinated and within days they had all disappeared.  I’m not sure why they didn’t take – it could have been a batch of old seeds.

Another few days and the pak choi started to disappear too.  My joy at seeing new life every morning was soon replaced with heartache as I surveyed the carnage that had ripped through the rows of seedlings during the night. Turns out I had forgotten about the dreaded slugs and snails.  And silly me had not thought to put down snail bait until it was too late.

pak choi seedlings eaten by slugs and snails

Pak choi seedlings eaten by slugs and snails

The fact that we then went on to have the wettest June on record did not help matters at all. With the drought officially over in the south-east of England, the wet weather meant that the slugs and snails were out in force while I was indoors sheltering from the rain.  When I finally saw the extent of the damage, it was time to declare war!

I put down some slug pellets and they seem to be doing the trick.  I have noticed quite a few dead slugs in the patch and managed to remove a few myself.  I gave up on the lettuce and planted another row of pak choi seeds which have already germinated.

spring onions and kale seedlings

Spring onion and kale seedlings

Sometimes I think it would be much simpler just to buy all my vegetables from the supermarket and save myself all this trouble.  But it’s the joy and pride in growing something from seed and the pleasure in eating tasty home grown veg that keeps me going.

So, so far so good.  The beetroot and chard leaves are big enough to be eaten as baby salad leaves, although I haven’t had any yet. As I write this, it’s still raining, but trust me, from now on I am on slug and snail alert.

Read more in this series:

Tales from the Vegetable Patch – Part 1

Tales from the Vegetable Patch – Part 2

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